Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A Pokemon Go Cautionary Tale

Anyone else been swept up in the Pokemon Go craze?

My sons were really into Pokemon when they were young. I knew all about Ash and Misty and Team Rocket and Pikachu and Pokeballs. And then time passed and they grew up and I forgot. Until a couple of weeks ago. All of a sudden they were talking about it again.

I had some vivid deja vu moments. My sons were going on hunts to catch Pokemon. But not imaginary ones any more. Real, virtual Pokemon. And they sounded like they were having fun. Good, clean, healthy fun. So I hopped on board.

Took me no time to catch my first Pokemon. A Charmander for Charmaine. Couldn't have been more perfect. I was hooked. The excitement of the chase. The collecting. The comparing (do you have a Vaporeon with a combat power of 933 because I do?). Hatching eggs by walking - or running - as long as you put them in an incubator first. And laughing with my Pokemon-chasing posse about the nay-sayers. Nothing wrong with a little bit of silly, childish fun. And certainly nothing wrong with a fully grown, 53 year old woman living in a virtual world for a few minutes a day.

I might need to keep my eye out for  the symptoms of Lyssa Virus after Iven's close encounter.

Not even a cheeky Clefairy can wake a tired Dalmatian
But in the last couple of days I found out that there is a dark side to living the Pokemon Life. My health and well-being have been challenged. Twice.

The first was Monday night. My middle son and I decided we'd take the dogs for a walk around UQ after work. For a bit of exercise for us and the dogs and some quality time hunting Pokemon. Oh and bonding. Let's not forget bonding.

The dogs were soooo excited to be having a walk in a new and interesting-smelling place. Especially once we got to the duck pond. Duck poo is like Old Spice to the discerning dog nose. Toby was a sniffing machine which was a little inconvenient as I was deep in Psyduck territory. I'd missed catching one the day before so I was determined to add one to my Pokedex.

The phone vibrated in my hand and there it was - the elusive Psyduck. Right near Josh and Ricky. I tapped on him and got ready to aim and fire off a Pokeball. Or two. Or even three if it took that many. And while I was in that distracted state Toby took his opportunity. He'd spotted a little cluster of real ducks down at the water's edge and he was on his own duck hunt. With me attached.

Did you know that it's really hard to stop a determined 32k retriever who has a bit of momentum and the smell of duck up his nostrils? The ducks took flight into the water thinking that would stop Toby but retrievers are water dogs and he wasn't planning on stopping. It was only my significant weight advantage and my equal determination not to go swimming in the university duck pond in the middle of winter that stopped us. Right at the water's edge. Heart racing. Breathless. With the sound of my son's laughter ringing in my ears.

But I caught my Psyduck. So it was definitely worth it.

So I survived my first negative Pokemon experience without any real disaster. Number two happened just a couple of days later. 

Wednesday I turned up at the morning run just not feeling the love. I was supposed to do a 16k with a 10k tempo portion. I'd had an ordinary speed session the day before and just felt off for the rest of the day and I wasn't feeling much better after a night's sleep so I pulled the pin on the tempo bit and just ran what-should-have-been-easy-but-felt-way-harder pace and when it turned out to be a kilometre short I didn't worry.

We had our usual coffee and my stomach churned. I went home and had breakfast and it churned some more. Worked for a few hours then had lunch and my stomach churned so much that I threw up. A couple of times. Ughh! I'd caught the virus that had struck Josh down the day before. The same Josh that I'd shared the Pokemon walk and a car ride in close quarters with on Monday just before he got sick. 

Strike two Pokemon Go!

But again, this experience had its silver lining. I'm a couple of kilos lighter today. So winning! And while I was feeling so disgustingly nauseated last night and not able to go out in the real world to hunt for virtual monsters, I used a lure and caught a Jigglypuff. When life gives you lemons it doesn't hurt to make lemonade.


  1. I popped onto play store to see what the app looked like, and there were hundreds of them... I had not clue which one to look at so after looking at the first two I turned the phone off!

  2. LOL at Toby, he took his chance but failed :)

    I didn't play Pokemon years ago and not going to play this one again. I see these kids on the street here and they look only at their phone. Don't pay attention to traffic or other people. I don't think it won't be long before really bad accidents will happen because of this game.

  3. The park is full of Pokemon players now, and they are all in danger of walking into something at all times. But at east they're out and about instead of in mom's basement.

  4. Me and the husband downloaded it on Tuesday but by Wednesday I was over it. I ran out of balls and it was sucking the battery life out of my phone. I only did it so I could have something to talk to my kids about but not one of the five of them are interested in it. It's hard to be hip.

  5. Once I saw the security issues behind the game, I didn't even think twice about downloading the app. I am guessing the newness will wear off quickly for most.

  6. Lol! My boyfriend has started playing it on the sly. Like, sometimes at night, he'll be like, "I'm going to go out for a quick walk." And I'll be like, "To catch Pokemon?" & then he'll hang his head a little & be like, "Yeah." But I think he's finally starting to get bored of it.

  7. A PokeWhat? LOL I'm behind the times & plan on staying that way + I don't have kids so that's my best excuse. LOL @ Toby almost dragging you into the water!!!

    Hope you are feeling better!!

  8. I'm in your situation, Char, my boys were really into Pokemon when they were little, and now my oldest is so busy with the new app - he even got my husband to go out on a walk with him so he could show him how the game works, which is quite an accomplishment. Fingers crossed they don't get into any mishaps, though!

  9. Oh no Char, no you! I'm wondering what everyone's data useage is going to be like this month! And I'm thinking crooks will use it as a great alibi if lurking around dark homes in the dead of night and get sprung by the police, they can just say they were looking for pokemons officer. Oh dear.

  10. I missed the whole Pokemon phase and - though I'm tempted - have decided not to even vaguely investigate this whole Pokemon Go thing as I have enough obsessions already. The last thing I need is another addiction!

  11. My eldest daughter is obsessed with it, but I've never been much of a gamer. I suppose it gets people out of the house at least, so long as they don't fall off cliffs ...

  12. Ha! I don't have time to play it, but...ahem. might be part of the generation that grew up with Pokemon, which is why so, so many of my friends are now revelling in it! Well - stay safe. Don't fall victim to human evolutionary pressures in action.

  13. Great topic Char!
    In July my daughters told me something about the Pokemon phenomenon triggered by Nintendo. I was so glad to hear that they thought it is a very dangerous thing, as they had already seen same accidents related to people who were trying to catch a Pokemon while they were driving a car or motorcycle. In addition, the Pokemon phenomenon may be dangerous because someone may decide to gather a lot of people in the same place!
    Meanwhile, Nintendo's shares are strongly increasing in the Stock markets around the world.

  14. I would love to play it with my kids but my phone is too old. Looks awesome to me!

  15. In Italy people are crazy for Pokemon! I never tried to play with them.... maybe I am tooooooo old.

  16. I am right there with you with the Pokemon craze. Even my kids think I'm nuts. The ice rink just so happens to be a hotbed of them.


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