Add one more article to the melee of words that have already been written about Pokemon Go? Why not.
It’s become very obvious to me that the separation between an online life, and a real life just isn’t there for the generation we are now calling The Millenials. For those of us who grew up with Atari and Commodore consoles, VHS video, and bicycles, we saw the birth of a life-changing piece of tech. At first it became a part of our lives gradually. I remember once wondering why anyone would ever want a computer. That was before the Internet. Telephone modems were slow, and noisy, and watching the progress bar for a 1mb download was painful. But then things got moving, with the iMac and purpose-built internet PCs, broadband, and then the revolution in smart phones kicked off by the iPhone, and the tablet market with the iPad. It was like a snow ball, slowly rolling down a hill, small at first, but once it picked up pace, it became huge and unstoppable.
My two boys and their friends saw none of that. They were born into a world already loving the Playstation, DVDs, and the Internet. They have grown up with this as such an integral part of their lives that there is no separation between an online life, and a so-called real life. Those separations are for us older folk. To my boys and their mates meeting online, talking over Skype, and playing together on League of Legends, or World of Warcraft is their equivalent of going out to the park. We had swings, slides, and bikes. And in truth my memory also holds a lot of discussions with my friends sounding very much like the vultures from Disney’s Jungle Book:
“So, what are we gonna to do?”
“Dunno, what do you want to do?”
“Dunno. Want to go to the park and do nothing?”
“Nah. How about the town and walk around?”
Now, if I’d had the tech my kids had growing up I’d doubtless be having much more fun raiding Stormwind with 35 other members of The Horde than sliding down a municipal slide in a park for the umpteenth time.
But many of us moaned that they were spending too much time indoors. To get out and get a life, without truly understanding that things had changed, and that they already had a life, and they were loving it!
Introducing Pokemon Go. These same young people install the game of their dreams on their smart phones. Having grown up with Pokemon on various GameBoys, the world they have loved for so long now blends into another reality. Step outside the house and see that the world has been invaded by Pokemon (or had they always been there??). Walk around and catch ’em all! Arrange a meet up in the park, down the pub, at the beach. Have fun with your mates.
To me it’s all good, and I would have bloody loved it too.
If you are one of the older folk who is complaining about Pokemon Go, try to let go of the idea that there is a separation between an online life and a real life. To most of those out there enjoying being with their friends and enjoying a game, it just doesn’t exist, and never has. That concept belongs to us, and is a just a different way of seeing the world.
So I’m off. I’ve heard there is as rare Charizard just along the road…