I step out my front door, ready for adventure. It’s time to see what this Pokémon Go craze is all about. I have a brain in my head, an iPhone in my hand, and tennies on my feet. I’m logged onto the app. Let’s go!
I barely get to the sidewalk when a neighbor drives by. She opens her car window and says, Watch where you’re going, Caryl. You don’t want to fall and break an ankle again… And what are you doing anyway?
It’s a good question. What exactly am I doing?
Just this. I’m playing the most popular augmented reality location-based digital game to come along in ages. I bet you’re glad I cleared that up, aren’t you? Seriously, come along with me. We can both pick it up as we go.
I’ve done a little reading about Pokémon Go ahead of time, but it turns out, not enough. This is going to be a challenge. After all, it’s a game meant for young people. If you doubt that, look at the first screen that pops up.
Yikes! It wants to know my age. Why? Well, at least the years go far enough back in time to include me. Encouraged by that, I proceed.
I’ve learned that the game allows players to capture, battle, and train virtual creatures, called Pokémon—short for pocket monsters—who appear on phone screen as though in the real world. I don’t want to do anything fancy for my first outing. I’ll be happy to capture just one.
I missed the first burst of Pokémon popularity in the ’90s. I guess I was too busy adulting at the time and had no children or grandchildren to play with. So I don’t have a firm grasp of what I’m looking for on my phone. I walk slowly, one eye on the screen and the other on the sidewalk, to keep from breaking any bones.
While I walk in real life, my avatar on the screen walks too. I speed up, she speeds up—after a brief delay. I turn around, so does she. It’s amazing. Yeah, I know the avatar doesn’t look like me. I had trouble with that part of the set-up.
I’ve barely started down the street when I spot something coming toward me. Is it a Pokémon?
Nope, that’s Bonnie’s granddog Vernie. He’s real, not virtual. And really cute.
I keep going and half a block later I spot another creature. This time it’s on my screen. I get closer. Then, using my Poké balls, I’m able to capture this guy after a few tries.
I have to admit I’m proud to have protected The Maples from this Rattata. So I keep walking. I get down to Phase 2 and nothing else has showed up. It’s hot and humid, but I turn around and keep going. I’ve decided to scan my entire neighborhood for these little monsters, catching anything that I encounter. In other words, I’m already hooked on the game.
I’m not having any luck, so I head over to our swimming pool. I’ve read that some Pokémon hang out around water. I don’t find any at the pool, though, just some folks enjoying the water.
After cooling off in the clubhouse for a few minutes, I’m back on patrol. On the way out to Phase 3, I nearly stumble over this creature.
Nope. Wrong game. This looks like an Angry Bird. Upon closer inspection, I see it has been chewed and slobbered on. It’s only a dog toy.
I get out to Phase 3 and walk past some young workers framing a house. When they notice me walking and staring at my phone, I hear a snicker or two. What? I almost say out loud. I may look like a crazy old woman, but I am protecting our property. I mean, our common area; it’s all common area here.
By this point, I’m sweating in a very unladylike fashion, so I start for home. Along the way, I encounter and capture two more Pokémon. These guys:
Finally home, I rush into a refreshing blast of air conditioning. I collapse on the couch with a glass of ice water, feeling pretty proud of myself. I grab my phone, and sure enough, there are the Pokémon, safely locked away in Poké jail.
The Maples is safe for now. And I’m overdue for a nap.