Video Games are a Waste

Everyday I wake up and tell myself that the day will be different: that I’ll get up and do something. I don’t really know what the do something is, but I think we all sort of know what it means. Usually we wake up, cook breakfast, take a shit, go to work, get the kids off to school, and whatever else it is that we do. It’s what we do, and we do it mindlessly. It’s the idea of routine, the regular, and the mundane that we usually occupy our lives with. So when I say to do something, I mean making something special of the day. And I usually fail miserably at it.

There’s these things called video games that are sometimes (usually) the bane of my existence. The problem I have with video games is that they’re sort of productive, but not productive in the way that I actually want to be productive. They’re a shitty middle ground of productivity, nothing notable in the grand scheme of things like finding a new job or applying for college but notable enough that I feel my day wasn’t a total waste of existence.

Life is short, we get old, and we die (I’m starting this year off in a great mood as you can tell). We all know this. But in the day to day scheme of things, we act like we don’t really care about that fact. One of the most hated things to me is passive TV watching. You know, where you turn the TV on, plop down, and just watch whatever it is you can find on TV. You might not even like the damn show, but you’ll watch whatever just to pass the time. I hate this with a passion, because like I said, we’re all going to die and sitting watching TV seems like a terrible way to use THE ONLY LIFE YOU HAVE. Let’s do something notable, alright?

I want to wake up, write a story, get it published, and help change other people’s lives for the better. Or get rich and build a homeless shelter. Or install rain barrels for people. Ya know, the proverbial something. Or at least fill out a couple of job applications. This is the optimum productivity I’d like to achieve, but this level of dedication is pretty hard. People are lazy and scared of the future. When everyday that you live seems so typical and ordinary, turning one of these days into a day where you act on your future dreams is really scary. Like of all days, what if today is the day that I write the story that will finally get me published? What if today is the day that I realize I’m really good at something? That’s terrifying. Terrifying in a good way, but still scary. As boring as a typical day is, at least it’s a boring that I’m used to and comfortable with.

But back to the video games. I differentiate them from TV watching because they are interactive and tell a story. And sometimes this story is a magnificent story that rivals that of some movies. You actually have to make an effort to beat a video game, and it seems quite a bit more productive to do this than to veg out on the couch with whatever-the-fuck is on TV. The problem with this is that it really isn’t productive at all. Yeah, you’re making progress, but you’re making progress in a video game that will have no bearing on your future at all. When you die, you’re not going to say, “Wow. I sure am glad that instead of starting my own business I played Bioshock: The Collection. I mean at least I didn’t watch TV!” It’s lame.

So that’s my problem with video games. By playing them, I feel like I’m making progress in the world, and I am sort of, but it really doesn’t matter. I’ve had an Xbox 360 for years and got all sorts of achievement. But guess what? I have a PlayStation 4 now and those achievements are all for nothing. For all purposes I could’ve just taken a fuckton of naps throughout the years. On a scale from 1-10 where 1 is watching mindless TV, and 10 is starting your own business, video games are like a 3. Or maybe a 4. Or maybe a 2 when you consider that the sun will consume the Earth in a few billion years. I don’t hate video games, and I hope no one thinks that because I really do love them. That’s kind of the problem. It’s just that when I don’t do shit in my day and plop down to play Minecraft I feel like an unproductive piece of shit. Maybe it’s just me though.

Hey, at least I wrote a blog post about it though!

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A Comfy Sunday

It was a Sunday, and a rather comfy Sunday at that. A few hours earlier I had made a to-do list and somehow managed to complete it all! The yard was mowed, the weeds were whacked, the bushes were trimmed, and the car had 4 quarts of fresh synthetic oil in it to make the engine happy for a few more months. And all before 3pm! Hell, I even had a six-pack of beer ready to go for the evening. But until then, until the sun went down below the horizon, I had earned myself some comfy time. I sat in the recliner which had the imprint of my ass in the seat, popped the foot rest out, and grabbed the two remote controls.

Minecraft: PlayStation®4 Edition_20161005123459
Minecraft: Comfy Edition

A favorite “comfy game” of mine is Minecraft. You may know of the game: it’s a game where you go around and, well, mine stuff. You can craft stuff and mine stuff. It sounds boring, but in an infinitely generated world and a few hours to spare you can really become immersed in the world. As with all open-world games, you can become lost if you try too hard to “beat the game.” It’s a game with no goal, or rather a user-defined goal, and if you understand this from the start it’s a great time. I had been thinking of the game recently with the mindset of being comfy: I didn’t want to hunt diamonds or make a tower into the clouds or kill the Ender Dragon. No, for me, as my reward for having a productive Sunday, I wanted to chill. I would build me a quaint little cabin in the woods, or on top of a mountain, with a nice garden, and the interior would have some cozy carpet to keep my stick-feet warm in the chilly, pixelated night time. I would sit back and enjoy the game’s weather, take in the scenery, and kill a few monsters if I had to. Maybe I would even breed some cattle or pick some flowers!

I pushed the “PS” button on the controller and the “power” button on the television remote. My PlayStation 4 hummed to life with a sound that had itself become affiliated with being comfy. As Pavlov’s dog salivated, my muscles relaxed and a slight grin appeared on my face as I heard the sound. The TV powered up without as much fanfare: a logo appeared on it’s black screen and nothing stirred in my subconscious. Despite the slight hum and the music of the PS4 home screen, I was surprised at how quiet the day was. Everyone else in the neighborhood had already mowed their yard or finished any noisy work early. Some probably took Sunday as their day of rest. Even if someone wanted to mow I wouldn’t care. I didn’t mind quiet droning from outside and it would’ve quickly became white noise anyways.

BBBBUUUZZZZ. BUZZZZBZZZZZZ.

A tiny speck erratically darted between my eyes and the loading screen with no time to properly focus on it. I didn’t pay it much mind – it was a slight distraction, probably a fly – and clicked on the Minecraft icon. I hit start. I did all of the required chores to start a new game and fittingly titled it “Comfy Sunday.” The PlayStation began to generate the world and in a few moments I was in a new virtual reality, one that had probably not yet existed before today. In a Minecraft sense, I was basically Adam.

Something tickled my leg near my knee. I twitched my ankle upward without much thought and the tickling sensation went away. A few seconds later, on my lower left thigh, I felt another tickle. This time my ankle couldn’t move enough to disturb the nuisance so I had to pick my leg up slightly. The fly buzzed off with that motion. It took me a few seconds of focus to figure out what the hell I was currently doing. “Oh right,” I thought. “Minecraft.”

I had spawned in the middle of a desert and could see some trees in the distance. They were birch trees and…

BZZZZT. BZZZZZZWWWRRRRR. ZZZZT.

…and maybe I could build a house from that.What was it again? Birch? Yes. I had built a house of oak before but not bir…

ZZZZZZZZZT. BUZZZZZZZZZ. ZZZZZ.

The bastard landed on my arm this time and I quickly twitched him away. He flew across the room and the buzzing seemed like less of an issue as the sound faded to near silence. I could just play the game and ignore him. The buzzing wasn’t that loud after all. So, I thought, “Where was I again?” but before I could even properly processit, the fly made another pass near my head – BZZZZZZZ – and landed on my cheek.

“Alright, you mother fucker, it’s over.” I furiously stood up and made my way to the fly swatter. It took me a few minutes to actually find the damn thing because fly swatters are one of those items that you see every day but forget where exactly it is when you actually need to use it. Apparently I had stored it under the sink. Whatever. It was time to end the ordeal. I was determined to keep my Comfy Sunday a reality. I speedily walked back into the room and stood next to my recliner. I listed for the location of his BZZZ but all that greeted me was the sound of Comfy Sunday: silence. I sighed and sat back down into my chair after glancing around the room one last time, propping the swatter next to the chair incase I needed it later. Hesitantly, I reached for the controller but had barely begun to move when, BZZZZZT!  There he was, on my leg.

I reached for my recently discarded swatter and surprisingly the bastard had yet to move from my leg. He was teasing me; he hopped, jumped, and danced around making my nerves go nuts with all the tickling. Quickly, but not quickly enough, I swatted at my leg. With a loud crack and a sharp sting the swatter had hit its mark hard. I checked to see if there was a fly corpse smashed on my leg. Nope. He had escaped. Round one went to the six-legged, winged assclown in the room.

Of course the buzzing still continued. We played this game for a few more minutes, with him landing nearby me and me swinging at him, all from the comfy of my chair. Eventually, I was up on my feet following him around the room. As time went on, my swings became a bit more violent and less thought out. This bastard was playing me on purpose. Flies are insects – creatures that aren’t known for intelligence – but this one had something else going on in his head, some form of malice. If he would act like all the other flies and just smash into a glass window over and over like a proper dumb bug my job would’ve been easy. But no, this fly wanted to play some games on my Comfy Sunday.

He landed on the table next to my chair. By this time I was furious. All I had to do was smash this fly to stop his incessant buzzing, but he was too quick. Seeing him just a few feet in front of me, I ran over and took a desperate swing at the table in his general direction. My aim, fueled by anger, was very sloppy and there happened to be a table lamp next to my target. As if in slow motion I saw the swatter hit the lamp, the fly buzz off erratically, and the lamp gradually tip over as gravity commanded it towards the ground. I tried my best to catch it, but my reflexes were relatively slow. The fly was instantaneous, gravity was instantaneous, but my body was that of a dumbfounded elephant. The lamp landed on the hard-wood floor with a deafening crash.

“Goddamnit. My girlfriend is going to kill me.” I didn’t know much about the lamp, but I knew it was a gift from her grandmother who had passed away a few years prior. While I didn’t know the real sentimental value of it, I knew it would surely upset her. But before I could become too worried about the fallout from the busted lamp, I heard the familiar sound which had spurred me on this far. This game we were playing was serious now. This bastard would die a violent death…

I lunged around the room like a madman; swingly without abandon wherever I heard the buzz. If someone glanced through the window I must have appeared to be doing some strange and wild dance, twirling and swinging and jumping all over the place. Obviously I didn’t hit the fly a single time, but I came close plenty. Around the room I went until I came around where the lamp’s corpse was. Without thinking, I danced through the shattered porcelain and a sharp pain shot into my foot. I was in the zone though, I knew what had happened in an abstract sense, but it only made me angrier. I didn’t feel any pain and with spots of blood painting the floor, I continued to flail.

Then there was quietness: he had landed. He landed right on my PS4 as if part of an intelligent plot to piss me off further in a very ironic way. I gained my composure the best I could, walked over to his location slowly and purposefully, calming myself in a desperate willingness to end his life, slightly limping and leaving tiny tracks of blood with every step from my right foot. I hovered the swatter right above him and tensed up my arm. Like a stretched rubber band, like a trap that had been sprung, my hand and the swatter pivoted downward violently and as it contacted the PS4 surface it created a loud “Pop!” I knew for sure I had killed the bastard that time!

But as the swatter had contacted the PlayStation in it’s fury-driven motion, it happened to slide slightly across the surface. Sadly, I had placed a soda can there yesterday and it sat there half full, totally unaware as to what was happening to it. Replaying the actions of the lamp just minutes earlier, the can slowly tilted, tipped, and spilled over on top of the PlayStation. As it happened I cursed myself in my head for leaving a half-filled can of liquid on top of something so expensive. But my curses were useless; what was in motion could not be helped, and I watched frozen in horror as the liquid poured on top and drained onto the rear of the machine, trickling into the cooling ducts. Smoke started to churn out and the TV which had my Minecraft game still on it went black. I heard a faint click and pop of a circuit breaker from the basement, and the ceiling fan began to noticeably slow down.

It was silent – silent once more. My mind worked to correctly categorize and process the events of the past minutes. It worked slowly, but naturally recollected everything: my Sunday, her lamp, my foot, the soda, and the PS4. I looked at the lamp remains on the floor, and at the blood spots, and at the smoke which was diffusing throughout the room. It smelled of burned circuitry. I stared at the PS4. On top of it, I could see him. My Enemy. The bane of my Sunday. I stared at him and hated him so much even though he was already dead. I started some more and furrowed my eyebrows.

“You. Mother. Fucker. YOU PIECE OF SHIT!” I screamed at the top of my lungs. Next to my chair was my PS4 controller. I grabbed it. I took it and bashed it over and over onto the top of the PS4, right where the flies body laid motionless. After a few violent bashes he was just a smear on top of the box, indiscernible as the object he was a few moments earlier. The controller was split and busted, but it mattered not because the PS4 itself was a worse mess, now complete with slight dents on its surface. In one final blaze of anger I took in the sight of my PlayStation, glanced at the controller, and threw it as hard as I could to my right, across the room, while screaming random obscenities as loud as I could. It flew through the window in a glorious fashion, with glass smashing, crashing, and flying out with it.

I sat back down in my lazy-chair. It was rather quiet and peaceful now and I sat there for a good thirty minutes. My Sunday was peaceful once again, and no sound interrupted me. I could finally relax but already knew that the six-pack would be consumed a lot earlier than planned. Hell, by the end of the day it might just turn into being a twelve-pack.

Talent or Determination: Morrowind Style

Some people are good at certain things while others suck. To the frustration of the talented person, they usually are told something along the lines of, “Wow, you’re so talented! I wish I could (insert whatever skill) as good as you!”

practice-vs-talent
Poached with love from Facebook

This usually angers the artist because they believe they’re only as good as they are because of the hard work they’ve put into learning their craft. In their minds they can see how shitty they were initially and how slightly-not-as-shitty they are currently. It wasn’t talent, they think, it was hard work. These are the two major schools of thought on the topic of getting better at things: talent vs determination. I’m in the latter group, as I vaguely remember reading some scientific-esque studies on talent and whatever. But I don’t have any proper citations so it doesn’t really count. I need to practice my citation skills because I don’t have talent for it.

The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind was a game released by Bethesda Softworks in 2002. You might not be familiar with it, but it is one of my all-time favorite games. Bethesda is also to thank for Fallout 3 and 4, TES IV: Oblivion, and the wildly popular TES V: Skyrim. The latter two games, which you’ve certainly heard of, are about 50-75% as good as Morrowind; although they are similar, you have been missing out on a good thing. I can’t even quite explain why it’s amazing. Well, I could but it would take a few blog posts and I’m not ready for that yet. I might be looking through my nostalgia goggles, but it was the first game I’ve played that was open. It blew my mind that I could just wander around and how the game didn’t give you a clear cut goal. They sort of did, but not like most games do. The game also allowed you to ruin your play-through in the first few minutes by stealing shit in plain sight of the guards. There was no hand-holding whatsoever.

The skill system applied in the game isn’t really notable in any way. It is pretty typical of most RPG games, and this commonality applies in Oblivion and in Skyrim (if you played those, or any other, you’ll understand what I’m talking about). They have skills, and by using the skills you get better at them. There are a handful of skills (heavy armor, short blade, archery, lockpicking, etc) given by a number from 0-100. You never really start with anything at 0 (the default was 5?), but you get the idea. 0 meant you were terrible and a 100 meant you were amazing at the skill. The intermediate values were also what you’d expect them to be.

I’d like to imagine people have their own set of numbered skills. You can use your imagination and give yourself a skill level in various things. As for myself, I have like a 75 in Math, a 25 in Public Speaking, and a 10 in Gambling, or whatever. My Running skill is around 60 or 70. Who knows exactly. I know there are an infinite amount of skills, but it does help you realize how good (or bad) you are at some of the things you do. Putting a number onto something as complex as a skill helps you pinpoint and be honest with how proficient you are at something.

There are two aspects to this basic skill system: your starting level and the fact that practicing the skills makes you better. I equate the first aspect, the starting value, with how talented a person is at something. Obviously, if you’re one of those people that are just good at drawing without practicing, you’ve started life with a higher Art skill, perhaps a 35 or 45. You’re sort of good just because you’re naturally good. Notice though that you probably aren’t the best at it, you just have a higher baseline. This is how Morrowind worked as the highest skill you could start with was around 45; you couldn’t just be a 95 in Destruction magic and smash your way through the game Voldemort style. You had to work at it.

The second aspect is key in the talent vs practice debate. You level up your skills by practicing and becoming better at them. It doesn’t matter if you’ve started at level 5 or 55 because hard work will get you a higher value. If the person with an Art skill of 5 works really hard despite initially sucking, they could eventually pass the 55 Art person in skill. This can really happen if the 55 person is lazy and doesn’t put effort into getting better. They cruise along through life on fairly good skill level, but do nothing to enhance it. They squander their gift. I bet we all know someone like this. Obviously with this view, hard work and determination is the most important aspect of gaining skill levels, although having a higher initial level (talent) helps you start off good and may give you an edge among others.

The real world analogies don’t seem to stop there. Some people are fairly good at a bunch of things but don’t really specialize in anything. I believe I’m one of those people. I’m decent at a bunch of things, but I don’t excel in any single thing, which is rather sad. This is because I can’t focus on a single skill long enough to notably level it up. I used to have like a 5 in Homebrewing, but through curiosity and hard work, I think I’m around a 35 now. I can’t become a brewmaster or start my own winery, but I can make a liquid that makes you become drunk. My Math skill is 75, but this isn’t really notable in the world. Most of my skills are this way as I stay interested long enough to get fairly good, but never really good. You have to pick a few skills and stay with them to make meaningful progress.

Some people aren’t good at anything. They just exist and suck at everything they do. These people start off with low initial values, and don’t do anything to get better. Maybe they lack motivation or willpower? Maybe they think the game (life) is just too hard and complain rather than get better at hardship? Others are shitty at everything, except the one skill that they are fantastic in. I’m sure Olympic athletes have other talents and interests, but these pale in comparison to their 99 or 100s in Freestyle Swimming, Gymnastics, Diving, or Curling. They are the best of the best, and they’ve done it by focusing on a single skill and working at it nonstop. This is how you Git Gud at things: you bust your ass at it.

git-gud

In the game, and with a very good real world analogy, there is also this idea of diminishing returns. It is easy to go from a 5 to a 10, but increasingly difficult to go from an 85 to a 90 even though they are the same “amount” of growth. You could suck at something, let’s say Gardening, and have a 5 in it. You could easily go buy a few gardening books from Amazon, spend a week or so reading them, and improve your skill to a 25 or a 35 with light to moderate effort. The basics of a skill seem to be easy to learn and easily picked up and early on you improve quickly. But once you’re the master gardener at level 90, there isn’t a whole lot you can do to get better.

The analogy isn’t perfect between the Morrowind skill system and real life. There are real limitations. An important one that comes to mind, especially in the case of physical skills, is that there are limitations that can hamper your ability. I’ll never be able to be an Olympic runner because I don’t have good genetics. It’s also harder to be a marine biologist if you live in the center of a desert. You can, but it’s harder. You could chalk it up to a certain “luck” factor if you’d like. The rate of which you learn a skill is also variable as some people pick things up quicker than others. Maybe you could call that talent or aptitude or something like that. I think talent naturally and in popular usage refers to someone being inherently decent at something and not that they learn the skill quickly.

People like to think skills and being good at something are nebulous things that are just dropped from the heavens in a form called talent and bestowed upon those lucky enough to receive them. They aren’t. Being good simply takes hard work. You might suck ass at something initially, and you might learn the skill slowly, but you’ll become better with practice. All it takes is practice, dedication, and hard work. Thanks to some random (and wonderful) video game called Morrowind, I finally learned it myself, although I’m not too good at following my own advice. Adopting an RPG-based idea of skills is an interesting, fun, and enlightening thought experiment which might lead to some motivation for some.

Pokémon Go!

For those of you living under rocks or whatever, or don’t use electronics at all, you won’t know anything about Pokémon Go. That is unless someone has looked under your rock or inside your hut looking for a Charizard, which is actually highly likely. But if you ever browsed Facebook or have visited a local park or any other public place in the past month, you are probably well aware of Pokémon Go. It’s existence is pretty damn hard to miss by the masses of people that are out wandering around in unlikely places, staring at their phones. Personally, I’ve been amazed at the change that has taken place in the world since this little video game was released. I can’t think of a single thing that has instantly altered the world as this unassuming game has. It’s been interesting to think about. So, for this first real blog post, I’ll write about Pokémon Go!

What exactly is a “Pokémon?”

Before I start, let’s get this shit out of the way:

  1. Pokémon – The video game itself
  2. Pokémon – The series itself or merchandise or whatever
  3. pokémon – The actual “pocket monsters” themselves, Pikachu, Gyarados, etc.

Pokémon, for those aforementioned culturally-ignorant people, are a series of video games, television shows, card games, merchandise, and other various things that have been fairly popular in the past few decades. It all started with the games Pokémon Red and Blue that were released for the Nintendo Game Boy in 1996 (Apparently, they were released in Japan a year earlier, and were titled Red and Green, but whatever). The gameplay centers around catching pokémon, literally translated as “pocket monsters,” leveling them up, and challenging various gym leaders to progress the game. From first hand experience, the gameplay is highly addictive, even in the first iterations of the games. Kids from the 1990s will know exactly what I am referring to. It is the key points of the core Pokémon gameplay that lead me to the next part: why this silly-ass game of Pokémon Go is so damn popular.

Why is Pokémon Go so Popular?

Pokémon Go is amazingly popular. It blows my mind. As huge as this game is it will be remembered decades in the future – sort of like how Super Mario Bros and Pong were. Pokémon has always been big, but the hype has mellowed out over the past decade; it was huge in the 90s when the video games, card games, and television show were released, but waned a bit in popularity during the 2000s. But Pokémon Go took the hype back to the stratospheric heights the series enjoyed back in the 90s. Pokémon Go is as huge as it is because it benefits from a strong nostalgia factor and by being able to incorporate the beloved things (such as core gameplay) of pokémon in a new and interesting way.

The game is huge partly because it’s a Pokémon game; there are large numbers of people playing this game that played the originals back in the late 90s. By doing a bit of math, you’d expect anyone from between 25 and 35 to have possibly played the originals around the time they were released. It isn’t hard to expect that these kids might be more drawn to the game more than other demographics. It’s also notable that this age group is very tech-savvy and comfortable with owning and using phones. Pokémon Go might also be targeted towards younger kids, but I’d expect the core demographic to be 20 and 30 year-olds. First-hand experience seems to confirm this. It also isn’t targeted towards seniors because, well, duh. Why would they be? Anyways, it seems most people that play Go were some of the same people that played it back in the 90s.

Another key aspect of Go is that it borrows gameplay from the actual, original games. As I said, this gameplay is highly addictive and magically blends itself into the augmented reality platform of this newest release. In the original game, you walk around a virtual work looking for pokémon. In Go, you walk around the real world looking for pokémon. This makes you actually part of the adventure! Instead of acting through a protagonist; you are the protagonist! And instead of fighting deliberate, designed, and programmed gyms, you battle other people’s real (real in a sense) pokémon. Differing types of pokémon also spawn in locations based on their types: water pokémon around water, bug type pokémon around cities, and you get the idea. This adds a realism factor and also forces you to travel around to find new types. In short, the gameplay is close to the original game, except it happens in reality. It’s like real-world Pokémon!

Pokémon had a motto of “Gotta catch ‘em all!” As you’d expect, Pokémon Go incorporates this nicely. The pokédex, the list of all the possible pokémon you can catch, stares at you with blank spaces for pokémon that you haven’t caught yet, and beckons you to complete all of the entries.

Screenshot_2016-07-25-12-41-37
My own, pathetic pokédex.

 Each new pokémon caught gives you a very happy feeling of progress. This is how the system worked in the originals, but you were just competing with the game to catch as many as possible. You didn’t know what your friends caught in their own games unless you talked to them at lunch time or called them after school. There could be some competition, but it was still you in your own game. Pokémon Go, by taking place in our current age, allows you to have near instant contact with your friends, and a single screenshot on Facebook or over a text can make you feel that your own pokédex is lacking. Instead of just trying to complete the entries for your own pleasure, you are suddenly competing against nearly everyone you know. This adds pressure, suspense, and a goal that keeps Pokémon Go highly addictive.

The game is a perfect storm of crack-like gameplay that stays true to the Pokémon formula. Kids who played decades ago will play a similar game where they themselves act as the protagonist and battle real people at gyms. The addictive nature of trying to catch all possible pokémon, or at least more than your friends have caught, is present and is magnified by social media.

Is it just a Fad?

The key speculative question I’ve been asking myself is “Is Pokémon Go a fad? Or does it have staying power? Will my beloved bike-path always be clogged with 20 and 30 year-olds staring at their phones?” My wife likes to call me a “fence sitter” as I always take the middle view, and I’ll do the same here. The game won’t stay as large as it was in the first few weeks, and interest seems to be on the decline already, but I think for years on out you’ll still see people visiting pokéstops and walking around parks. There just won’t be as many as before. I’m personally curious to see how people play the game in December and January. If anyone is a true pokémon champion, it’d probably be whoever those people are.

Is Pokémon Go Good or Bad for the World?

This is up for everyone to decide on their own. Some people loathe the game and call those who play “children” or other terms akin to that. People who like the game give it credit for getting people outside. One of my friends on Facebook deemed that “Pokémon Go will end obesity.” While I wouldn’t go that far (American’s health habits are well entrenched), you can’t deny that people actually have went outside. Isn’t one long critique of gamer culture that they don’t get enough time outside? Problem solved. They’re outside.

It is also depressing to find people complaining about social media being flooded with Pokémon references and memes. Yes, this is the case, but people are passionate about their loves and hobbies. Others have to endure endless football posts and references, and other various sports year round. Not everyone likes sports. People share music that not everyone likes and we deal with it. This goes for about any post: politics, news, and whatever else people share. Social media has a myriad of stuff going on, and despite Pokémon Go being “immature,” others have to deal with equally frustrating things, and many stay silent about it. Sometimes it’s okay to be childish. What, are we supposed to worry about wars, terrorism, and everything wrong with the world just because it is deep and important? Does being an adult mean you have to be permanently pissed-off and serious? Worrying won’t solve anything, and posting on Facebook won’t solve anything either. But if everyone just played Pokémon Go and didn’t care about other people’s issues, I bet the world would be a better place. That’s not even sarcasm.

Murder
…Although seeing this might make you murder someone.

So I must say I’m a fan of Pokémon Go in its ability to let people be part of something bigger and share something with a large portion of their friends. The world is a shithole – we all know that – and forgetting about it in a bout of pokémon hunting at a park, enjoying the outdoors, and kindly interacting with strangers who share a common interest doesn’t seem to be a terrible thing. While I’m not as dedicated as many of my friends, I wish everyone luck on their hunting. Go catch your Charizard and drop a 1200 cp Vaporeon at a nearby gym. #TeamMystic