What is Pokémon? Pokémon is a multi-media franchise which began as a pair of video games for the original Nintendo Game Boy created by Satoshi Tajiri in 1995. The franchise now spans video games, trading card games, animated television shows and movies, comic books, and toys. It is the second-most successful video game-based media franchise in the world.

What are Pokémon? Pokémon is a portmanteau of the words “pocket” and “monster.” (It is also a dirty pastime in Jamaican prisons). Pokémon are fictional creatures based on animals from the real world and given elemental, psychic or mystical abilities. In this alternate reality Pokémon Trainers (the human counterparts), catch and train these creatures to battle each other for sport.

So now that those who’ve crawled from beneath a rock are up to speed, why in hell are we talking about this? Because recently Nintendo achieved in three days what Michelle Obama has failed to do in two presidential terms: get kids off their a**es and out from in front of a game console. This was accomplished with the release of Pokémon GO. It’s an interactive phone app using Google maps that allows kids (and many adults) to hunt and capture virtual Pokémon in real time, in the real world.

GOTTA CATCHEM ALLDespite the obvious health and social benefits, the public’s reaction has been a mixed one. Parents like that their kids are up and moving and can even join in and share the experience with their child. On the other hand, business owners despise the fact that many “customers” are walking into their stores and restaurants searching for something they do not sell. In addition, many people (mostly adults) are taking the game to excessively dangerous levels. There have been several cases of people walking into traffic and at least one incident of someone walking off a cliff in pursuit of a virtual monster.

Aside from the obvious dangers of stupidity, wannabe Poké-masters face the judgment of the religious community as well. They cite the game as a corruptive influence that will draw kids into occult practices. They also fear it will encourage anti-religious beliefs in evolution and Darwinism. It’s funny how anything that grabs kids’ attention is evil, but only as long as it’s mainstream and popular.

Adult players face a different kind of persecution­—that of their peers. Grown-ups take some perverse pride in chastising other adults who participate or show interest in something they deem “childish.” What exactly are “grown-ups” supposed to do? Is there a rule book on this somewhere? Isn’t a large part of being a responsible adult being able to use your free-time in any fashion you desire as long as it doesn’t interfere with others?

Of course, with everyone preoccupied with catching fictitious creatures, one must consider the impact it has on the real pet community. It’s sad that many animals are being neglected, along with small children and elder adults, in exchange for virtual alternate reality critters. The only Poké-defense offered is that at least the pocket monsters don’t poop and pee on the floor. Still it’s wrong to neglect living things while living in a virtual world. But what if the worlds collided? What if the definition of “living things” changed? What if Pokémon were real? We’d all die…that’s what would happen.

Yellow mice that can produce an electric shock the equivalent of and electric chair! Fire breathing salamanders that evolve (Darwinism…BEWARE!) into giant fire breathing dragons! Purple, floating, meteor looking things that produce toxic gases! Yeah, the human race would be Pokéscrewed! Kids wouldn’t be throwing balls, Poké or otherwise, at these abominations; they’d be running for their lives. The only people that would “catch ’em all,” would be animal control…gawd have mercy on their poor souls.

So perhaps it’s best to leave these pocket monsters to their own devices in their own dimension. A hearty thanks to all you Pokéfolk who are minding the trans-dimensional borders and keeping those virtual beasties in check. Just watch where you’re going and try to enjoy your real life occasionally.

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