Pokemon, where have you gone to? – Part 2

If you find yourself at a dead stop behind a non-moving vehicle in the middle of parking lot, there’s a good chance the operator of the vehicle is playing Pokemon Go. This happened to me and my son the other day. The woman was staring down into her lap, obviously trying to hide something, her eyes bugging out of her head with enough concentration to burst a dam. Could it be? Of course! she’s playing Pokemon Go!

This determination is common and even more severe than anyone could have imagined. The headlines are rife with tragedies and mishaps. Players falling off cliffs, crashing into cop cars, and getting stabbed. On the lighter side, I read a hopeful story about the rescue of a stray kitten, later named Mewtwo (yes, from the game). Poor, little Mewtwo was stuck in a tree with injuries and couldn’t get down. I’m betting it was Pokemon Go players who drove the poor cat up the tree in the first place, arriving in hoards, stepping on her tail or something much worse.

And did you hear the news? (Although it’s hard to top Mewtwo.) Nick Johnson, a New Yorker, has caught all the Pokemon! Yes, really. He did it in two weeks with a little help from Uber. No crashing into cop cars here. He caught them in two weeks with little or no sleep. It kind of feels like he got the Golden Ticket. He still needs to catch the rare creatures who only exist in Japan, New Zealand, Australia, and Europe. And what luck! Marriott Rewards is going to partner with him to help him locate the last remaining Pokemon.

My son shouts, “Mom! We should have done this!” For free trips to all these places, I totally would have done this. Just picture the headline:

Mother and Son TEAM catch all the Pokemon

I mean, doesn’t that have a better ring to it?

So far, my progress is dismal. I’m at Level 6. And my son? He’s watched some YouTube video that’s shown him how to hack into the game and play Pokemon Go from a horizontal, resting position on the couch (i.e., he doesn’t have to GO anywhere!). He tells me this game is for people who need to get out and he already gets out enough.

So, he’s playing the game as if he’s walking around San Francisco and he’s catching a lot of fish. As you might imagine, this has put a damper on our Pokemon bonding experience. But he’s busy because you need to capture 132 fish to evolve one of your fishes. You need to capture like a whole school. And what will he tell his cousin, whom we’re meeting in San Francisco when he’s already caught all the Pokemon there? His secret will be out!

Meanwhile, back at that ranch, I got a new line on an old phone given to me by mother-in-law so my younger son has a Pokemon device. Sprint requires not only your account information but also your first-born and a DNA sample…and still, they won’t unlock the phone! It turns out they won’t unlock iPhones. What a bust.

My family and I have been in San Jose over the past few days for the Junior Olympics Water Polo tournament and, in between games, the hotel was a flurry of Pokemon Go activity.

Our hotel, in fact, had a PokeStop. It was this Oasis:

HotelOasis
Calm and peaceful. A perfect place for a PokeStop.

This made me wonder if the game makers sought permission for naming their PokeSpots. While the hotel might appreciate the free advertising, it may be a tad disturbing to their paying guests to have all these extra “guests” while ensconced poolside at their hotel. My son assured me that no one has given any permission for any PokeStop and that that trespassing is rampant. In fact, people are walking into the backyards of people’s houses looking for PokeStops. What could be a PokeStop in someone’s backyard, I wonder.

Perhaps it’s a fountain like the one we saw at the De Anza College campus in Cupertino, California:

This gets PokeStop status.

Or a sculpture:

OmubakaSculpture
Here we have the Omubaka Ambassador Sculpture and, apparently, an Ambassador to the PokeStop.

I vote for this turtle, who wasn’t a PokeStop:

Turtle_DeAnza
What gives?

Sometimes, a PokeStop truly is deserving, like this plaque celebrating an English professor. My son remarked that the quote was nice. Indeed:

plaque2

plaque
It reads: In the shooting lights of thy wild eyes…from a verse from William Wordsworth.

My son used my phone to play and we let the game track our every move, which doesn’t seem to bother anyone anymore. Not in the case of Pokemon Go. Me, I’m betting there’s some other game probably already in the works. You know, like something darker out of a dystopian novel, like play or be eaten. Although what could be darker than enslaving Pokemon to fight until they fade and pass out while fighting in that innocent, healthy arena called a “Gym.”

My son ran around with his buddies later in the week. Without their devices. They were playing a game you may have heard of. Hide-and-Go-Seek.

Yeah, they did. It’s a classic.

My Adventures in Pokemon Go – Part 1

“Mom, slow down. I need to get some progress on my egg.” No, we’re not farmers. These are the words of my son when we’re playing Pokemon Go. Okay, and we’re cheating. Just a little. We’re in our car and we should be walking or biking. You see if you move too fast, your egg won’t incubate and you’re likely to miss all kinds of nearby Pokemon.

Let me pause and say whoever thought us this Pokemon Go is an absolute genius. It gets kids (and adults) off the couch and out of the house, all while still playing a video game. Imagine that! I thought I’d document my little adventures as I play alongside my sons, both very video savvy. As for me, I’m an absolute beginner and have never been a gamer, but we’re having a great time so far.

Yesterday, my son and I rode bikes around the Intel campus after dark on the hunt for a memorial plaque. I come to find out that there’s this beautiful little lake with trails I never knew about. We also found that someone around Intel is really scary with a lot of power. (I mean in the game, of course!) Right now, because my son and I are new to the game, we’re weak and so want to keep our distance.

We are also a bit too weak to contend with anything having to do with the “gym.” My son tried to fend off someone in a gym in the produce section at the supermarket, but was unsuccessful. You can easily recognize a gym on your phone. It’s a big and menacing, blinking tower.

Tonight, my younger son joined us. We drove to a reservoir nearby, a small body of water I haven’t been to in years, and had never seen at dusk.

WillowCreek1
Willow Creek Reservoir. It’s a simple walk around the lake. Perfect for a short stroll.

So pretty.

WillowCreek2

My younger son is hooked now and wants to play. Unfortunately, his iPad doesn’t have a data plan. We may resurrect an old phone and see about changing that. I think it could be worth it. Anything to get these kids outside. This is working! We’ve tried to get out in nature before, but it always seems to be a dreadful thing for my younger son. Tonight, he was skipping along.

WillowCreek3
Looking at a screen, but off the couch and outside. The air was perfect!

And lo and behold, a Pokestop in front of another grocery story I frequent all the time. Pokestops are my favorite. Free stuff and more pokeballs to catch the Pokemon. And guess what? It has a compass in the front I’ve never seen before. Who knew?

Compass
Are those ghost Pokemons? Nah.

I’m at Level 4, so I know we have many more adventures ahead, and I have to catch up to my son who’s at Level 10. He shakes his head at me, but he’s patient and explains things about the ever-changing Pokemon.

What about you? Have you tried it? Curious?