It’s time to ban Pokémon Go.
The app, which is an off-shoot of the Nintendo franchise that pits cute creatures against each other in non-lethal bloodsport, turns smartphone-owners into real-life hunters. The mechanics are clever: The game buzzes your phone when a Pokémon is near, and imputes a graphic of the beast on the environment using the phone’s camera. The goal is to catch the bugger by swiping your finger across the screen. Collect enough of these colorful monsters and you become king of the nerds, or something.
The game’s seamless blend of technological fantasy and reality is wickedly simple—and extremely addicting. Pokémon Go is so simple that it’s beginning to infiltrate all manner of public places. Players complain the game is making them late for work. Thugs are robbing unwitting competitors glued to their screen. American soldiers are “catching them all” on the frontline. The Holocaust Museum had to chastise attendees for playing the game in a place of mourning. Ditto for Arlington National Cemetery.
At a local coffee shop, I recently had to experience the maddening frustration of two patrons taking forever to order because they had to catch a “Bulbasaur.” After unsuccessfully snagging the thing, they finally got on with their order, aloof to what happened. They were oblivious of the fact they held everyone up to play a video game. In public. As fully-grown adults.
Can you say, “pika pika, screw you”?