Adult gamers are so hooked to playing Pokemon Go that it wouldn’t be surprising to hear stories about a few turning their inner-wear inside out and putting them on to save time on doing laundry. If you haven’t heard already, a New Zealand man became quite popular for quitting his job to play the game full-time.
Like a flash mob, gamers, who possibly haven’t seen daylight in a long time, were seen congregating at public parks to catch that elusive, rare Pokemon. What has the world come to? Are the 90s kids so disinterested with today’s life that they constantly cling on to memories from childhood, hoping to get to relive them again?
Agreed, the Cartoon Network generation grew up watching some of the best animation in the business. Networks these days are producing cartoons that would insult the intelligence of even five-year-olds. Gone are those days when Sunday afternoons meant watching ‘Power Zone’, which had some of the most exciting, action-packed cartoons on its roster.
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When Nintendo’s Game Boy still hadn’t found its way into the hands of kids playing Mario on those retro consoles, they settled for watching some of the characters come alive on television. Pokemon, being one among them, went on to achieve cult following, thanks to some clever marketing. Cheetos only fueled the craze by giving away Pokemon cards along with its cheesy balls, that tasted like plastic.
Many of my friends squandered their monthly pocket money to buy packets and packets of Cheetos to collect Pokemon trading cards. Like someone falling into debt by sticking their head into the jaws of a payday loan shark, most of them were left with little or no money towards the end of the month. It must have been an early induction to living on pennies as an adult later on in life, but that was every kid’s first addiction, maybe second, because Frito-Lay offered Looney Tunes-styled Tazos much earlier.
Regardless, stacks and stacks of trading cards — that had little value in real life — were hoarded and flaunted with style. School-going kids those days would compulsively list down all the characteristics of a Pokemon. They would learn all the names of the Pokemons by rote and unlearn all the elements of the periodic table. This could have got a lot more worse, with school authorities cracking down on students trading the cards, there was a talk of suspending them from attending classes. Suspension was akin to attending rehab for someone so young. You are barely 14-years-old and you are addicted to gambling (trading) cards already. Such was life back then. Don’t play Pokemon cards? you were left out from social groups who lived and breathed Pokemon.
Today, it seems like life has come a full circle for those who grew up watching and playing Pokemon. Spending hours and hours tracking Pokemons on your phone and levelling up in the game would achieve what? Addiction to Role Playing Games is real. Look at those spending 18 hours a day, playing World of Warcraft. But gaming has become commercial with championship tournaments inviting serious players to test their mettle. These events have cash prizes running into thousands of dollars.
Pokemon Go, on the other hand, is designed to make people become obsessed with its universe. This would mean exchanging your time and money for some augmented-reality gratification. The game hasn’t even officially released in India and many have already started reliving Ash Ketchum’s dream of ‘catching them all’. God save all you Charmander-loving, meowth-hating fans!