When Pokémon GO, the GPS-based, “augmented reality” video game was released for iPhone and Android this past Wednesday, July 6, I was not a quick convert. Sure, I felt a tinge of nostalgia remembering my worn deck of Pokémon held together by an oversized rubber band and the hours spent on my Game Boy playing the game’s predecessor. There was no bigger fan of the animated series—who didn’t feel a compassion and affinity for the introverted yet courageous Ash on his misguided adventures?
But, the thought of traipsing around searching for imaginary creatures digitally stitched into my phone’s camera had little appeal to me. I am at least trying to pretend to be an adult, and I prefer to spend my off-time like any other cultured millennial: getting loaded and walking my dog.
By the time Friday afternoon came around, the buzz was so loud that I could no longer ignore it. The game provided exercise (wow! walking around!) and people were getting robbed by real-life armed assailants at Pokéstops. I could resist no longer and downloaded the app.
Do you really have to catch them all?
After downloading the game, a message popped up: “for a brief time, we’ll be limiting the number of new accounts that can be created simultaneously.” I was distraught and confused. Apparently, there was such an “overwhelming demand” for accounts that I would be unable to play. Was this some sort of trick? Isn’t collecting Pokémon a God-given right? This injustice would not stand. But it did. For two days.
By the time I threw myself out of bed Sunday morning and downed a few aspirin, registration had reopened. I was on my way to becoming a Pokémon master…I’m not ashamed to admit that my first encounter with a Pokémon was at Bed, Bath and Beyond. Maybe I am a little ashamed. “Beyond” jokes aside, I have come to appreciate BB&B as a safe and magical space. When a smarmy, little Weedle popped up, my shopping experience turned into even more of an adventure. I tossed my Pokéballs at the little worm as he dodged towards the silverware aisle. By the time I captured him, I was sold on the game.
What is more gratifying than collecting? Let it be stamps, beanie babies or Tinder matches, I like nothing better than to accumulate versatile and useless objects. Why not collect imaginary, digital creatures? It was a Sunday, and I had little else to do (not true). I was going to catch them ALL.
Booty at the Pirate Museum
Sunday plans: get out of the city, check out the Jean Laffite Pirate Museum, go to the swamp. When a brazen Rattata showed up on the dash of the car, I knew I was on the right track. Catching my second Pokémon, I snarled at Ash—how could it have taken him seasons of the series to collect three Pokémon. I already had a crew. I’m was clearly a pro.
So, I’m going to be honest with you—the Lafitte pirate museum has very little to do with pirates. Sure, Jean Lafitte—the infamous smuggler who ferried illicit goods through the swamps of Louisiana and eventually helped defeat the British colonialists—was mentioned once or twice in the one-room museum, but the displays focused more on the wildlife of the Lafitte swamps, with which I was not disappointed because I am a huge nerdbird.
But when Eevee suddenly appeared in a wax diorama of citizens learning about the damage of Hurricane Katrina, I was so over the museum and all about catching that adorable, little fox. Why would I read a boring plaque about hurricane awareness when I could bag one of the rarest Pokémon of them all. Needless to say, if you need an Eevee, drive to the southern coast of Louisiana.