Can Adults be Pokémon Trainers, Too?

If you haven’t heard about Pokémon GO, the newest craze in trying to “catch ’em all,” I’d either be very concerned or highly impressed, since it takes very a strategic and intentional effort to ignore what’s going on around you to miss this giant, hyped-up piece of news. However, since I don’t judge, I’ll still give you a quick run-down. It’s essentially a mobile app where you play as a Pokémon trainer, walking around different parts of the real world to find and catch different Pokémon! The game really relies on you actually leaving your house to walk around and explore different areas, as different types of Pokémon are easier to find as you leave your neck of the woods. 

It’s been a giant source of nostalgia for those who played it upon it’s first release in 1998, as well as a brilliantly innovative way to enjoy the series for any age group. However, there’s quite a large number of people who will shout their opinions disapproving of the game, often in the form of sharing memes. Here’s one that somehow links playing Pokémon with not being an adult:

And here’s one that makes the assumption that you can’t play Pokémon GO while also having a job:

So, adults can’t comprehend that it’s an enjoyable pass-time, and apparently, the only people that play Pokémon GO are unemployed. Hm, yes, I see. Very sound logic, indeed.

Believe me, there are plenty more, but I’m not about to rifle through more of them to expose you to just how bitter people can be about something that bring people a lot of happiness. You don’t need that stress, I don’t need that stress, and they don’t need that kind of attention. 

What gets me about comments like these is that, somehow, the people who have this attitude about Pokémon GO don’t stop and think that this is just a fun way to pass some time, whether you’re ten, in your twenties, somewhere in your forties, and so on. Most of the people playing it grew up with it, so there’s undoubtedly a nostalgic factor to it. Our child selves always wished we could go out in the real world and find our favorite Pokémon, and the beautiful creators at Nintendo and Niantic made that possible. Not only that, but this game encourages people to actually get outside, walk around, and even interact with other people who play this game. Social events have been popping up everywhere with people meeting up to go hunt Pokémon, which are now bringing people together that might not have ever met without it. People are getting some exercise, getting out of the house, and making some social leaps. It’s even helping immensely with people combatting their anxiety and depression. If it takes a mobile rendition of an adult’s childhood passion to accomplish all this, is that really something we should be making people feel bad about?

My biggest problem, however, is with the assumption that adults who play Pokémon GO either…

A. don’t have a job and are wasting their life away with the game, or

B. stop being productive at the job they have because of this game.

And while both outcomes are entirely possible, it takes an incredible amount of negativity to make those kinds of assumptions about people. Had this game been released when I didn’t have a job yet, I’d still play it about as often as I watched shows on Netflix, played other video games, and whatever else tickled my fancy at the time, while still knowing I had to buckle down and get through some job applications FIRST. To assume that someone doesn’t care about their financial stability/career opportunities just because of a video game is highly degrading, in my eyes. We all need a break, whether we’re still looking for jobs or are already employed, so some time to walk around and catch some digital monsters doesn’t have to mean we’re sacrificing productivity. 

I’m able to work my full-time job while still enjoying Pokémon GO on my free time, and would you look at that! I’m still at said job, working hard and being productive. In fact, my boss knows I play it, and regularly asks me if I’ve “caught any new critters.” I don’t let it get in the way of what I know needs to be done at work, and I reserve the hardcore playing of it for when I’m away from work. I’ll admit, I check it every now and then to see if a rare Pokémon has creeped its way into our office, but no more than that. I would never leave the office to go track it down, because as a responsible adult, I know having a career and financial stability is more important than a video game…but that would change if a Mewtwo wandered into the area. (I’m KIDDING. Kind of.)

Whether or not the people vocalizing these opinions about Pokémon GO intend for it to be a joke, it’s still evident that there’s a clear disdain for adults playing this game. In no way do I believe that everyone has to like the game, but to assume that playing it makes you a less productive member of society is absolutely outrageous, and speaks volumes about what certain people think we’re allowed to enjoy. Pokémon GO has given me more incentive to go explore more places in my city, its given me another way to connect with new and/or existing friends, and it ultimately gives me a certain joy that I can’t get from other video games. 

I guess it’s good that, as grown-ups, we know that people who are trying to bring us down are the one’s with the problems, not us. If we know we’re still working toward our goals while also catching 100+ Rattatas, then those who judge us for it aren’t doing much other than wasting their energy complaining about a video game that encourages exercise and exploration. You know, things we’re encouraged to do no matter what stage of life we’re in. 

 

 

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