As the news broke that the popular Japanese phenomenon, Pokemon had returned as a smartphone app, I instantly rolled my eyes so hard they nearly fell out of the side of my head.
After the age of eleven, Pokemon had become rather ho-hum; whenever someone my own age professed a love for it, I inwardly grumbled and tried hard not to berate them.
Despite this, I downloaded the app although I still struggled to make any sense of it.
I couldn’t catch anything because I live in the middle of nowhere, and my stupid little avatar (which looks nothing like me) was stepping in time in the middle of the road.
After a while, I deleted the app and felt very satisfied in my own brilliant judgement – both the app and Pokemon was just childish and ridiculous.
A couple of days later, I was having a beer with a friend at the New Sydney. He suddenly started talking about Pokemon GO and fiddling with his phone while I was preparing a witty and withering remark on the stupidity of the app and the people who played it.
It was then that I noticed he had the app up and running and was intently playing the game!
Desperate to please this immaculately bearded friend, I excused myself for a cigarette and re-downloaded the app.
Upon my return, I complained loudly that there were no Pokemon in the area.
“Yeah there is” he said. “There’s a Zubat just there!”
Tapping on the little bat thing hovering on the screen, it immediately began fluttering over the bar.
He helped me catch it, and it was kind of exciting, but I still wasn’t hooked.
The following day I was on a long drive back from the Tahune air-walk and my sister and her boyfriend were intently catching Pokemon.
“Do you play it?” She asked.
I mumbled something noncommittal and retrieved my phone.
Unlike my house, and the bar the day before, there were dozens of various Pokemon bobbing about on my screen.
That was when I saw it. It was small, orange, and bobbing about near Kingston beach.
Excitedly, I threw Pokeball after Pokeball at the dopey looking duck-platypus.
When I finally caught it, I was delighted beyond words at the perpetually confused and ridiculous looking creature. He has always been my favourite Pokemon. Perhaps because it reminds me of myself.
Since then, I have been hooked!
I have battled the freezing cold, “Pokemon hunting” with a group of friends on numerous occasions, all the while bumping into people I haven’t seen in years, and also bonding with complete strangers over these imaginary creatures that I have shamefully neglected for the past fifteen years.
I’ve felt a Hemingwayesque thrill of the hunt when casting Pokeballs at high-CP (combat power) Pokemon, despair when seeing a ‘Dragonite’ before the app crashed, and pride when my high level ‘Flareon’ held a New Norfolk gym for two days.
I’ve spent hours playing Pokemon GO in the student lounge on campus because it’s conveniently located in the middle of three lures (meaning that more Pokemon will be attracted to the area). Meanwhile my thesis isn’t writing itself, though I can’t get that Dragonite out of my head and anticipate going and finding it again soon.
I’ve suggested going on numerous walks with my girlfriend on beaches, in parks, or just through Hobart for the sole purpose of finding and hopefully catching more and more Pokemon.
My name is Mark, and I’m a Pokemon-aholic.