Concerning #PokemanGo – Wherein a puzzled Fr. Z inquires.

pokemonI am not entirely sure what Pokeman is.  Not my generation.   However, apparently this is now a thing you do with your mobile phones, rather like geocaching.  I heard one talking TV head praise it because at least it got young people outside for a while.

Even as I am typing this out, I had an SMS from a priest that some nitwit designated his parish as a place as a “gym” to do this Pokeman thing.  People are now trespassing here and there on parish property.  There was a group “training” in the “gym”.  They were drinking.  The police helped them to leave.  He even had someone wander into Mass with his nose buried in his smartphone.  “I don’t want to be liable for some underage person drinking and then falling off a wall and breaking his or her arm.”

This new thing could be a serious annoyance with legal ramifications.

QUAERITUR: Is there any benefit that can come from it for “evangelization”?

I rather doubt it, since the players will also probably have ear buds in and will be oblivious to context and decorum.

Arlington Cemetery tweeted: “We do not consider playing ‘Pokemon Go’ to be appropriate decorum on the grounds of ANC. We ask all visitors to refrain from such activity.”

That said, back when I was a seminarian in Rome I was involved with a Gregorian chant schola.  I persuaded the rector of the basilica where I was assigned for weekends to let them sing at Sunday Mass.  He was skeptical, but he acquiesced.  There was nothing to lose, since there were generally about 4 people in church for Mass.  Since the basilica is along a tourist route, we left the doors open.  People wandered in.  They heard the music.  They stayed.  Slowly but surely regular attendance at Sunday Mass grew.   The point is, once they were inside the place, there was something to get their attention.  (As an aside, the rector thought it was his preaching.  The choir politely smiled.)

Meanwhile, my priest friend writes: “If I was programming it, I’d make sure all the wandering included the center lane of the closest interstate.  Don’t these chuckleheads have a job?  Society has its bread and circuses while everything collapses.”

Father is clearly annoyed.

So, ….Pokeman on your stoopid phone.

Good thing?

Bad thing?


Utter waste?


I received a note:

I cannot say how responsive the company is on this issue, but they do have a form available to report a Pokemon Go location that is on private property:

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. brianmsaxton says:

    Evidently a lot of churches are designated as significant sites in Pokemon Go; the locations are based on an earlier similar game by the the company, and the story underlying that game made churches logical sites to play. Since comparatively few people play that game, it hasn’t been an issue ’til now.

    If this game turns out to be popular for more than a few weeks, the social norms around playing it are going to be interesting. Geocachers make an effort not to make a spectacle of themselves; hopefully Pokemaniacs do the same.

    [Pokemaniacs? I’m learning new words today!]

  2. QuietContemplative says:

    Pokemon Go is a revitalization of an old trading video game that also became a popular card trading game. They built the core of it on top of another game called Ingress. In that game, churches, libraries, historical locations, arts objects or similarly submitted “sites” were marked as “portals” in the game. Ingress was not a terribly engaging game (to me) but they basically lifted the structure for Pokemon Go, thus any church that was added in the one game has now become one in this. Outside of the occasional n’er-do-well, I’d say there is some level of potential for evangelizing, though it might necessitate a sign somewhere about what areas are appropriate to look around in while passing through and proper decorum within the church building. Then again… some parishioners seem to need those signs too…

    And, yes, my very much too old to be interested in games self is playing it. It’s quite a good excuse to get my steps in.

  3. gracie says:

    “Don’t these chuckleheads have a job?”

    My (reoccurring) thought exactly! Not only regarding Poekemon but also with all of the protest groups that are continually streaming themselves on the news outlets. Do all of these people live in their parents’ basements? Are they all on government subsidies of one kind or another? Where do they get their money to live on? Who’s supporting them? I wish the reporters who cover these events would ask them these questions.

  4. FrAnt says:

    I have the same problem, my church parking lot is a gym. There’s a story where a girl walked onto a highway and got hit by a car, she’s recovering in the hospital. A worry I have is that the players are all ages, how easy would it be for an adult to befriend a kid and abuse the kid or worse. This game is dangerous for all. I don’t care if people who usually sit in front of a computer all day and night are getting outdoors, the game is dangerous to every player.

  5. acricketchirps says:

    Can anyone here explain what it is exactly?

    Incidentally, I had geocaching explained to me less than a week ago.

  6. Fr. Bryan says:

    Looking at the results of a Google search about the Pokemon game turns up many stories of trespassing, as well as injury. The game is dangerous. I can see a person’s situational awareness being set aside as they play with potentially very disastrous results.

  7. SumusResNovarum says:

    @FrAnt There isn’t (as of yet) a social component to the game. It is no more a potential for abusers than any other form of social media, and since smart phones are the necessary medium to play the game, the age of those playing must skew a bit older. I can’t imagine parents letting young children play significant time on the parent’s phone.

    @Fr. Z’s question: I think there is potential, but I wouldn’t put my neck out for it. I’m fairly certain that our Church grounds are a gym (something which, I believe, is based on real-world geography and not “someone designating it”) which will be an interesting distraction during Youth Group Sunday night, but I will not make a big deal about it. I think social media and pop culture can become a vehicle for discussion – an “altar to the unknown God” as it were – but so many are fleeting that trying to do anything significant with them ends up being a waste and a watering down of the message we are trying to share.

  8. QuietContemplative says:

    I think a lot of the fears here are about things that used to be healthy for children to do (get out and about, interact with the world and people) and haven’t since we’ve become so litigious and over protective. I want to defend the game for many reasons. Yet, I’m restraining myself. I will say this: I think a balance needs to be found. We have over coddled our children in this day and age. I pity the priests of the next generation. They will have their job cut out for them if millenials are any indication of the trend. On the other hand, I have to admit, there is truth to the fears expressed here. I think something like this may help highlight how there needs to be a balance between the restriction and the permission. The only other thing I would say is keep in mind all those news stories are there because the get clicks or ratings. For every one or two people that get in trouble or hurt, there are quite literally millions of others enjoying themselves without distraction or harm. That story doesn’t catch attention, though. That said, for priests reading this, if you go to Niantic’s website ( you can report the gym. They’re being a little cagey about when/if they’ll remove them, but if you report it’s caused problems, they may work with you.

  9. billy15 says:

    I’m from this generation, Father, and I have to say that there are both good and bad aspects about this latest iteration of the Pokemon franchise. Think of it this way: what Pac-Man or Mario may have been to your generation, Pokemon is to millennials. I’m 28, and Pokemon came out when I was in 5th grade. I’ve been playing the games (that is, the main games on the Game Boy and Nintendo DS systems like “Blue Version” or “Black Version”) ever since, and despite having a full time job and two kids, I’m still a big fan! The same goes for many in my generation; just like people never get tired of playing the original Super Mario Bros on the Nintendo Entertainment System, people haven’t gotten tired of the RPG-Style (Role Playing Game) of Pokemon. So Pokemon Go is as close as you can get to ACTUALLY living that childhood dream of “catching” Pokemon with the iPhone’s Augmented Reality capabilities. That’s why it’s taken the world by storm and now has more daily users than twitter and Instagram in about a week’s time.

    Now I agree, that it is irritating that certain places have been desginated “Gyms” and whatnot. That’s just based on landmarks from Google Maps. Most people I know, are intelligent enough not to trespass. The Lutheran church by my house is a “PokeStop”, much like your priest friend’s church, but you only have to stand outside it to check in. Some people aren’t so smart, as evidenced by the people walking around and playing in the Holocaust Museum in DC. Suffice it to say, there’s some morons out there, but most people know not to trespass, and realize they can “check in” if they are near by the facility.

    Now is this a good thing? Eh, it’s neither good nor bad. It’s good if your a fan of Nintendo and Pokemon, probably irritating if you’re not. Does it have potential for evangelization? Maybe, but I’m doubtful. A lot of these players are probably agnostic and have no interest in learning anything. But maybe there’s that one questioning soul who might wander by a Catholic church when there’s something going on, like a Eucharistic procession. Maybe another young person my age could strike up a conversation with them, and a seed could be planted. I wouldn’t underestimate the Holy Spirit in using Pokemon to bring people together. In my limited time playing, I’ve already met quite a few people on the street and have had friendly conversations with them. If it keeps happening nearby a church, perhaps the conversation could drift to things of a divine nature, and that seed can start to germinate. I’m sure stranger things of happened.

    But let’s hope that this trespassing business stops.

  10. capchoirgirl says:

    Total waste. People are looking around in restricted areas of hospitals for these invisible things! They’re even looking around at Auschwitz, for pete’s sake.
    I see no redeeming value in this.

  11. rtjl says:

    Well…. You could stash Pokemons to lead people to the confessional.

  12. KT127 says:

    The developers ought to have a way for owners of properties to remove the geo-caching if it is bothersome. I certainly wouldn’t want tons of people trampling through my yard or business.

    That being said, the game seems to be entertaining and a lot of people are enjoying it while remaining law-abiding and polite people. In 2 weeks it probably won’t even be a problem. These things come and go.

    If someone was hanging out on private property (even if it was open to the public like Churches and stores) drinking and carrying on that’s an issue with the person.

    If someone is playing in the street, their parents have clearly failed.

    It reminds me of an old quote I read once “Owning a blackberry does not make you a jerk. Playing with your blackberry when I am talking to you reveals that you are a jerk.”

    There is always potential to evangelize. I think it depends on what the personality of the priest, the Parrish and the town. The local priest seems to be pleased to have them around and I think makes an effort to say hello when he has time. But no one would dare try to drink on Church grounds in this area.

  13. KT127 says:


    Now that’s genius.

  14. madisoncanonist says:

    Did you know that there’s a Pokemon Go Gym just outside the Cabinet Under the Stairs?

  15. Gregorius says:

    The sad part is yes, these people do have jobs- the very people fueling this craze were the same kids in 1997 who first got addicted to pokemon, and the game is catered to them.
    Fortunately the adults playing the game do appear do appear to have some social decorum- but kids playing the game might not. A person on twitter told a story where as he was playing the game he saw a kid also playing the game and offered to show said kid a nearby place where a pokemon was spotted, and they started off together before he stopped and realized “Oh geez I think I technically just abducted a kid” before shooing the kid back to its parent.
    Another popular story making the rounds is how two kids show up at the storyteller’s door wanting to go into the person’s back yard (!) to catch x pokemon spotted there, only for the storyteller to slam the door in their faces and catch the pokemon him/herself. Highways and physical dangers aside, perhaps the young shouldn’t be allowed to play to game unsupervised.
    If you want to feel really old, Father, realize that there’s a good chance many of the younger men being ordained today grew up playing pokemon as kids (pokemon is only about 20 years old now), and I’ve seen current seminarians online express delight that their assignments are hot spots for the game.

  16. Suburbanbanshee says:

    The game itself seems harmless. The recklessness of some adult players is what is disturbing.

    But of course, the vast majority of people, both kids and adults, do play responsibly.

  17. mwa says:

    Another facet of the dangerous side: a recent WSJ article, I think, also mentioned young thugs hanging out at pokestops in order to rob the unawares engrossed in the game.

  18. APX says:

    The last remembrance I have of Pokemon was an anime cartoon and trading Pokemon cards. It started up after the Sailormoon craze and around the digital pet craze (nano babies, Tamagotchies, giga pets, etc). This just sounds dumb. Aren’t there other things for kids to get involved in? When I was a kid, I was too busy with music lessons, marching band trips, door to door fundraising and sports to have time to chase digital things around. I weep for the future.

  19. Adam Welp says:

    The developers should add functionality in the game where a geofence can be set up to prevent Pokemon, PokeStops or PokeGyms from spawning. If my smartphone allows me to set a reminder to check the sacristy inventory each time I set foot on the parish property, then the developers should be able to exclude areas on their map.

  20. TMKent says:

    I was just interviewed by a local TV station regarding this issue. Two days ago, a writer for a local site covered a story about Pokémon players at a cemetery. The photo with the article included an image of the location where our infant son is buried. The reporter asked what people thought and I tweeted back that I felt it was inappropriate. This resulted in another reporter contacting me for TV. I said a cemetery is a place set apart from the mundane. I said there are many such placed “open to the public” that are actually intended for personal and private purposes. I mention that in my own case, as a Catholic, our son’s grave was blessed and thus a hallowed or holy place where we go to pray. I indicated that I see nothing particularly wrong with augmented reality games, but that in the future I would hope that the developers would take greater care to filter out such places. I don’t believe the police should inforce this or even the cemetery, but that we should we should all make greater efforts to police ourselves out of respect. (we’ll see whats left after they edit it down)

  21. johnmann says:

    I’ve been playing a little to see what it’s all about even though I’m old enough to have never played or watched Pokemon before so let me offer some insight.

    Walking while looking at your phone can be dangerous. So is skateboarding. Or target practice. I generally don’t concern myself with the risks people take for their own amusement. Just be careful and watch your kids.

    I hope property owners are given a way to remove their property from the game. But churches generally shouldn’t want to. First of all, you don’t have to stand at a specific spot. 30 feet seems close enough so even if a church is designated as a Pokestop, players probably don’t have to enter the church. Second, the demographics are such that even if these players are there because it’s a school trip or because their parents made them, they could be disruptive. Have lots of kids at church and there will be disruptions, with or without Pokemon Go.

    Tool for evangelization? Can’t hurt to try but doubtful. The kids have a gaming objective. They aren’t strolling around aimlessly looking for something to do. They’ll do what they have to do and move on. I did notice that a lot of parents are happy that they no longer have to spend 30 minutes dragging their kids out of the house to go shopping or Mass.

  22. Cafea Fruor says:

    This reminds me of an old Star Trek TNG episode, “The Game,” where everyone became addicted to this stupid virtual reality game that was pushed on everyone by some alien group seeking to take over the Federation. Rather than fight the Federation openly, the group just got everyone so addicted to the game that they were rendered, well, useless. One wonders how useless Pokemaniacs become — that is, what else could their time have been spent doing instead of being wasted?

  23. SaintJude6 says:

    It’s an idiotic waste of time, much like geocaching before it. Hopefully the fad will die out quickly.

  24. Adam Welp says:

    @Cafea Fruor

    I am such a bad Star Trek fan, I completely forgot about that TNG episode. You are correct, the parallels between the two are shocking.

    I’ve said from the start, this game has “social engineering experiment” written all over it. If I were of the tin foil had crowd, I would say that the Pentagon and several government departments are watching this game closely.

  25. JohnMa says:

    On Sunday, Father was quite proud to announce to the congregation that the Chruch was a Pokestop and to tell all the kids so they’d come. His rationale was that they may learn something by being around the church.

    Now at another church I was at last night, a young lady and her dad just came into the hall where adult vacation bible school was being held in order to use the Pokestop (one of 4! at this particular church). The priest was none too amused. When we left the church a little after nine I saw about a dozen kids wondering the church grounds using all the Pokestops.

  26. WmHesch says:


    I’d like to make Holy Cards with Our Lady of Fatima on the front. Instead of the 3 shepherd children, it would have 3 Pokemon!! Put Mass/ Confession times on the back with a little about the church. Maybe put a short prayer with the notation “Pokeball and partial indulgence”.

    Trads need to start thinking outside the box.

  27. JohnMa says:

    For some context : the first priest I mentioned above is Byzantine and has three daughters in high school. So he may be more receptive to this sort of thing. The second priest is in his late 60’s. So he may not be.

  28. FrAnt says:

    SumusResNovarum: I guess you haven’t see the 10-year-olds playing in my parking lot. When I approached they were the kids from my parish, and there was a 20 something in his car talking to them. Groups are formed and meet at gyms (my church parking lot). People often travel in groups to areas where characters are collected for points.
    It’s dangerous.

  29. Clinton R. says:

    The stories frequently on the news this week are Pokeman go and the zombie like behavior of people who have used synthetic marijuana, aka K2. Both represent the dumbing down of America. If you watch the Watter’s World segment on Bill O’Reilly, you can see just how far down the fall has been.

  30. anns says:

    I am saddened that so many individuals are distracted from true recreation by this and other meaningless uses of time. Additionally, the idea that it is good because it “gets kids out of the house” is also a poor excuse for a band-aid on a real problem – kids need to appreciate the outdoors/creation for its actual value, not as a setting for an artificial world. If you do not know how to enjoy nature without a gadget, then you do not know how to enjoy nature.

    That being said, EOT is always good at staying on top of these things:

  31. Mary Jane says:

    Many here have already echoed my own opinions…total waste of time, dangerous, etc. I feel the same way about most forms of social media (blogging/blogs excluded).

  32. Dutchman says:

    Very sad to see the Archdiocese of Miami promoting this with the Twitter hashtag #jesuslovespokemon. Bad enough to have people chewing gum at communion, texting and surfing during consecration, etc. Now to further trivialize the sacred space of the church, we have this garbage.

  33. KT127 says:

    You guys understand this is always done to the millennials, right?

    This is why we had no jungle gyms on our playgrounds, why we couldn’t ride our bikes in park, why we couldn’t keep score during our games. Because everyone was too busy protecting us from the big, bad, dangerous world. Every time someone found a harmless way to have good, clean fun it got shut down in the name of the poor, dumb, idiots who couldn’t manage.

    Most of them learn to manage if you leave them alone. (Or help them….)

  34. The Masked Chicken says:

    Pokemon Gone?

    The Chicken

  35. The Masked Chicken says:

    No, seriously, so-called, “augmented reality,” is nothing more than double-speak for lying about reality. Remember Easter Egg hunts or scavenger hunt? Those were the search for real artifacts and one could learn many observational skills from them, but Pokemon Go is a way of searching for something that isn’t really there, much like ghosts on radar. It is training to accept a lie, just because an arbitrary read-out says so. It is training for docility.

    Make no mistake, this is bread and circuses for the masses. This is a mild game, for now, but it is a harbinger for the reality warping to come. I don’t mean to sound like an old fogey, but augmented reality is a controlled and scripted type of imagination mediation, far worse than TV and its potential is far beyond this silly game. The Star Trek game was a way to brainwash the player

  36. The Masked Chicken says:

    [Sorry, hit the publish button by accident]

    Pokemon is fine either entirely physically-based or electronically-based, but the blurring of the real and the fictional is dangerous. One could imagine a phone app similar to the method used in Pokemon Go that lets one, “see,” Jesus at the moment of consecration. What does that do to faith?

    Pokemon Go is not like a heads-up display, because the HUD is a coded representation of a state of affairs in reality. Pokemon Go is not like the readouts in a video game, which reflect the state of affairs in the video game universe. Pokemon Go is a coded representation of a state of affairs not corresponding to reality in the same universe as the readout. If truth is the mind’s conformity to reality, than this game is the equivalent for the intellect what the original MTV was for the senses – a cross a contamination, whereby the words of the some would say one thing, but the pictures (video) would show something else. This seriously messes with emotional processing.

    For now, the novelty of Pokemon Go is fueling it, but don’t be surprised if much more sophisticated games don’t follow. At best, this is a poor man’s holodeck, with the real world being the hologrid; at worst, it is the beginning of the dark nightmare of the spirit.

    The Chicken

  37. pseudomodo says:

    Authorities must now establish an SPS in every city. (Safe Pokeman Site)

    The Star Trek episode is the best analogy yet and so very true. People are missing out on a lot of the interesting environment around them by gluing their hearts, minds and souls to the screens!

  38. KT127 says:

    Mary Jane-

    No, that would not be good, clean fun. That would be armed robbery.

    I was speaking about the people playing the game not the people who prey on those playing the game. People also prey on people who do things other than play games such as running down jogging trails or going to sporting events.

  39. jflare says:

    “Trads need to start thinking outside the box.”

    That’s great to think creatively WmHesch, but I don’t expect this idea to have any greater impact than any other idea. In my lifetime, “thinking outside the box” has brought about “more relevant” Masses which do not appear relevant to anyone past age 11, cleverly worded t-shirts that draw a quick laugh, but nothing more, various social media intentions which do not bring in people who do not already have an interest in faith, …and a frequent abandonment of almost any other means of evangelizing that have actually worked.

    I have no argument with Pokemon Go per se, but I do not expect an atheistic to become interested in faith when he finds a Pokemon dangling off one of the bells in a church’s steeple.
    I would suggest deleting churches and other houses of worship for these reasons.

    Incidentally, while it’s great to “think outside the box”, I have yet to see any number of people demonstrate an interest in coming inside the box from outside. If anything, most people have instead insisted that the box’s contents are “ignorant”, “bigoted”, “old-fashioned”, or in some way wholly unworthy of recognition.

  40. majuscule says:

    Out of curiosity I installed the app. I am so old I date back to the Truman administration, though I have been on the internet since the days of dial-up modems and GEnie (which wasn’t quite internet) so I’m not intimidated by this stuff.

    First I was asked to pick my “style” from two characters that might have been male and female. I could customize skin tone, eye color, hair color (no gray!) and clothing detail colors.

    Then I was given the opportunity to try it out. A character appeared in my living room–if I allowed the app to use my camera. I was given a ball to thow at it. I am a really bad thrower. It took me a long time.

    Then I was told to go outside and look for…whatever it is you’re supposed to find. Since I live in a remote location I’m going to have to travel a long way!

    My main concern was seeing if my church parking lot is a gym or pokestop. It’s in a rural area and I’ve never seen zombie-like youngsters wandering around…but who knows.

  41. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Masked Chicken —

    It is considered entirely normal to overlay reality with fictional depictions from books or movies. When I visited Berkeley, I overlaid modern Berkeley (and particularly International House) with Anthony Boucher’s 1930’s Berkeley from The Case of the Seven of Calvary. When one visits Chicago, one pictures all the Chicago stories that one knows. When one goes to Philadelphia, one goes to the Art Museum and stands next to the Rocky statue.

    This is an ancient habit. Part of the essential knowledge of every trained Irish poet was the memorization of the legendary meaning of the local landscape. Every boulder, ancient tree on top of a hill, well, and stream were connected with some kind of historical or legendary meaning — many of them fictional but still important. Pausanias’ guidebook talked about this sort of thing in detail. One of the earliest Christian novels, the Clementine Recognitions, is a historical fiction travelogue of large parts of the ancient world (crossed with a soap opera of lost family, homilies, and rhetorical duels against Simon Magus). If I want to “look” at ancient Anteros, I have to see it through a lens of ancient fiction.

    Dreams and fictions are important parts of geography, even today. Why do people go to Stratford on Avon or the Lake District? For the overlay of poetry, not for the place itself. Why do people think San Francisco is romantic or New York City is exciting? Because of the overlay of songs. If people enjoy seeing their own town with an overlay of Pokemon, why not? Romance and excitement is where you expect to find it, and an overlay of fiction helps you expect it.

  42. capchoirgirl says:

    There’s a big difference between acknowledging the historical/cultural impact and meaning of a place, and being in one of these places and instead of acknowledging that, looking for invisible monsters.

  43. Matt R says:

    Though I don’t doubt that the game structure was lifted from an earlier idea, the locations are generally considered to be highly trafficked.

  44. The Masked Chicken says:


    There is a real cognitive difference between engaging one’s imagination in, say, visiting 221B Baker Street (which does not exist) to clutch at the environment of Sherlock Holmes vs. having Sherlock Holmes seem to appear there in one’s phone camera. In the first case, you control the process, but in the second case, the process controls you.

    The Chicken

  45. torch621 says:

    IMO, this is no different than any other mobile phone game; morally neutral, can be good or bad depending on the circumstances. Certainly I think there needs to be an overhaul of how it’s played and how the system works, and folks need to be aware that they are not endangering themselves, others or intruding on another’s property. If it’s played in moderation and with all those other things considered, I see no real harm in it.

    That being said, using churches as “Pokestops” is rather disrespectful to a sacred space and should definitely be disallowed.

  46. JonPatrick says:

    Gracie, given that the real unemployment rate today has been estimated to be closer to 20% rather than the official 5% or so, due to the number of people who have dropped out of the work force, plus the number that only work part time or work nights, etc. then you have a fairly large group that have the time to play.

    many of the protest groups (such as Occupy and BLM) are at least partially funded by groups that are part of the Open Society Initiative which is controlled by George Soros as part of his effort to destroy Western civilization as we know it. You can google George Soros and look for the link to discoverthenetworks to learn what organizations he is involved in, it is a lengthy list.

  47. tealady24 says:

    Just another way our culture has sunk to the most base depths it can! I really fear for how younger people will ever face adversity in life. Or maybe they won’t have to living in the basement as they do. You want to know how to become an adult, put down the phone, get married and have children. Your whole life will be transformed better than any Pokeman game, whatever that is!

  48. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Masked Chicken – Of course Plato regarded all poetry, music, and fiction as mind control (or emotion-stirring) technology. But since his primary objection was that it would interfere with the official, government education-type mind control exerted by the Republic’s Guardians, I think we can disregard that….

    With the exception of gold farmers in Chinese prisons, nobody is forcing anyone to play phone apps. As far as I’ve been able to see, Pokemon Go is actually a “casual game” with a very relaxed tempo, where it is comparatively easy to pick it up or put it down. The goals are all long term, in order to provide people with months of playtime. What is making people hurry is their own competitiveness. (Of course, since I don’t have a smartphone, I don’t know; but I have a Pokemon fan coworker who has kept me updated.)

    The common denominator of all fiction is that no storyteller can force people to engage his fictions. I can tell a story and woo your attention and support. I can ask and lure you to suspend your disbelief, to play make-believe with me as your guide. I can offer a tiny little social contract that I will try to entertain you. But I can’t make you care, or suspend disbelief, or forcibly prop your eyeballs and mind open to me.

    Games are a different medium than stories or poetry or music; but they also rely upon a consent that can be broken on the user’s end at any time. It is much harder to keep someone’s attention than to get it in the first place. Games can hook more consciously into reward systems than a story can; but they are still weak, still reliant on the favor of the patron, desperate for clues to whether the player really likes it or is bored.

    capchoirgirl – Pokemon has a lot of cultural significance to a couple of generations. Considering how many games and animes and musical pieces it has inspired, as well as the way it trained a generation otherwise ignorant of them in the techniques of rote learning and recitation, in order to recite the names of all 100 Pokemonsters … yeah, it doesn’t matter if it’s “artificial” or “corporate.” It’s just there.

    In other news, mushroom hunters in my area discovered a dead body. It’s not the first time the local morel hunters have found evidence of crime. They are obsessive, go to obscure places, and usually hide their activities under cover of dawn. Nooo! Ban morels! They are evil!

  49. HeatherPA says:

    Sadly, it is more common than not for young children, age 5 and up, to have smartphones and iPads. Even in rural areas like where I am , the majority of kids have these devices at a very young age.

  50. Ellen says:

    I’m going to try it. And I’m 65. I think that properly used it could be a lot of fun. And it does get kids out of the house and off the couches. I’ve been told that there are some pokemon that you have to walk 3 to 6 kilometers to find.

  51. capchoirgirl says:

    Mushroom hunters are looking for delicacies that one can eat and/or sell. It’s not chasing around invisible things. There is both a practical and leisure aspect to it.

    I don’t have problems with leisure. I’m not a Puritan. I was the kid who was always sitting around reading books or playing make-believe with my dolls. I don’t believe that every moment of our lives has to be spent doing something “productive.” But I think that it’s sort of ridiculous that grown people are going around catching these things. Especially when there are so many reports of common sense being abandoned in the search for INVISIBLE OBJECTS. (People going up on stage during outdoor theater performances; people being injured when they cross the street at rush hour; people wandering around into secure areas of hospitals, etc.)

    For example, tonight in my town there is a Pokemon Go “Bar crawl”. This doesn’t sound like it can possibly end well.

  52. Fuerza says:

    I’m a police officer, and let me tell you that this game has been a nightmare for us. At the most benign, the constant calls from unaware citizens about suspicious individuals walking around their properties at 2 am are an extreme inconvenience and a waste of our time. At worst, this game has resulted in violent street fights and, in some instances, armed robberies. The worst part, most of these “Pokemoners” causing us problems are in their thirties and forties. They’re not even teenagers! How is it that people can spend hours wandering around the streets each night collecting imaginary monsters? Doesn’t anyone have a job or a family to support?

  53. Flavius Hesychius says:


    So, I’m not an adult because I’m never going to marry or have kids?


  54. un-ionized says:

    Flavius, I thought the same thing. I never married but I am considered as responsible an adult as it’s possible to be (I am told, by neighbors, boss, coworkers). I have encountered this air of superiority at church however, having been accused of being somehow not prolife as if one has to prove it through a demonstration of fertility. And my spellchecker wanted me to say “fertilizer,” an appropriate choice.

  55. majuscule says:

    Previously I posted my experience about installing the app. I finally got to the parish church, but since I don’t fully know how to work the app I may have missed something. I believe there is a poke station there, on the corner by the bus stop. It’s across from the middle school.

    Then on to my own rural mission church. I am glad to say there is seems to be no poke anything there. My avatar wandered aimlessly around the parking lot.

    The most annoying thing about the app is that it played constant audio sound effects via Bluetooth through the speaker on my truck–on top of the Missa Orbis Factor chant I was trying to listen to. Very annoying and possibly dangerous. There may have been a way to mute it in the settings but I didn’t bother. I was just curious about the app and deleted it after my curiosity was satisfied.

    When I stopped by the general store/post office to check the PO Box for mail I did notice one young man wandering around zombie-like, phone in hand. Well, that’s no longer mystifying.

  56. danielinnola says:

    The game is a lot of fun! My nearest Pokéstop is “little Zion Baptist Church” you dont have to go in to play. Here in New Orleans all Churches are Pokéstops or gyms, as are historical markers, and even some free standing sculptures. My initial reaction when i first started playing was approval at seeing Churches as pokéstops. I think its a good thing. In this crime ridden third world city i live in, their has been no incidences of robbery, drinking, or fighting, just players stumbling upon the odd dead body lying around here or there. (Nothing new about that) The local news has done several reports about the game, all positive.. City park is even sponsoring train rides to players.. So u can catch as many as you can!!

  57. PTK_70 says:

    Maybe have a Pokéstop at a Catholic bookstore or have one of these Pokémons show up at the time and place of a sacred music concert….


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