Pokemon Go has been out for over a week now and, given that this site is about the tabletop gaming, you can probably guess that I’m not a fan.
Playing Pokemon Go is like a massive Live Action Role-Play session, except the players are even less aware of their surroundings, and perhaps even creating even more suspicion than say, a vampire or werewolf LARP would.
I used to be the president of a university gaming club, of which there were numerous LARPers who were members. The majority were fine, but there was a minority that could (and would) ruin it for the rest. I wasn’t a LARPer, but I had to deal with some of the fallout when certain players would violate university policies or just make a general nuisance of themselves.
And I’m seeing something similar happen with Pokemon Go players.
I’m not necessarily opposed to Pokemon Go, or those who play it, but given any sort of mass social movement (which this is, dare I say it) there will be a dark side. However, there will also be some positives.
So here are my Top 10 Predictions for Pokemon Go.
1. Within three months there will be significant drop in Pokemon Go players.
The novelty will were off. People will get bored with it.
Already some of my friends and acquaintances who’ve played the game have reported Pokemon Go hangover. They’ve played it too much. Something else might replace it. (Or, you know, everybody will be distracted by the latest tragedy of the week/day/hour on our social media).
2. Mass cellphone hacks via the app.
If it hasn’t happened already. Remember how early on there was that snafu with the app accessing your Google Account information. Yeah.
3. During this time there be more Pokemon Go-related deaths.
In fact, people have already died.
This will be one of the reasons for the decline.
We’re talking about people walking around looking at, and trying to capture, imaginary monsters on their cellphones in public. I have no doubt that the majority of players will be responsible.
Yet there will be that minority who will play while driving, go to places they shouldn’t, and get into situations where accidents might happen.
Given the millions of users playing the game, it might not be too much of a stretch to place the number in the hundreds, maybe over 1000. And there’s already a number of articles, like this one, about the dangers of playing the game. There has been, however, a number of false reports.
I hope I’m wrong on this prediction.
4. The “Pokemon No” movement will gain more momentum.
It’ll still be a minority. But as players become more of nuisance in more areas, you’ll start seeing more places (besides Holocaust museums) where the game is banned.
Attention present and future players: one of these places will be my tabletop games.
5. Nintendo will make a lot of money.
To say nothing about all of the add-ons you can buy in the game, all of that data they’re collecting will be worth millions. Nintendo’s stock is already up.
To parody Yakov Smirnoff: “In capitalist America, you don’t collect Pokemon, Pokemon collect you!”
6. Many players will rediscover the “real world.”
This is, indeed, one of the more positive aspects of the game. People are getting out of the house and getting some exercise. My only quibble is that they’re doing so with a cellphone.
7. Pokemon Go will function as kind of dating service.
Who knows who you’ll meet while playing the game?
8. Pokemon Go will function as a service for stalkers and criminals.
Who knows who you’ll meet will while playing the game…
9. You’ll read a report or two of players encountering the supernatural with the app.
They’ll think that a ghost, UFO, or the moth-man is just part of the game, and they’ll try to capture it. What’d really be interesting is if they succeed.
Sub-prediction 9a: this will be a plot for an episode of Supernatural. Or X-Files, if it comes back.
10. There’ll be an epic battle between LARPers and Pokemon Go players.
Both groups operate in public areas, so there’s bound to be a showdown.
The ensuing conflict will draw in other factions in geek and nerd0m: the Society for Creative Anachronism, Furries and Bronies, cosplayers, and other various historical re-enactment clubs.
The battle will resemble the Neo versus the Agent Smith duplicates in The Matrix Reloaded, complete with musical score, with each side summoning in reinforcements, and converting their opponents to their cause.
Of these, the historical re-enactors practicing Roman warfare will emerge victorious, since they will know how to form a proper phalanx with spears and shields to drive their opponents from the field.
And out of the smoking ruins, tabletop gaming will once again reign supreme, and everybody will go home and roll some dice.
Well… either that, or the battle will devolve into an impromptu geek convention of sorts:
Or something like that…