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Friday, July 15, 2016

Too adult to Pokemon

The late comedian Mitch Hedberg had a joke about Little League. It went like this: "I wish I could play Little League now; I'd kick some fuckin' ass."

Pokemon Go is not Little League.

Pokemon Go is a mobile game that anybody with a smart phone can play, and apparently nearly everybody is playing it. Everybody, that is, except for a few stalwart defenders of the dignity of adulthood, who maintain that they're not playing that game because it's for kids.

I feel sorry for those people.

I used to be one of those people.

See, I've been playing video games all my life, starting with the Atari 2600 and never stopping, so the notion that video games in general are just for kids has never held water for me. But somehow when Pokemon came to the United States in the late 90's, I decided that this particular video game franchise was for kids, and therefore not me.

I made a similar error with Harry Potter-- these books are for ten-year-olds! Aren't the adults reading them embarrassed?

Turns out no, they're not. They're just happily enjoying a series of books in genre of fiction that they happen to love, and which are-- from all I've heard-- really good (I still haven't gotten around to reading the books, but that's no longer because I'm too busy sneering at them. Just haven't had time to read them.)

But I have started playing Pokemon (currently level 11, Team Instinct), because I realized that I'm no longer too old too enjoy it. I never was.

An adult enjoying Pokemon is unlike an adult playing Little League, or taking part in an Easter egg hunt, or trick-or-treating, because those things are all zero-sum games. An adult taking part in them means that children don't get to, or at least don't get to take part to the extent that they otherwise would.

Unless you're literally knocking children out of the way to capture a Pokemon, which would be wrong regardless, your playing the game is not trampling on anybody.  Do not listen to the haters saying otherwise. But also if you aren't interested in playing, don't play. I doubt there's a video game player alive who is interested in all genres of games equally, and you can't play them all, even if you wanted to.

But don't be a hater yourself.  As a frequently-quoted Adam Ellis cartoon says, "Shhh. Let people enjoy things."

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