Young Local Writers
Personal essays written by students ages 9-15 who participated in an 826michigan workshop led by Observer designer LR Nunez and calendar editor Katie WhitneyFriday, January 27, 2017
The Pokémon Go Craze & the Nerd Community
So Pokémon GO was a thing. Nobody really plays it anymore, but when they did, they were HOOKED.
You see, Pokémon fanboys like me have had one ultimate dream, and that dream is to have real Pokémon for our capture in the real world, real monsters like Charizard, Pikachu, and the other, like 800-900 forgettables, for us to befriend. And in 2016, Niantic Labs and Nintendo partnered to bring us closer to the dream with their new mobile app, Pokémon GO. The app forced us nerds to get out of the basement and get active with one ultimate perk: we could catch Pokémon while doing it. Before that, all our Pokémon interaction was done through the screens of our TVs and Nintendo DSs/3DSs. This was huge.
As such, me and everyone else I knew decided to try it out. Even people who weren’t Pokémon fans played it constantly. On one occasion, I decided to bolt over to one of two parks near my house in order to take advantage of a lure that had been set there. Passersby yelled, “Thanks for the lure!” out of their windows, people pulled up to catch some Pokémon, and we actually had conversations about the app and how we ran to the other park, about 3 blocks down, to check on my local Pokémon gym, then back to the lure, then back to the gym, then home. In mid-80s heat. I didn’t even catch anything good!
So, it went on like this for a while, I ran to catch some ’mon, talked to people, sweated profusely, went home. It was a nice nerd community, in a way. But then the action got stale, glitches became more apparent, and we all turned to Niantic, desperately waiting for an update.We waited. And waited. And waited. But then, from the depths of the app store: AN UPDATE! New Pokémon? Patched bugs? New items? No, it was none of these things. Nerds across the world let out an ear-piercing “ugh” as they read the patch notes: “Minor text fixes.”
Slowly but surely, Niantic’s nostalgic magnum opus trailed off into the night, going from an App Store powerhouse to an “Are you sure you want to delete Pokémon GO?” warning in an instant. The nerds collectively receded into their basements and curled up in the fetal position, awaiting the release of Sun and Moon, but I’ll never forget those few glorious days of a true nerd community. Or at least I won’t until my copy of Moon comes in the mail. Game looks amazing.
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