Thursday, July 14, 2016

How should I feel about Pokemon Go?

The biggest buzz on your Facebook feed is probably about a alternate reality game that has taken the world by storm. Pokemon Go. Nintendo teamed up with Niantic to create the most successful phone game ever. Within the first day it had more users than Tinder. In three days it passed Candy Crush to become the most successful mobile game in history. As of today the app has more daily users than Twitter. Huh? What? Why? How?

If you've been living under a rock here's your fire-hose explanation of Pokemon. It's a video game franchise that spawned a TV show. Both were enormous hits. The original game was first created twenty years ago and Nintendo still pumps out new iterations of the game for eager audiences. The basic concept is highlighted by the tagline "Catch Em All" which is indeed the linear goal of the game. It appeals to the human desires of collecting things and owning pets. If either of these things appeal to you then there's a chance you might like Pokemon. Why everyone seems to be up in arms about this particular version of the game is that it's doing something ground breaking: It's getting people to go outside.

That was a lot of preamble for what I want to really talk about which is why it seems to be so polarizing. That is, people seem to either love it (and can't shut up about it) or hate it (with an unusual vigor). Below are some actual posts from my Facebook feed.

Missing from these are the actual posts from the enthusiasts which read something like a foreign language: "Fellow Valor I've captured a gym with my Dragonite and I can't wait for Saturday to go to a triple Pokestop to pop my Lures and Lucky Eggs." While I've done some mild posting about it I can't say I fall into either group. I play it and like it for the nostalgia factor but I realize the novelty will probably wear off at some point. I do love that the game is succeeding where the WiiFit and Kinect failed in that it is getting people to be active and social while gaming.

My message to Anti-Pokemon people: 

Pick a reason: It's too childish. I'm too edgy to like something popular. I've got better things to do. Maybe I even gave it a try and I just don't like it. Whatever the reason is for not liking or hating the game... that's perfectly fine, it's not meant for everyone.

My advice is to just wait it out. People will bore of it or people will get tired of walking around and they'll go back to being lion hunting experts, or ape captivity experts, or Robin Williams fans, or Muhammad Ali fans, or Michael Jackson fans, or Prince fans, or making my profile picture french or rainbow, or whatever cause I care about or color of dress I think it is. ...I'll save this rant for another time. If you're impatient to have it leave your feed there are actually apps and browser-plugins that can remove posts by keyword (say I don't want to see anything with "Kardashian" or "Trump" or "Pokemon" or "God" in it. I can filter that!). The Chrome extension I currently use is called Facebook Filter. It's one of Facebook's most requested features and it will most likely be released as a built in feature in an upcoming version.

If you think the game is a waste of time, I want to point out the irony of going to a time wasting website (Facebook) and wasting time expressing how much you hate that the game is wasting peoples time and that they should be doing something more constructive. If you are still bothered by it all, just step back and think about why it's bothering you. Something that helped me in the past for situations like this is realizing that: You can't change how people act. You can only change how you react.

My message to Pokemon-Go enthusiasts:

If you like it... Fuck. The. Haters. Don't let what other people think effect how much you enjoy something. Own it. Get dirty in it. Roll around in it. Who cares what people think about you if you're doing something you love?

This next part doesn't apply to all of you... but please remember to be respectful of others. Don't impede someones business, hold up traffic, or walk into a stroller because you are playing your game. You are a liaison of the gaming community now. Do us proud. Take a shower. Be polite. Learn some social skills. If the situation calls for you to be present to the moment then put away your phone.

Remember that you're never "too old" to play a video game. Shaw said it best: We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Be a man. Do the right thing!

Try to read the above title in your best Russel Peters voice. Just saw his stand up which was fantastic!

About a year ago when I was getting over my ex I was subscribed to a bunch of cheesy Instagram accounts. I'm talking about the ones that post motivational quotes over pictures of clouds and shit. Don't judge me... or do... whatever, it's the internet. Anyways, I'm not the type to post that stuff to Facebook or force my "discoveries" on other people... but I do think there was something therapeutic about reading them and trying to squeeze some meaning from it all. A coworker is going through a breakup and that was the first piece of advice I gave. Getting wisdom/inspiration/whatever-you-can from these quotes worked for me. Not everything will be super-impactful but maybe one or two can really resonate with your situation.

I've since unsubscribed from that stuff but I guess Instagram has an algorithm for suggesting pages and one of those quote-over-picture things came up on my feed. It was applicable to a situation that I'm in. The quote was “Your right actions might hurt someone, so if required apologize for your right actions, but don't stop taking right actions.” 

This quote resonates with me as a poker player because a lot about the game is about being okay with the results with the information given. The concept of "getting your money in good" is something I've learned to be happy with. Sure a bad beat stings... but as long as I made the right decision with the information in front of me then I can live with the results.

I think the context of the quote was about making progress in politics but similar to the relationship quotes - I was able to take it out of context to meld it to my situation. (I did this previously with a quote about Squeezing Oranges). I think the right actions quote is powerful and is about sticking to your convictions when you feel your course of action is correct. It doesn't feel good to hurt someone. It doesn't feel good being hurt. However, those bad feelings shouldn't stop you from taking the right course of action.