My experience with Pokémon or "pocket monsters", is brief. There was an animated series a while back that featured this kid with a funny name, bad hair and a girl's voice. He would wander around with his friends catching Pokémon, training them and then using them to battle other people's monsters in an arena. Think "the NFL without cheerleaders". Or point.
I don't think I was ever able to sit through an entire annoying episode, but a friend of mine from college had a son who was a Pokémon enthusiast who gave me one of his cards. I still have it. Even though the catch phrase was "Gotta catch 'em all", I am quite content with just the one.
A few years back, I had a tremendous insight into the Pokémon phenomenon... If only I could remember what it was! It was truly breathtaking! You would have been impressed. However a couple of more recent thoughts came to mind, so I thought I'd share them with you before they too, are gone with the wind!
A lot of TV stations like to list their children's programming, whatever it is, as "educational". What lessons might a small child learn from Pokémon?
First and foremost I think is "greed". Don't be content with what you have, or "enough", but "you gotta catch 'em ALL!" How else are you going to be the best you can be if you don't have a complete set??
Second thing, other than learning to be content with a bad haircut, is cruelty to animals. You have this ball, a little bigger than a baseball, a little smaller than a softball, and you catch your Pokémon and put it inside this ball. Now some Pokémon may be only the size of your average alley cat, but some are as large as a stegosaurus! And you're going to keep up to six of them in a ball that fits in your hand?? It's cramped and dark (there are no windows) and possibly very smelly. Are there any regulations on how often you have to hose those things out? Where is PETA in all this?? The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Pokémon, the SPCP?
And perhaps worse, is it encourages an unrealistic view of animal behavior. According to the story, you catch the monsters and then you teach them to obey you. Really? You captured me so I have to obey you? On what planet would that work? You keep me in a dark, cramped, smelly place no bigger than a beer koozie, and as soon as you push the button to let me out, I'm going to go for the jugular! If you're quick enough, you can push the button to put me back in, but the very next time you let me out, it's rinse and repeat. I got nothin' to do inside that ball other than to plot how I'm going to rip your head off and smash your damned ball with it! Train me??
Good luck with that!
The game Pokémon Go does, however, teach real life lessons. For example, it has taught some of its players the meaning of "criminal trespass". Others have learned "blind obedience" when they climbed over a fence, with a warning sign to the effect of "Don't climb over this fence, or you'll fall off a cliff", after which they promptly fell off a cliff.
People with their noses in the game are walking into traffic and accruing all sorts of injuries to their person. They now know how to find the emergency room, what their insurance deductible is and how many hits their friends can get on the YouTube videos of them walking into inanimate objects.
But, I believe there are military applications. The Obama administration, in the spirit of Fast and Furious, is dropping iPhone 6's into ISIS occupied territories. Some of the best monsters, I am told, can be found inside specially marked minefields.
"Gotta catch 'em all!"