Pokemon Go was just released on Android and Apple iOS, and responses to it are taking over the internet. It seems like everyone wants to become a Pokemon trainer and can now do it in the “real world.”
To be honest, it’s a pretty revolutionary concept when it comes to gaming. For the most part before, you were attached to a console in your parent’s basement or starring down at your crotch at your phone causing everyone to look strangely at you. With Pokemon Go, it melds the real world with the digital world and turns your environment into a Pokemon hunting and battle ground.
But herein lies the problem: How the hell are people going to experience the actual real world when they are so focused on the game version? And how will this effect the hardcore Pokemon trainers who attend festivals?
The person attached to the device is more worried about the reward they will receive on social media than the reward of the festival experience around them.
We’ll let you discover how the whole game actually works, but what we will say is that it encourages you to get out of the house for once. One of the things you have to do in the game to unlock some things is walk certain distances. For example, when gathering items at PokeStops, you may find eggs that will eventually hatch into Pokemon. To hatch these eggs, you need to walk around. The farther you have to walk, the rarer the Pokemon you’ll find inside. This feature would actually be great for festivals, because you would have to explore a lot of the grounds to collect your rare finds. Not to mention you can also find other Pokemon along the way.
The concern however, is one that has existed in the festival community for some time now — ever since we’ve been able to take photos and videos with our smart phones. The fact that you’re experiencing your experience through a digital device. We see it all the time. We hang out at the back of a crowd, and all we see are cell phones raised in the air taking snaps, photos, livecasts, tweets, etc., while the person attached to the device is more worried about the reward they will receive on social media than the reward of the festival experience around them.
Another concern is safety. If you are a regular reader of Dance Music Northwest, then you know that safety and harm reduction is our biggest concern. Ever since the launch of the new app, we have been waiting for the first news report of someone getting hit by a car while trying to catch a Pokemon. The app itself is intrinsically distracting. Now add that to the often treacherous terrain of festival grounds. There are bound to be at the very least some twisted ankles. Or worse, someone falling down the terrace steps at the Gorge, or down one of the sheer cliffs outside the venue. It’s a recipe for disaster.
But if none of that is of concern for you, here is something that you may value more than anything at a festival: your battery life. (Note: We do not condone valuing your battery life over your safety.) Yes, your battery will drain incredibly quick using this game. It uses all three of the biggest energy hogs on your phone: camera, screen, and GPS.
If you do decide to go hunting at a festival, be prepared to lose all communication with your rave family, because that is what will happen when your phone runs out of juice. We suggest bringing walkie talkies or external batteries by the fist-full in order to maintain your tech addiction.
All in all, it really comes down to personal responsibility. Gaming addiction is a real thing, and it can literally ruin your life. As with everything else we use at festivals, it’s important to know your limits and seek help when you need it. Our honest recommendation: Just put the phone away, and enjoy the show. Your Pokemon can wait. And you’ll thank yourself for it later.