Free-Range Kids

#PokeLives Matter

PokemonGo isn't making people less safe. It's bringing people together.


Dean Hanson/Albuquerque Journal

The white cop/African American male stories that make it to the news are usually awful. And then there's this one, that I reported in today's New York Post:

Aaron Burrell and his three friends took the N train to its last stop in Brooklyn Tuesdaynight.

It was 3 a.m., and they were playing the game that is sweeping the country, Pokémon Go. They roamed the streets in a growing group of about 20 African Americans, whites and Mexicans, almost all male, almost all in their 20s and 30s.

And then a black, unmarked car pulled up.

The window rolled down to reveal four shiny badges on four Caucasian cops. The driver looked at Burrell — a 26-year-old Harlem resident who recently lost his job at Dollar Tree — and informed him, "There's a Pikachu two blocks up near the school."

A Pikachu!

The group thanked the cops and went running off to find it.

I spent Tuesday chasing Pokémon and meeting more people beyond my boring demographic than I would at a rave. While the warning class keeps coming up with the terrible ways predators with Pokemon can lure kiddies to their doom, I found that:

…even odder than this outrageously popular game is the way it is knitting the city, and maybe humanity, back together. That's because you walk around swapping sightings of non-existent creatures with people with whom you have non-existent relationships — strangers.

The game brought me and a gaggle of other folks together. We were all standing on the same corner a few blocks south of Union Square, drawn there by a virtual "gym." …

For the rest of Tuesday I drifted through the city, capturing Pokémon and striking up conversations with friends and strangers as easily as if the Yankees were in the World Series. "You have to spin this part," someone would explain. "Should I trade this guy in?" someone else would ask.

Fact is, this game is getting everyone out of the house and starting conversations we'd never had.

Some of the strangers strike up friendships, or even partnerships. One guy I met sells beauty products and he'd met someone else who does this online. They might work together. Another guy told me about a long conversation he'd had with someone who seemed to be on the Autism spectrum. With something they both loved to talk about, they did. 

And then about 11 at night I was on a subway talking to a friend about the game and another guy joined in:

Robert Williams, 28, a tech worker I started chatting with, told me he'd stumbled on a group of young people in Soho at 2 a.m., and joined them in a Pokémon hunt. "The interaction was amazing. Indescribable, really."

I asked him to describe it anyway.

"Me and my friends, we were very riled up and angry about everything going on in the media, the violence," said Williams, who is African American. "But then that stopped the moment this came out."

Just like Burrell, Williams found himself spontaneously playing the game with a couple of cops. "Something as innocent as this allows everyone to connect," he said.

The stories in the media are about the worst of everything: Worst crimes, worst hate, worst potential crimes, even, when no child has actually been harmed in the making of this phenom.  

What you don't hear about is how easy it is to change the narrative when people start playing. It sounds just too simple. But maybe it is simple.

NEXT: In Moving Speech, GOP Sen. Tim Scott Describes Being Racially Profiled

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  1. It is, however, making adults stupider.

    1. It’s another fad that American sheep-geeks immerse themselves in because they are told to.

      And it’s f*cking stupid.

      1. Kind of like ____________ lives matter.

        1. #PikachuLivesMatter

      2. Correct. The only proper escapism is the one I agree with!!

      3. Timbo you strike me as one who lacks dignity and honor.

      4. JFC. People enjoy different things. Stop acting like a progressive.

    2. You’re forgetting that 30 year old are no longer adults in America. At best, they might qualify as “adult children”.

      1. A short video of players in New York more or less confirms that, with one guy aware of it.

        1. Man, I really should start playing this thing…

  2. I played this game over two lunch breaks. I’m over it now.

    1. [Points finger at Thom]


  3. It is bringing people together right into my cleverly designed zombie traps.

  4. Fact is, this game is getting everyone out of the house and starting conversations we’d never had.

    But it’s mostly stuff like: “There’s a Pikachu two blocks up near the school.” “Thanks.”

    1. Yeah, when Lenore says, I spent Tuesday chasing Pok?mon and meeting more people beyond my boring demographic than I would at a rave. I don’t feel as much jealousy about Pokemon as I do pity for her demographic and the raves they throw.

  5. Hopefully they’re fully monetizing this universal goodwill.

    1. No shit. Good on Nintendo for draining the accounts of zombie dorks.

      1. Nobody is exactly sure what percentage Nintendo owns of this game, but it isn’t a ton.

    2. Hopefully they’re utilizing it to map American soil for the invasion. Remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki!

  6. I’m trying to figure out how to profit from this. I have some ideas.

    1. Some chick in NY is charging $20 an hour to play for others.

  7. a long conversation he’d had with someone who seemed to be on the Autism spectrum

    I mean I’m all for trying new experiences, but this does not sound like a good time.

    1. Then why come to this place?

      1. For the stories.

  8. If Pokemon can bring people together, just imagine what we would have if we legalized cock fighting again.

    Also, Vince McMahon is being haunted by the ghost of Chris Benoit.

    1. These euphemisms….

    2. Or public executions.

  9. The game is quite ingenious. I played Pok?mon as a kiddie back in the 90s but sort of lost interest as I started highschool. The individuality factor is genuine and it definitely appeals to libertarian-oriented people IMO.

    The problem is that it has no trading and one-on-one battling, and it only features the original 150 Pok?mon. I don’t particularly care for the nostalgia, just add more variety.

    1. “The problem is that it has no trading and one-on-one battling, and it only features the original 150 Pok?mon. I don’t particularly care for the nostalgia, just add more variety.”

      I’m more interested in what kind of ~potential~ this has. They did NOT expect this game to be as popular as it is, so it should be interested to see what they will do in the future now knowing that there’s a market for this. There’s lots of potential for what they could do in the future.

      1. Indeed. This is the epitome of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. Libertarians in general should be at least curious about what happens in the future.

      2. Oh, yes. This is a very interesting intersection of the virtual and material worlds. Who knows what possibilities lie in pursuing this?

      3. They’ve hinted that trading will be allowed in the future. I’m assuming battles will eventually be allowed, too.

  10. The joyous good time of sprinting across the street from the church parking lot you were loitering in to catch the Drowzee in the median with strangers. That was me last night.

  11. Go forth, and have your fun, “gaming” and whatnot.

    The world would be boring as fuck if everybody were just like me.

  12. This is a hell of a lot of words, for a masturbation euphemism.

  13. It’s still stupid.

  14. I get paid 98 bucks every hour for work at home on my laptop. I never thought I’d be able to do it but my good friend is earning 17k /monthly by doing this job and she showed me how. Try it out on following website….

    See Her++++++++++++

  15. I’m all for it, despite the problems its causing at my hospital. People are having fun with it, which is all the justification any activity needs.

    The only refinement I can see, and I have no idea how this could be done, would be to allow property owners to prohibit gyms and other PokemonGo nodes or sites or whatever, on their property.

    Honestly, its not even really a violation of their property rights, as far as I can tell, to have PokemonGo stuff “on” their property. Pokemon Inc isn’t the one trespassing or violating rules and regs; its the players. But PokemonGo definitely creates what might almost be an attractive nuisance, depending on context.

    1. Unless it a large warehouse, industrial area, or a house on a large piece of land, nobody should have a problem with getting to the gyms and Pokestops without going on private property. I don’t understand all these reports of people going into private property.

  16. Hey. You deleted my comment? That’s never happened here before.

  17. #PokeSaladsMatter

  18. Showbox Download, Showbox Apk Download, Showbox App Download: Nowadays technology has brought a lot of changes in our lives, especially in education and communication.

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