Sunday, July 24, 2016

Meanwhile in Pokemon Land

My youngest son talked me into taking him on a Pokemon safari to Ellicott City, Maryland, a nice little historic downtown now full of restaurants, bars, and antique shops. Which has become the center of the Pokemon universe in this part of the world. The town has about ten Pokestops and on this summer Sunday lures had been planted around most of them, so the whole town was full of Pokemon. On a 97-degree afternoon, there were at least a hundred people walking back and forth along Main Street, their phones held out in front of them. Except for the toddler on that guy's hip, all of these people are playing Pokemon Go.

And these. To this must be added dozens more people in restaurants, bars, and coffee shops; the ice cream shop Ben and I went into was half full of Pokemon players.  One of the two gyms in town – a gym is a place where players can play something like king of the mountain, knocking each other off the perch – is within range of a popular bar, and it changed hands every two or three minutes, I suppose because the bar was full of players. It was downright weird to be in such a throng of people all doing the same thing, their phones putting them in touch with a virtual world that is quite similar for everyone in town.

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