Pokémon GO is nothing but trouble for university professor
By Jack Gentes, Opinions Editor
It seems like everyone and their mother is playing Pokémon GO this summer. The insanely popular mobile game was released only a few weeks ago and has already become a global sensation. It has broken Japanese stock market records, been downloaded by an estimated 75 million people worldwide, and is bringing in around two million dollars a day.
Needless to say, Pokémon GO is a pretty big deal. Despite this, there is still a large number of people who don’t really know what the game actually consists of. Pokémon GO is an “augmented reality” game in which you physically walk around in the real world, which in turn moves your character around on a Google map type thing on your phone.
As you walk around, Pokémon will pop up on the map. When you walk to the Pokémon’s location, you can actually see them standing around through your phone’s camera; you can then catch them using Poké balls. There are some other gameplay aspects, but finding and catching Pokémon is the primary draw of the game.
With Pokémon GO mania reaching a fever pitch, those who have not gotten the game or have no interest in it at all are starting to receive harsh criticism from their local communities. One man who has experienced this criticism more than most is Dr. Samuel Oak, a professor of zoology at Kanto University. Dr. Oak spends a fair amount of his time around real life critters, and finds it rather silly that so many people are now more interested in digital critters. “It makes my job pretty difficult,” Dr. Oak said in an interview. “I have lots of summer camps come to the university to have me show them the various animals we have and talk to them about zoology, yet all the kids do while they are here is look at their phones and run off when one of those digital creatures appears.”
There happened to be a summer camp at the school when I interviewed Dr. Oak, and I asked Ashley, an 11-year-old whose favorite Pokémon is Pikachu, what she thought about her experience. “That old guy who was talking to us was really boring. He asked us about what kind of animals we have seen at our camp, and I told him that I found a mega rare Ponyta outside my cabin!” Ashley promptly ran off after this, saying something about there being a Tentacool in the fountain outside.
I also talked to the camp counselor who was there with the kids. “I’m really disappointed with the professor’s presentation; I don’t think any of the kids had fun. He doesn’t even play Pokémon GO either. I’m definitely going to tell the university about how bad today was.”
After the camp had left, I sat back down with Dr. Oak. “This is the third time this summer I’ve had to talk to a camp group and failed to teach them a single thing. I can’t stand this obsession with whatever this mobile game is.”
A few days after my time with Professor Oak, I received an email from him informing me that the university plans to take away his annual fall semester course called “Biodiversity in the Pacific Northwest” in order to make room for a philosophy course call “Pokémon GO and its Importance in Modern Society.”