Are you aged between 29 – 39? Do you have a smartphone? If the answer to both of these is yes, then thank you for taking the time to read this instead of playing.
Sorry? Did you just ask what am I playing??! Although not officially released in the UK yet, I’m playing a bizarre online augmented reality game called Pokemon Go!
Remember this little dude?
Now, imagine that you had a pokeball only it was your phone… and then you saw a version of Google maps that helped you locate your Pokemon…. and when you found one you saw it augmented over an image (using your phone camera) of where you actually are. And there you have it – the 90s teenager version of Ingress. Same premise, cuter graphics, more addictive because you’re collecting cute stuff.
The clever idea behind these augmented reality apps is that they encourage slothernly “teenagers” to walk & explore the local area (devs, the kids aren’t playing. Hello from the over 30s club). And it’s working. My Facebook feed is full of friends posting about going out walking just to capture more pixels… but what if you can’t?
I saw a number of tweets on launch day suggesting that the app is ableist as it encourages you to walk. I don’t wholly buy into that, but I am looking at ways that I can play without the walking bit…
1. Get out on wheels
Fair play to those who are walking, but some of us need a bit more help with mobility. As an alternative, I tested out playing whilst in the back of my work taxi on my way home. I captured a few, but drove past the training posts waaaay to quickly to use them (no. I didn’t ask to stop – I have a shred of dignity left). Potentially we could also start exploring with me in my wheelchair. This is a limited option locally as my ability to self propel on any camber or incline is crappy at best & the local pavements are so poorly maintained and cause enough jolting to take me out for days after a few minutes. (I did invite our local councillor to come for a walk with me… as yet no response). There are places however, with reasonably flat pavements without the cracks & dodgy drop curbs that we could explore.
2. Stick to places I go anyway
This sort of defeats the object. I would then be restricted to collecting at home (actually, not bad), at work (whooaah unprofessional), and at the “gym” (by gym, I mean pool where I bob about until the indignity of using the ducking stool has worn off, then sit in the warm bubbles massaging my back).
Oh, and Tesco. Maybe I’ll find a raikou in the knickers!
3. Invent an Accessible Life hack
Part of losing my mobility has been channelling all of my creativity into finding alternative ways to just do shit anyway.
Can’t type – shout at ipad. Can’t stand – sit & be louder. Can’t swim – strap float to chest and paddle like a broken turtle. Can’t walk – get wheels. Can’t run– wheelchair racing. You get the idea…
So, what about combining “trips out” for the kids with collecting? We make it a family game. We drive somewhere, I collect what I can, then challenge the kids to collect as many as they can…. the only down side to this being trusting the kids with my phone 🤔.
Ultimately, I’ve been waiting for this game for more moons than I cared to admit to. And OMFG I want the wearble! Just look at it! Loooooooook!
So after all the hype, I refuse to adult over this. I’m bloody well going to play. Even if I have to find a solution to this walking crap. I need to – I have a feeling they’ll be some “friendly competition” at EGX this year 🕹🖲🎮