In the span of less than a week, the mobile game Pokemon Go has replaced arguing with racist family members on Facebook as the Great American Pastime. Friends, family, celebrities, and car-struck people of all abruptly ended walks of life: They’ve all become enamored with magical cartoon poaching and tournament dog fighting.
Now you have to become the very best like no one ever was, lest the entirety of culture leave you behind like the last living speaker of a long-dead language. Since its launch, Pokemon Go has become bigger than Tinder, and nearly as problematic. It may not carry an official body count yet, but not for lack of trying. (It has, on at least one occasion, led a budding young Pokemaster to a "Gastly" find.)
How can you stay safe, informed, and competitive in this new brand of augmented-reality-social-touch-freemium-entertainment-appsperience? Here's just a few Poke-tips and Pointer-mons to further oversaturate your life with Pokemon, or as Mark Twain called it, "a good walk spoiled."
- From Go's initial loading screen to the top of every local and national news program for the next three months, you will be warned about the dangers of distracted walking. While it is true that some will perish in the coming year pursuing Jigglypuffs and Wigglytuffs into intersections across the world, you made it through the Candy Crush Crisis and the Angry Birds Culling of 2011. You got this. In fact, Poke-master Brock from the TV show never even opened his eyes in all 78 seasons of that goddamn show, and he's still rock-typing it among the living.
- No, Scott Seekins is not a Pokemon. Scott Seaking, however, is a rare, powerful Water-type Pokemon that all intrepid Poke-Masters should be on the lookout for. How can you tell the difference between the prized pocket-monster and the eccentric local fixture? The Pokemon will be uncomfortable with having a cellphone camera trained on it, whereas the artist will welcome the attention. If you are unsure whether you are faced with man or 'mon, just throw caution to the wind and a Pokeball at the quarry in question. You may not come across this chance again!
- After a month of sustained tragedy occupying your social media feed, you may feel a bit of emotional whiplash now that the world's focus has slid to adorable anime creature hunting. You may be feeling a bit guilty, but just know: The tragedies are still there waiting for you when this small island of trite distraction erodes away in the grand ocean of human suffering. Enjoy it while it lasts!
- Looking to get a few Wartortle-chortles from your friends via a screenshot of a Pokemon encounter in an unusual or otherwise inappropriate setting? That's great! Just err on the side of caution with the setting of your Snapchatted goofs. Snagging a Cubone at Mary Tyler-Moore's bronze feet? Lovely! Pursuing a Pidgey at a candlelight vigil? Your name, face, and it-seemed-funny-at-the-time screenshot are now the lead story on Gawker.
- Becoming the "Mayor" of a local business on Foursquare was a little embarrassing, even for those who sought out the title. Becoming the reigning Poke-champ of a locale requires much more effort and the title must be actively defended. Determine your capacity for shame carefully before you inherit the crown at your local bar, vape shop, or butt-problems clinic.
Hopefully we've supplied you with the edge that you'll need to become a Pokemon master, and not die like a total asshole in the process. Remember to stay safe, stay alert, and stay the hell away from Custom Cat Purrniture on University Avenue in St. Paul unless you want an ignominious death by Diglett.