On Saturday, I took the family to the Summer Festival of the Arts at Youngstown State University.
We made crafts, listened to JD Eicher & the Goodnights, and tried (successfully) to keep our 3 year-old from destroying low-lying art.
This was great, but most of my time on campus was spent looking for Pokemon, playing the augmented reality, mobile game app, Pokemon Go.
Pokemon are mythical, animal-like creatures. Launched as a video game, Pokemon spawned a popular animated TV franchise and other merchandise. You can’t walk through our local Target without passing the Pokemon card display.
The point of the game is to use your Pokeball to “catch” and nurture Pokemon so they can battle other Pokemon.
What surprised me about playing Pokemon Go on campus were the number of adults playing the game. Like me, they were looking at their phones, swiping at imaginary Pokemon balls (at least I had kids with me).
This made me wonder what Pokemon trainer, Ash Ketchum, the franchise’s protagonist, would think of the new game.
Assuming he was in his teens when Pokemon was launched in 1995, Ketchum would be in his mid-30s by now.
Just for fun, I wrote a satirical feature for my column. I hope you enjoy:
KANTO REGION, OHIO
At 35, famed trainer Ash Ketchum reflects on a life of catching and training Pokemon.
Now married with four children, Ketchum said, “Had I known I was going to be bald at 23, I would’ve taken my hat off more often. I had great hair.”
Ketchum no longer resembles the thin, animated character who appeared in video games, on TV and film.
“I’ve put on a little weight,” Ketchum said, patting his large belly. “Had a few too many Pallet Town Tepig dogs over the years.”
Now a retired gym leader in Mineral Ridge, he lives in a shack just outside the Johto region.
“Every kid my age thought we’d catch ‘em all,” Ketchum said, referring to the signature slogan from the series. “That’s the big lie promulgated by the man.”
When asked about the new Pokemon Go app, Ketchum just shrugged.
“No one will every ‘catch ’em all,’” he added with air quotes for emphasis. “They keep making more. It’s impossible.”
Ketchum now spends his days guiding his children through the Pokemon world.
“No one ever tells you how much care and attention these little monsters need,” Ketchum said, being careful to refer to the Pokemon creatures and not his children.
“Charmander is the worst,” Ketchum added. “Little guy is impossible to house train, little flaming poops everywhere. It’s awful to clean up.”
Pokemon Go is available for free for iOS and Android devices.
Dr. Adam C. Earnheardt is associate professor and chair of the department of communication at Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, USA. He researches and writes about social media and technology, sports and fans.