Now the fad is allegedly over, let's look back at how it brought out the worst in us
It's the end of the world as we know it, and based on recent poll data, about zero of us feel fine. The U.K.'s breaking up with Europe, America's considering a used car salesman for president, and in to save the day with full-on distraction is Pokémon Go. At least it was supposed to save the day. Based on reports from an army of number crunchers summarized in a Bloomberg report, the game has shed a quarter of its audience in the past few weeks. Sure, that might just be the whole thing normalizing after an absurdly successful start, but that doesn't make for a sexy headline does it? It's done! Everyone's so over it.
So, in light of the a-poké-lypse, let's celebrate how the game has shown that we, the people, are all our own private dumpster fires. Proof that the end is nigh, we look at four ways Pokémon has demonstrated how polite society is on life support.
While Pokémon Go briefly beat out porn when it comes to Internet searches (hurray!), the flip side is that it's become the latest, unsavory excuse for dudes to snap Diglett-on-dong pics (boo!). Any excuse, eh fellas? The game has led us so far down the seedy rabbit hole that there are Poké-inspired GeekySexToys on Etsy, and niche erotica author Chuck Tingle released Pokébutt Go: Pounded by 'Em All for $3 on Amazon. He describes it as "4,000 words of sizzling human-on-gay Pokébutt action, including anal, blowjobs, rough sex, cream pies, and digital monster love." Yowser. A 1-star review sums it up perfectly: "Why?!?!??" Most concerning, though, is there's a PokéStop at the entrance of an California rehabilitation center that houses recovering sex offenders. A wicked oversight by Niantic.
Saving Grace: It's a minor win, but a win nonetheless, as New York banned registered sex offenders from playing Pokémon Go. Every other state: what are you waiting for?
Pokémon Go has generated a stark dose of buzz-killing headlines around the world. Like the no account ass-faces who left their two-year old at home in 90-degree heat while they went hunting for Pokémon. When the police called the father to locate him, his response was, "Whatever," and hung up. What. A. Dick. And since firearms have gone viral, check out the Toronto woman who shot a pellet gun at Go-ers assembled near her home. And of course Florida Man got involved, doling out frontier justice in swamplandia by firing shots at two Poké players in a car outside of his home. But the dramas and traumas extend beyond North American soil – in Australia one dipstick’s g'day went south when he drove into a school while throwing Poké balls, and in Guatemala a teenager was horrifically gunned down trying to collect 'em all. And tragedy struck in Melbourne, Australia as a 22-year old woman playing Pokémon Go, was killed in a stolen car hit-and-run, and dragged 70 meters down the road. Enough to make you retire your Pokédex.
Saving Grace: A pale victory, but the despicable wackos of Westboro Baptist Church have a Pokégym on their premises and it was controlled for a bit by a gay-friendly Clefairy named "LOVEISLOVE."
Not every Poké-issue garners headlines. Some skew more subtle. While countless white males will plead innocence/annoyance while missing the upcoming points, racism and sexism are playing their Poképart. For starters, consider that persons of color playing in America have to face facts that when they play Pokémon Go, they're at risk of being shot (as Omari Akil's viral Medium post explains, and as University of Iowa defensive end Faith Ekakitie found out when he was held at gunpoint by four police officers). And female Poké-players who are harassed on the street is a common occurrence (because, well, of course it is), and there's always consequences when you don't bathe in the horror of a catcall. Take U.K. journalist Robyn Vinter as a prime example. After writing about advances by men while she was playing Pokémon Go, she was urged to hang herself. This by people who hoped she'd be "raped to death" for rejecting "nice men." So, yeah.
Saving Grace: A random 40-year-old white guy ended up befriending two African-American guys, before cops intervened, thinking it was a drug deal. In the end, the cop ended up downloading the game, too.
Civility isn't exactly planet earth's strong point at the moment – in England, the Brexit vote has triggered racist attacks, and in America you can tune into any news channel to see a psychopathic carnival barker insult anyone who disagrees with him. So it shouldn't come as a surprise to hear that people feel emboldened to roll a few Poké balls at the Holocaust Museum and 9/11 Memorial. And, surprise! Eggs were thrown at players in Australia, because that’s more productive than calling the authorities. One man snared a Pidgey at the most appropriate time: while his wife was readying for a c-section, and one woman took it upon herself to breeze past a newsroom's weather report, head down and zombified. It's not that we haven't played Pokémon at some dumb times, but it's just proof that nothing, anymore is sacred.
Saving Grace: Amidst all the odd places people have gone to fill up their Pokédex, few are as feel-good as the one of American Louis Park who is on the front lines fighting ISIS. Get some.