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My Son And I Are Trying To Learn Pokémon Go In 2020

Photo: KotakuFour years ago, the entire population of planet Earth played Pokémon Go. Niantic’s mobile AR game fell perfectly into the timeline, with large-screened phones sporting decent cameras being far more affordable, and VR/AR being the buzziest of attention-grabbing bees. Also, it was actual magic: You could walk around your own local streets and fields, capturing Pokémon that appeared in the real world like a real actual Pokémon trainer! The only thing I was lacking in 2016 was a child old enough to play it with, and the faintest inkling of what a Pokémon was.I mean, I knew of them. Like Netflix or Logan Paul, you don’t get a choice over knowing that Pokémon exist. But I was turning 20 when the phenomenon first began; I fell between the cracks age-wise, and as such Pokémon forever more passed me by. Then, this summer vacation, my almost-six-year-old son discovered the cartoon series on Netflix.Screenshot: Pokemon.comIt was love at first binge. He immediately ditched his all-consuming relationship with Lego Ninjago, cruelly kicking it to the curb midway through his second viewing of all 70 bloody episodes. He began inhaling the PokéShow in every spare second of his day (look, it’s been a wet few weeks, and he’s been at home for most of the last six months—stop judging my parenting). The first thing I did was look up how many episodes this series would offer, got back up off the floor, and decided I had to do something, anything, to drag him away from the screen and out into the drizzly grey of the Great British summer. (It’s over one thousand. 1000 episodes. ONE THOUSAND.) But wait! Pokémon Go! The thing he now loves, but outdoors.I did have a brief look at Pokémon Go during its heyday. I didn’t understand any of it, but I got it: Flicking Poké Balls at AR cartoons hopping about in the real world, adding them to a collection, and then I presumed battling them against others in dimly lit parking lots. I thought optimistically, and indeed naively, that four years later the game would be one refined experience. Coming late to the game would mean everything’s ironed to perfection, ice rink-smooth, and the pay-gates left to swing in the breeze now the crowds have moved on. Aha-ha. Ha. No.G/O Media may get a commissionEven creating an account was an act of sheer bravery. To make an account for the boy, I had to make one for myself first, then follow a series of entirely inaccurate instructions to add his to mine. Just to give you an idea of just how miserably unwelcoming that whole experience was, when it asked me to select my date of birth, I had to tap backward month by month from the present day. While adequately catering for the all-important newborn market, this proved somewhat more galling for a man born in the 1970s. Just the 504 taps to get to a screen I could click on.Photo: KotakuPo
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