Grandma Meets the Pokémon
Arriving at the gates of Beauvoir, I see one gate has a big (unexpected) banner advertising the tea and my author presentation of Blue-Eyed Doll Saturday morning. The other gate announces a Pokémon Go to be held Saturday evening, 6-10. The sign read “64 Lures Loaded to 8 Stops.” Not a clue what that means. But, I’d seen enough Pokémon-related posts on Facebook to know this is some kind of popular game.
At six o’clock, I wander to the front porch rocking chair to look at Mobile Bay, catch the nice breeze, and gaze down the road. On Highway 90 in Biloxi, one can look “down the road” as far as eyes can see. But now, that view is of cars waiting to turn into Beauvoir. The line doesn’t diminish for the next two hours! These are the Pokémon game-players. How many people go to Pokémon Go? Over a thousand. Now I’m curious.
I watch the families walking around the 500 acres with their cell phones. What are they doing? Finally a kid sits in a rocker next to me, eyes glued to her cell phone.
“What is it you’re doing?” I startled her. She hadn’t noticed I was there.
“Pokémon,” she answers, eyes still glued to cell phone.
“I’m not familiar with this game. What is the object?” (Game directions always begin with, The object of the game is…)
“Huh? What do you mean?”
“What is it you’re trying to accomplish?”
“How do you catch them?”
She shifts in her chair to share her cell phone with me. “Watch. See this (something something), see it wiggle, watch, there’s the (something.) That’s how you do it.”
“Thank you.” I hold my breath as she walks down the porch steps still looking at her cell phone.
My next instructor is a girl somewhere between 10 and 14. (She’s immature for 14, over- developed for ten.)
“Have you caught many Pokémon?” I ask. She stops rocking.
“Oh, yeah! I’m pretty good. I got about a hundred.”
“What will you do with them?” I can’t describe her incredulous look of what-planet-are-you-from look. I try again. “Will you trade them, sell them, collect them, eat them? What are they for?” (She’s not familiar with board games, obviously.) “Are you trying to get the most, or trying to take someone else’s?”
“Oh, no. I wouldn’t do that. I just have them.” Then she starts what sounds like a litany in Greek. “See?” she says. “That’s all there is.” She jumps up so abruptly, the rocking chair rocks by itself until the next gamer joins me.
This handsome little stranger, about eight, is bright and personable. He looks at me and greets me. “Good evening, ma’am. Does anyone sit here?” (Obviously a Southern boy.)
“How’s your game night going?” I ask, trying to sound like I know what he’s doing.
“Quite well, thank you. Look what I have.” He places his phone in front of me. I see a screen filled with orderly columns of little critters. Under them are the Greek-sounding words the other girl had spoken.
I venture onto thin ice. “Are these their names?”
“Yes.” He explains how he’d found them and captured them and now had them catalogued.
“What will you do with them now?” I ask. (Still stuck on that.)
“Hmm,” he says thoughtfully. “I’ll just have them.”
“How will you know when you have enough?” I ask.
“When is the game over?”
With a look of shock and horror, he announces, “It’s never over. Have a nice evening.” (This conversation is over!)
My daughter told me the positive parts of the game are 1) you have to move to play it. You can’t sit on the sofa. 2) Families can do it together. 3) It’s cheap. 4) No one loses, and no one gets hurt.
Okay. But, what’s the object of the game? (I heard that.)