Darren Weeks

The Real Monsters of Pokémon Go

Darren Weeks
Coalition to Govern America
July 11, 2016

As if people need another reason to wander around staring at their phones all of the time, Japanese video game maker, Nintendo, has come out with yet another one. The latest Pokémon craze is a video game for smart phones which has exploded onto the scene. It has people chasing down and doing battle with little virtual monsters that they can only see with their smart phones.

Pokémon goes back to the 1990's, but has been revitalized by this new app. Vox explains:

The Pokémon games take place in a world populated by exotic, powerful monsters — they can look like rats, snakes, dragons, dinosaurs, birds, eggs, trees, and even swords. In this world, people called “trainers” travel around the globe to tame these creatures and, in an ethically questionable manner, use them to fight against each other.

The game itself is free, which makes it easy to download and get started playing. However, there are “in app” purchases offered, which is netting Nintendo and their partners a lot of cash.

The app is currently the most downloaded app in Google Play, the app store for Android. I first heard of it when my boss mentioned it to me. I then saw the following story, which was the kicker on Nightly Business Report for July 11th.



CBS reported today:

Stock in Nintendo soared 25 percent on Monday. In just days, the value of the Japanese company has grown $9 billion.

The reason: a wildly-popular new game app that's brought Pokémon to life.

It is not my intention to be a "stick in the mud", but there is something really creepy about adults and youngsters alike, running around chasing fictional figures and doing battle with them. Doesn't society have better, more important things to do with their time than live in a fictional, "augmented reality"? Apparently not.

CBS continues:

They walk among us, staring at their phones, searching for mythical creatures first made popular in the 90s. ... In its first day of release, the game earned Nintendo an estimated $3.9 to $4.9 million. Not bad for a free app. The revenues come from in-game purchases that help players capture the various characters. Using something called augmented reality, Pokémon GO takes the classic 90s video game into the real world. By tapping into your smartphone's GPS, clock and camera, Pikachu and 150 of his little friends appear in offices, on city streets, or even in New York's Central Park. "Its really taken off. Its come out of nowhere," said CNET senior editor Dan Ackerman. "So it's kind of giving you the ability to not just sit there on your couch and play a game, but actually get up and go places."

“Going places”... yes, like to Hell in a hand basket.

The current craze reminds me of the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game controversies when I was growing up. There were stories of some young people, getting so absorbed into the game, they slipped into psychosis — lacking the ability of separating the fictional world from reality. There were even allegations of suicide, relating to the game.

It seems that people can deal with reality less and less, and are turning to entirely fictional worlds, or virtual realities where the real is blended with the pretend. It all has a certain creepy and surreal feel to it.



Perhaps, another reason I find this game disturbing, is that it appears to be yet another case of life imitating art.

I had never watched Star Trek until I was forced to switch the commercial breaks in the syndicated show when I worked in Master Control for WILX-TV in Lansing, Michigan back in the 1990s. Another engineer had warned me that many people had become roped in by the show that had never watched it prior to sitting down in that chair. As I sat, night after night, switching the local commercial breaks in and out of the show, I have to admit that the show roped me in too.

Looking back now, decades later, I believe the creator of the show, Gene Roddenberry, was either a prophet of sorts, or perhaps a new world order insider. The series portrayed technology that I have since watched evolve from the world of science fiction to the world of science reality. For example, the "communicators" of Star Trek have become today's cell phones. The computer on the ship could be asked questions, or given commands and it would respond in kind. Today's smart phones, Apple's Siri, OK Google for Android, Amazon's Echo, and Samsung's S-Voice all have that capability, and there are most-certainly other ones that I am leaving out. 3-D printing has come along in recent years. It is a lot like the replicators, in the sense that you can create anything you want from them. Suffice it to say, through the years, Star Trek has proved to be more than a show. It was a glimpse into what the Establishment had in store for all of us.

One of the episodes in the Star Trek series, The Next Generation, was called The Game. Wikipedia offers an accurate description of this episode.

The episode opens with William Riker visiting Risa and being introduced to a video game by Etana Jol, a Ktarian woman with whom he has become romantically involved during his vacation on the pleasure planet. Riker, upon his return to the Enterprise, distributes replicated copies of the game to the crew of the starship.

Cadet Wesley Crusher, on vacation from Starfleet Academy, is visiting the Enterprise and notices everyone playing the game (and trying to convince him to play as well). Doctor Beverly Crusher, Wesley's mother, secretly switches off Lieutenant Commander Data and sabotages his circuits, because he would be immune to the game's addictive properties—namely, the game's ability to addict people who play it by stimulating the pleasure centers of their brains when they successfully complete each level.

Wesley reports to Captain Jean-Luc Picard his suspicions that the game is dangerous. However, Picard is shown (to the audience) afterwards to already be addicted. Eventually, Wesley and his new girlfriend, Ensign Robin Lefler (played by Ashley Judd), are the only people on the ship who have yet to become addicted to the game. Although they briefly manage to evade detection by pretending to play nonfunctional mock-ups, they are eventually forced by the crew to submit themselves to the genuine article.

At the conclusion of the episode, Data (having been examined and repaired by Wesley and Ensign Lefler before they were forced to submit to the game) frees the rest of the crew from their mind-controlled state by flashing pulses of light in their faces from a handheld lamp. The crew is then able to discern the purpose of the game: It rendered them extremely susceptible to the power of suggestion, compelling them to aid the games' creators—the Ktarians—in an attempt to take control of the Enterprise (and eventually the Federation).

Hence, the premise of the episode is that an enemy infiltrates the people with a technological "game", and utilizes it to stimulate the pleasure centers of their brains so that they are immediately addicted. Then, they become oblivious or indifferent to the fact that they are being overthrown and conquered.

Today, we have people walking into lamp posts on the streets, or onto subway rail tracks, or into fountains at the mall — all because they are unable to take their eyes off of their electronic devices. They have begun chasing little monsters around their cities, towns, states, and maybe even the country to do battle with fictional characters that only exist within the ones and zeros of computer code.

There is an enemy that works night and day to destroy their country, their wealth, and ultimately their lives. It has taken much from them already. Unlike the monsters of Pokémon, this monster is very real. It is working to hammer the final nail into the coffin of their liberty. However, they are oblivious and indifferent. The pleasure centers of their brains are stimulated by the entertainment technologies of their controllers. They are extremely susceptible to the power of suggestion. The game is on, and they are under mind control. What will it take to break the trance before it's "game over" for all of us?


 Darren Weeks hosts Govern America, Saturdays 11AM to 2PM Eastern time. You can listen live here. Permission is granted to repost this article (The Real Monsters of Pokémon Go) with attribution to the author and a link to the source.

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