Loads of people will tell you that they’ve been die-hard Pokémon fans since they were just kids with a Gameboy, and that the release of the Pokémon GO app has been the best thing that’s happened to them this year bar Melania Trump’s recital.
Loads of people will tell you they’ve never heard of Pokémon and that this is the most annoying thing that’s happened to them this year bar Brexit.
Fewer people, like myself, will admit that they’d hardly heard of Pokémon bar collecting those plastic things off of chip packets back in the day, but think that it’s the best thing that’s happened to them this year.
I knew Pokémon were a thing a few weeks ago, but that was basically the reach of my knowledge. They were a thing, yes, that I used to collect and trade based on my lunch-box-treats. I was definitely more excited about the chips, though. I couldn’t tell you where they came from though or why people were collecting them. Were they from a TV show? A movie? A game? All of the above? Which came first? Is it a bit chicken-and-egg-esque? Who knew? Not me.
Then, one morning, a bunch of my friends were going to look for Pokémon at Zoo Lake and I thought “ag, why not”. It’s now two weeks in. I go on regular Pokémon excursions, I sit next to random people who have Pokémon lures, a large portion of my daily schedule is structured around making sure my phone has enough battery to check into gyms and check points when need be, and I was stopped the other day by a friend and asked to “stop sharing so much Pokémon stuff on Facebook” as it was “clogging up their newsfeed” (Gah! The nerve!)
I’m not going to even try give “tricks and hacks”, I’m not remotely qualified enough. Not to mention, if I actually knew some tricks and/or hacks I may not have wasted 5 Pokéballs trying to catch a Caterpie with CP10 yesterday (you’ll either know straight away that this is a disgrace, or you’re just going to have to accept that you don’t understand).
Instead, I’m going to give you some key tips on WHAT NOT TO DO around Pokéfans if you’re only recently converted, so that you don’t make your noob status public too quickly.
- Get your terminology right
“Pokémon”, as I’m very regularly reminded, is already a plural. Do not call them “Pokémons”. One fish, two fish. One Pokémon, two Pokémon. “How many Pokémons do you have?” is a question worth avoiding unless you’re going to ask it properly.
You “evolve” Pokémon, you do not “upgrade” them. For instance, the following sentence was received by a gasp of despair when I allowed it to escape from my mouth: “How many Pokémons have you upgraded?” While the process of evolving them is essentially an upgrade, “IT IS JUST NOT WHAT IT IS CALLED, MEG”.
- If you don’t know the name of a Pokémon, don’t wing it
See, Pokémon are based on real animals/things (or something to that effect, I believe). However, their names are rarely as simple as what they look like. Try avoid the impulse to shout out “I caught a (insert names to come)” until you know what they’re actually called:
- Try avoid excitement about catching Pokémon
I get it – it’s bloody exciting to catch something. Full stop. However, as I learnt when I ran with unrivalled enthusiasm across Rosebank Mall to tell my friends I hatched a Pikachu out of my 10km egg, it turns out that’s actually not a very impressive thing to hatch considering you walked 10km to get it.
So, what I’d suggest is that you just casually say the name of what you’ve caught and wait for a response. This ensures you look cool, regardless of its status. If everyone shrugs or says “shem”, you just nod and be childishly happy on the inside. If everyone is like OMG NO WAYS, then you give a coy smile and pretend your casual approach was because you catch cool stuff all the time… and then you be childishly happy on the inside.
I suspect hearing about Pokémon GO when you’ve never played it is somewhat like when you try describe Game of Thrones to someone who’s never watched it. I mean, I get that it must sound absurd. Imagine a situation in which you’re a Jabronie who has never seen GOT, and you catch the end of a conversation that involves the words: “wolves, bastards, magic, forest children, zigzags, dragons and holding doors”. You’re bound to feel something along the lines of “pick a genre”, if not “that’s not really my thing”. With this said, anyone who’s watched it knows that it’s much more than that, and it’s almost everyone’s thing.
So, if you’re holding back from playing Pokémon GO because you heard someone jump with glee about hatching their eggs in conjunction with shouting profanities as they were faced with another Zubat, and think they might be clinically insane and/or an 11-year-old trapped in a 21-year-old’s body – think again.