It’s The Zombie Apocalypse!


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A diamond night!

If you’re a fan of The Walking Dead, and you thought the Zombie Apocalypse would go down with flesh eating creatures all around, spreading their contagion, while everyone scrambles for food and resources– you got it all wrong. The Zombie Apocalypse is here, and it’s a much kinder, gentler event. It involves folks with cell phones, generally held aloft, out for a walk. It does in fact seem to be very contagious, having spread faster in a few weeks, than anything I’ve seen in my 53 years. It has definitely had an impact on parking, where I live, and crowds, where I like to walk, but no food shortages, and no rotting flesh… so far.

But make no mistake: Pokemon go has taken over! If you are my age, you have probably wondered why there are a lot more “young people” out walking, in recent weeks. It’s not just the summer weather; it’s Pokemon Go. On Sunday, July 10th, the fourth day of release, my husband and I went for a walk along the boardwalk, where we live. We happen to live in one of the most beautiful places possible. The boardwalk extends out over the bay, and that night the sun left millions of diamonds sparkling on the water. We had noted that there wasn’t a single parking spot– unusual, but not unheard of, on a warm Sunday night. We also noticed that a lot of people had their phones out– a little stranger. When I noted that many of them were yelling things like: “I’ve got 490,” and “I just got a fairy,” I made the connection.

Four days before that, my son and a friend of his, had come home and enthusiastically told me they’d been out looking for Pokemons on their phones. I hadn’t heard my 20 year-old son mention Pokemon, since he packed up his card collection, ten years earlier. They explained that it was a new App for phones, which works with your GPS, to put you in a Pokemon world, using your surroundings as a backdrop. Imagine: you look through the camera on your phone screen and there’s a Pokemon character in the scene. Now, imagine that you touch the screen (I’m simplifying here), and you get points for catching these characters. That is Pokemon Go… over simplified, the very enthusiastic Pokemon zombies would tell you, and this is indeed an epidemic. On that Sunday, day four of the game’s release, after already having walked past at least 100 people, I began asking EVERY SINGLE person we passed, if they were playing Pokemon. Of the 100 people I asked, only 6 were not playing Pokemon Go!

Further evidence that this is the Zombie Apocalypse: just pause for a moment and watch these folks. They stagger around waving their phones in the air, or stare off at the landscape, with a feverish look: zombie. They cluster together, and non-players have to jump out of their way, zombie. They touch you, and show you their screen, and next thing you know, you’re playing too, zombies. I have seen folks run into the street, phone held high, entirely unaware that I almost killed them. I’ve seen single zombies as well as groups, hustling down the street, headed for the nearest “gym.” This is not an actual gym, where people work out, but a Pokemon Go site, where epic battles are fought, generally located in places that the rest of us would otherwise enjoy for… say, taking a walk at sunset.

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When I posted my initial findings on my Facebook page, as a humorous observation: “100 people asked, only 6 not playing Pokemon,” along with a photo of said diamond night, there was lots of criticism. “This makes me so sad,” said one friend. Others criticized the overuse of cell phones, and one more thing that takes young people out of the “here and now.” The consensus was that we are indeed going to hell in a hand basket. And that’s when something strange happened: I found myself defending the Zombie Apocalypse. Having avoided the trend in zombie-everything, for the past several years, this was more than a little surprising to me. Me, defending zombies? Me, defending more tech distractions, and smart phone use? Me defending a crowd mentality? Apparently, yes.
These folks are NOT playing Pokemon Go:

Let me explain. I am one of the first people to complain about what I perceive to be a lack of connectivity in society– with people texting, rather than phoning; Facebook being the main venue for many people when it comes to “friends,” and a sense of alienation that many people feel. We rely on smart phones for so many of our needs and connections. It’s nearly impossible to go out to a restaurant, concert, movie, (you name it), and not find a sea of screens lit up. If we have a question while out with friends, it’s a race to draw out phones and look up the answer. God forbid we simply remain uninformed for the course of a meal. In some circles, entire relationships are started, had, and ended online, not in person! While I love my smart phone, and use it for a lot, I resent the way these pervasive trends dominate so many social interactions, often isolating people, rather than connecting them. Throw in video gaming, where people are inside, and often playing with others, only through a screen, and… well, as you can see, there’s a lot to be potentially critical of.

However, Pokemon Go seems to be changing a lot of that. I have seen more young people outside, over the past two weeks, than I recall seeing in a very long time! Yes, they are playing a video game, but most of them are doing it with other people. They are playing and having fun, outside. Many of them are pausing to look up and take a photo of a sunset, which they might have otherwise missed. They are out in the parks; they are downtown getting a bite to eat, while they play; they are laughing and talking to each other. They are going places that they might not have gone, and as a side advantage: we saw a lot of dogs getting walked in the deal!

My husband noted, “some of these people don’t look like they’ve been outside in a while!” This was confirmed moments later, when one of the young women I questioned, told me just how much Pokemon Go has changed her usual routine. Her enthusiasm was contagious! “I’m a total Geek,” she stated matter of factly. “Normally, I’d go to work, and then I’d come home and be gaming. We are outdoors people, but this really makes it more fun!” She went on to tell me that she feels like this huge Pokemon Go bubble is her chance to not miss out. “I missed the whole Sega wave, and I’ve always wished I had been around for it. This gives me a chance to engage in something exciting and new!” I heard that a lot: “I’ve always been a geek, and now I feel like part of something! We’re all out here doing the same thing!” And, “It doesn’t matter where you come from, everyone’s having fun, doing the same thing!”

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A diamond night!

As with anything, there has been plenty of criticism as well. Pokemon Go made the news this past week, when it was revealed that Pokemon characters were showing up at The National Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC, and equally horrifying, at Auschwitz, itself. This is unacceptable, and doesn’t make for good publicity for the game. I believe it’s incumbent upon the makers of the game to show integrity, as players are going to play the game that is provided. Pokemon Go should not allow characters in places that are sacred or publicly important. Graveyards, holy sites, sacred lands of First Nations and Native Americans, National Memorials and museums, to name a few. As the game spreads around the world, it is appalling to imagine people playing the game at Hiroshima, in Japan; the Wailing Wall and the Dome of the Rock Mosque, in Israel; Pearl Harbor; the 9/11 Memorial; the Wounded Knee Massacre memorial; the Holocaust death camp memorials, and so many other important and sacred places. These are sacred spaces, not places to play games! And yet, that’s what has been happening. While we should all know better, again, I believe this is something the makers of the game must be responsible for.

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There are plenty who disagree with me, when I defend Pokemon Go, and the masses of people playing it. No doubt, I haven’t been happy about not finding a parking place for my favorite nightly walk, or the folks who don’t watch where they’re going, in search of Pokemon wins, but I have been equally amused and happy to see so many other people out there enjoying the same places I love. I have been happy to see parents playing with their kids, rather than checking their texts and Facebook, while their kids vie for attention. I have enjoyed watching kids explain the game to their parents and grandparents. However crazy it may appear, I’ve loved watching the moments of connection.

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And for now, that’s what I’m taking away from this craze: engagement. People of all ages, though mostly younger, are engaging. They’re talking to me, and happy to tell me about what they’re doing. They’re talking to each other, as they all try and get new high scores. They’re engaging in their communities and the out of doors. These zombies are not the brain dead creatures that I expected from a zombie apocalypse; they’re fun, and excited to spread more fun.

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The arrival of Pokemon Go is not all bad; this is not the apocalypse we planned for. These zombies are engaged; they’re having fun, and they’re making history! Whether we like it or not, this is probably where things are headed for many other things. If you missed the massive jump in Nintendo stock– which has now plummeted, as investors learned that Nintendo does not own Pokemon Go, there will be other companies finding ways to make our phones interactive, other ways to pull us in to a tech world. We may all look back and realize that this was just a sweet beginning to much crazier zombie apocalypse; but for now, we are all safe to either join in or carry on. It’s hard to deny the joy and playfulness here!

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Are you or someone you love a zombie? What are your thoughts on this incredible phenomenon? Share your thoughts in the comment section; I’m listening.

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About Dawn Quyle Landau

Mother, Writer, treasure hunter, aging red head, and sushi lover. This is my view on life, "Straight up, with a twist––" because life is too short to be subtle! Featured blogger for Huffington Post, and followed on Twitter by LeBron James– for reasons beyond my comprehension.
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22 Responses to It’s The Zombie Apocalypse!

  1. mamaheidi60 says:

    I enjoyed reading your description, but I still don’t really get it. I do understand more after reading your post.It sounds to me like the old fashioned scavenger hunts we used to have except this is all contained in a hand held device. Seems harmless and if it really increases connection, then cool. I haven’t been tempted. Yet…

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s funny, but I just told someone tonight, that it’s a lot like a scavenger hunt… on a really big level! I don’t think you need to crack this one, Mama Heidi; just enjoy your cluelessness for now. 😉

      Like

  2. I’m a fan. Not only is the game super fun, but I’ve walked about 40km more during the past week than I would’ve normally. That alone would be reason enough for me to give it the thumbs up; I could be imagining things, but I’m pretty sure my clothes are fitting looser already.

    And I’m digging how friendly it’s made everyone. People haven’t been this nice around Vancouver since the Olympics were in town!

    Like

    • I don’t play, myself, but I agree! I see so many more people out walking, skateboarding, even running! It looks fun, but I’ve been too busy to try it, and I’m not sure I want to fall down that rabbit hole, even if it looks like a fun and friendly place! I already spend too much time not doing what i need to do! 😉 BTW, we are looking at similar views… I’m just across the border, and look at Vancouver island each day! Thanks for taking the time to comment; it’s great to see your gravitar in my comment section!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Psychobabble says:

    After seeing all the hype on the news, I downloaded the game just to see what the fuss was all about. While I’m not super gung-ho about it after playing a few times, I can definitely see the appeal and I think it’s GREAT that it’s getting people outdoors, active, and social. As with any game, it can be used for good or for evil (or stupidity as the case may be) and I think everything should be in moderation. Gotta know when to put the phones down, people.

    In my family, we’ve done a lot of geocaching, and I really love this similar activity! I think I like it more because we’re finding actual treasures in the physical world, hidden by people like you and me. If you haven’t heard of it, I suggest you check that out, too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great to hear from you M; it’s been ages! My nephew and I did some geocaching, and I really found it to be fun and interesting. I’m not willing to try Pokemon yet; I’ve already got too many things keeping me from too many other things! 😉 Admittedly, it does look fun though! Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Cathy Ulrich says:

    Great post, Dawn. And thanks for the explanation. I have certainly heard of it, but haven’t tried it. Like you, I have more to do than I have time, so I’m not really tempted, but is sounds like a way to get people out and walking, which is a really good thing! I’ve missed your posts, my friend. Nice to see you!

    Like

    • It’s so good to be blogging at all; I’ve SO missed the connections! My daughter, SIL and grandbaby are here for their US wedding, and I barely have time to breathe, let alone keep up with writing… though that’s what I miss the most! Writing. It’s so nice to wake up and see you here. 🙂

      Yes, the walking is a real advantage! In an earlier comment, one reader noted that she’s walked about 40km more per week; THAT is something worthwhile!

      Like

  5. Mike Lince says:

    If the Pokemon Go app gets people off their butts, I guess that is a plus. This craze just makes me crave the solitude of a mountain trail, or perhaps just someplace without cell reception. I must be getting old. – Mike

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My son put the app on his iPad, and went out to the yard. It was then that he realized you need a connection of some sort to play. He doesn’t have a cell phone, doesn’t need one, and doesn’t really want one yet. So, it ended as quickly as it started in our household. But we’ve been outside enjoying the amazing weather lately.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Add me to the clueless list. I was vaguely aware of it and so not interested I didn’t pursue. Seems harmless.. however it will take me a lot to convince me it’s the way to get people outside. So much to enjoy without technology. Happy to hike or bike without my phone!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: It’s The Zombie Apocalypse! | TALES FROM THE MOTHERLAND – eyewitness

  9. sara says:

    Hullo Dawn, I know about it, but being a little isolated in an area where there is no mobile phone reception, means that my kids haven’t really had many options to play. I don’t mind 😊 it’s fascinating how quickly it’s taken off. As for the zombie reference, I think there is a very good reason why our culture is fascinated by them. The zombie is the shadow side of unconsciousness, and boy, there are many people who are deeply asleep.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love how your mind works, Sara… that last line is perfect! It’s hard to imagine a place where there is no mobile service, or one that you live in! Here, it’s only places we go, to specifically get away from connection (mountains, hiking, etc)… it just makes my fantasies about where you live, that much better! 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to read and comment; it’s always great to hear from you!

      Like

      • sara says:

        I know, other people pay money to have the kind of experience we have daily :). Isn’t that always the way though – I pay money to visit the city and have that kind of experience, and city people pay money to escape the bustle. I guess it’s about gratitude and knowing what you need.
        PS We have great wifi, which I would never be without 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Absolutely agree, Dawn. I hear so much about the negatives of Pokemon-Go it’s great to read your article about the positives. We have a Pokemon stop across the road from our house and I see people (most aren’t kids) talking to each other, showing each other their catches, and having great conversations with people they’ve never met before. I’m told by players that it’s a vibrant community out there, too. My husband doesn’t share my view, though. He got very indignant when “an ugly creature” sat on his shoulder while he was trying to read the paper. My daughter caught a photo of them and we all think it’s hilarious.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That cracks me up, Karen! I love those photos! Admittedly, there are things about all of this that are less than ideal, and ironically, I’m at complete odds with my daughter (26), who thinks this is just horrible. It’s all very funny to me… and interesting to watch!

      Liked by 1 person

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