What Pokemon GO can teach us about relationships (and life?)

Aside from the obvious STD joke (Gotta catch ’em all?), I like to think that there is a fundamentally sound underlying message which we can learn from the game.For those of you who live under a rock, in a cave, on Mars and have done for the past two decades; Pokemon GO is an augmented reality game based on the hugely popular Pokemon franchise which has been going for years.

When you first start each of the games, you are a brand new trainer who is given the choice of three Pokemon, each of which has a strength and a weakness against the other types.

some of us hold out for pikachu though…

These creatures are then used to battle others in what effectively amounts to a very complex, story-driven game of rock-paper-scissors-lizard-Spock.

What GO has done is utilised the fact that everyone carries a phone around in their pocket to enable people to play in an Augmented Reality (known as AR), where they can see the Pokemon through their phone cameras and catch them in the ‘real world’.

Now, overnight this game has become the most popular game. Ever. Not difficult to see why.

But me being me, I decided to take this thing that should just be fun and extract some very loose lessons which can be applied to reality.

5) The real world is key.

We all know those people who live inside their own little bubble of reality. People who are online kinksters, occasionally people who are so entrenched in the community that you worry about their ability to function outside of it.

So the first lesson I am going to force into this round hole is that the integration of the game into the real world has been key to the success of Pokemon go. Learn to balance the two.

4) Pokemon’s appeal has always been in the cuteness.

The cuteness appeal of the creatures (if you haven’t seen the original 150, you should click here) contributed heavily to the game’s original success.

The light, fluffy aspect of everything up to and including the dragons was a draw for the target market. There were some darker themes (such as the fact that the game is essentially legalised dogfighting, there were criminal gangs attacking children (vis-a-vis team rocket) and the story behind mewtwo), but it was not something that the games focused on.

In the same line, we can draw from this into our own lives. Sometimes things can be dark and we can feel like everyone is against us, but if we assume the best intentions, if we can see the good in situations, we can usually get through.

3) Some people are idiots.

So once the UK got onto Pokemon GO, the servers started to struggle somewhat. People everywhere were told that they were unable to sign in, the game crashed at points and there was a little bit of upset about it.

Ultimately though, the people at Niantic (same name behind ‘ingress‘, I totally predicted pokemon back when I first started playing that) have scrambled to try and get the problems sorted asap. I’m predicting that they will have this running smoothly within a couple of weeks.

Lesson: in the beginning of a relationship, or a big project, things can get tough, but so long as everyone remains calm, you can sort any problem you face

2) Seriously, look out.

Reports have been flooding in of people getting so wrapped up in the game that they have caused themselves actual injury. One kid found a dead body.

You’d think that a game with a function built in to be able to see the world around you would decrease accidents, right? It’s gotten bad enough that the game starts out with a warning screen:

Looking out for what’s around you which could cause you harm is possibly my least strained metaphor here. From things at work which may damage your emotional and mental health to abusive relationships, be aware of the dangers you face.

(Being cautious doesn’t mean stop playing though.)

1) Catch ’em all.

Funny story, in the theme music for the to show, my youngest brother thought that the lyrics were ‘Gotta catch a ball’.

The biggest thread which has permeated all of the games is that you need to catch all of the Pokemon. You have an objective, a clearly stated way of achieving that goal and a whole world of resources which will help you to achieve said goal.

But the biggest thing? You can’t do it alone. Catching all the Pokemon in any of the games required teamwork. You had to trade and cooperate with others to have any chance of actually catching them all.

If it really needs explaining: you need to be able to work as part of a team to be able to achieve your goals. No one person can be the best without support from those around them.


Pokemon go is still not available in Japan, home place of the phenomenon. Lesson here? Remember where you came from and maybe call your parents?


And so we come to the end of other piece that makes you ask ‘wtf did I just read?’ If you’ve come this far, then please know that my next post will be about the Dunning-Kruger effect and why that means that we will always have community leaders who turn out to be abusers.

As ever, we have Patreon, Facebook and my personal Twitter. But for now, stay sexy and go catch ’em all.


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