Pokémon GO: An Interview with a Veteran and a Novice by LoveisLove Clefairy
Hello all you pretty, loving, queer Poké fans! This is LoveisLove Clefairy from Kansas bringing you a totally cute conversation between Trish McNeely, who has known us for...oh, 20 years or so, and Brian Olsen, a novice, and a handsome one, if you don’t mind me saying! Helping us find out how playing our newest game, Pokémon GO can be kind of different when played by a dedicated fan from southern Appalachia, and a beautiful man (he so cuuute!) from the urban jungle of the Bronx, who has only recently discovered the beauty, cuteness, wonder and joy of our world!
Country Girl Veteran Name: Trish McNeely Playing in: Johnson City,TN Playing Time: 20 Years Age: 30
City Boy Noob Name: Brian Olsen Playing in: New York, NY Playing Time: 4 days Age: 43
So, you pretty human beings, what is it like playing Pokémon GO — for you Trishy (can I call you Trishy?), who has hung out with us for 20 years (bless your heart!) and for you Brian, who had no prior experience at all?
Trish: Oh Loveislove, of course you can call me Trishy! I remember watching the Pokémon series in the 90s. As a junior high student, I was so envious of Ash Ketchum and his crew getting to travel around the world catching those adorable creatures (much like yourself!). I wished I could forget about my angsty junior high experience and skip school altogether to travel the world, without adult supervision, to find Pokémon, train them, meet new people, and compete in all the Gyms. Pokémon GO has created an experience that is as close as possible to my childhood Pokémon dream and I love it! I strapped on my pack this weekend and searched my local downtown. I found friends I hadn't seen in a while, and made new ones who were taking advantage of the many Poké Stops and using lures to attract more Pokémon for everyone to catch!
Brian: LoveisLove, I’m blushing! If I believed in long-distance relationships, I would totally ask you out. Anyway, being a novice wasn’t much of a problem at first. And when I say novice, I mean it. I have never played a Pokémon game or watched a Pokémon cartoon in my life. I know what Pikachu looks like and that’s about it. It took me a little while to figure out the game mechanism. I spent a few minutes wondering what the heck a Poké Stop was, and what I was supposed to do with it, before giving up and Googling it. But I got the basics down pretty quickly, and as soon as I left my apartment I was happily hunting. It was on my second day, when I hit level five and went to a Gym for the first time, that I got lost. I had no idea if there were any differences between the three teams, but I was forced to pick one then and there. I went with red just because it was the color of the Gym I was at. And battling is a little daunting. I know there are differences between the Pokémons’ fighting styles, but it’s all a bit too complicated for me at this point. Flying versus poison, fire versus bug, paper towel versus dump truck, I’m lost. It’s like the world’s most complicated game of rock-paper-scissors. For now, I’m just really enjoying hunting and collecting. I’m holding off on hitting the Gym until I get a little bit more playing time under my belt.
Clefairy: Oh Brian! I'm sure that's not all we could comment on that's under your belt! Tee hee! Speaking of belts: Trishy, it seems you live in the Bible Belt, and Brian, living in a big city, there are probably a lot of churches around. Unfortunately for you poor humans, as queer folk (whom I love oh so much, by the way!) you may find it troubling that seven out of ten Poké Stops or Gyms are actually churches. Does this affect your hearty hearts? And if so, how so, lovelies?
Trish: Personally, since I was ostracized, however passive aggressively, by the church, it did make me nervous that the Poké Stop closest to my house was indeed a church. Church can sometimes be a trigger for me for this reason. I am a Christian, albeit a Universalit now — if I must claim a label — and I grew up in the church. I heard being gay was an abomination, and a sin. This was mixed with the usual conclusion for those of my ilk: fire, brim stone, blah blah blah, so I was pretty uncomfortable having to go to one to fulfill one of my childhood dreams that technology finally caught up on. I did end up going to it on a Saturday morning — just to explore mind you — and was so happy that I didn't need to actually go into one! All I had to do was park close enough for the spiraling blue orb to appear and voilà! I collected my items and was on my way.
I would like to say that defeating a Gym that was a church was quite satisfying! Ha!
Brian: I heard about a lot of the game landmarks being churches before I started playing, but it wasn’t until I went on my first expedition that I realized how many there were. I live in the Bronx and there are a lot of churches in my neighborhood. Every single one, big or small, is a Poké Stop. One large church on my corner has three Poké Stops associated with it. I was nervous at first, until I realized I didn’t have to go inside to collect. (I’m an atheist, but even still, I was scared I might burst into flames.) Truthfully, it doesn’t bother me so much that the game makes use of churches. I don’t have to be religious to acknowledge that churches are pretty recognizable landmarks. I suppose it bothers me a bit that there are so darn many of them out there in the real world for the game to use, but maybe that’s more my problem than the game's.
Clefairy: Oh, you poor dears! (Pity pats with short arm.) I'm sure that's frustrating, but you'll always have a friend in this Clefairy! Is there anything else that's frustrating about Pokémon GO? Trishy, does living in a smaller city have any effect on the number of Poké Stops and Gyms? Brian, do you have plenty where you are in that big city of yours?
Trish: Living in a smaller city is kind of frustrating, because I have to drive somewhere to find a Poké Stop. I ran out of Poké Balls the very first day. Actually, I have to drive almost twenty minutes to my local downtown area to take full advantage of being able to walk around to collect items and catch a lot of Pokémon. I will say, though, that it was a super fun experience going downtown, seeing old friends playing, and meeting new people. Pokémon GO has really brought people together. And that is really neat to me.
Brian: Wow, that’s so different from playing in New York City! There are so many Pokémon, Poké Stops, and Gyms here. I can barely step out my door without hitting a Poké Stop, and there are two Gyms in the tiny park at the end of my street. There are so many players that there are constantly lures active nearby, usually multiple, at any time of the day or night. It’s been amazing seeing so many people walking around with their phones held up. I’ve lived in the Bronx for seven years now and I’ve never spoken to my neighbors this much in all that time. I spent the first two days just playing in my neighborhood, but on day three I went into Manhattan for work, to Union Square, and I was amazed. It feels like the whole city is playing. Having enough Poké Balls is never going to be a problem!
Trish: I just wish there were more Poké Stops and Gyms closer to my house. Driving around seems to miss the point, and not to mention, it's dangerous! Of course, I never play while driving (coughs) but some people might, and I don't suggest it.
Clefairy: Oh my! That's scaaary! All you Pokémon GO fans reading this, please don't drive and play! (Shivers.) We certainly have covered a lot today! I'm glad humans of all Levels can enjoy our world, we sure do love hanging out with you - no matter your sexual orientation or gender identity! Thanks for talking to me today, Trishy and Brian, and sharing your experience playing this game in the different places and with different faces, old or new! Until next time, have oh so much fun and stay safe out there! And remember: We just want you to be your very best, pass every test, and catch us all! (Blows a kiss to the crowd and bows.)