Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016



It's hard to believe. The #1 bestselling app is POKEMON GO! Sigh. Just like Hello Kitty, there are some things that just won't go away. It's been 21 years since Pikachu and Charmander first dared you to "catch 'em all." But they're back and more popular than ever. Over 12 million apps have been sold, and it's been only one week since it was released. Wow!

Why all the excitement? Pokémon Go combines your smart-phone's GPS features with the back-facing camera, thus creating a virtual scavenger hunt for cartoon characters hidden in the real world. This new realm, created in Palo Alto, is known as "Augmented Reality." Around 250 different characters are waiting to be captured for points. You'll know when you're close; your cellphone will vibrate. But be careful: They can run away before you can nab them.

As always, those creative folks at Pokémon Company have dreamed up complex categories for their many characters. Each one has a specific species: Air, Ground, Grass and Water. (Pokémon creator Satosh Tajiri is an avid insect collector, so it all somehow relates back to Entomology). Here's an example: A water creature like Squirtle would be found in Chicago's Buckminster Fountain. A grass species like Bulbasaur would be located somewhere in NYC's Central Park. These are called 'Poke-stops' or "interesting places such as public art installations, historical markers and monuments." Wow! This game is bringing people back to parks and gardens.

Yet it's not all good news. See, Americans are not accustomed to leaving their internet-connected homes and venturing out into the real world. Hence, numerous mishaps have occurred. Shayla Wiggins of Riverton, WY was trying to find Kotaku (a water Pokémon) in a natural resource. Instead, she found a dead body in the river. Mark Schultz of Long Island was chasing Zobats in a meadow and fell and broke his arm.

While these are unfortunate incidents, the vast majority of Pokémon Go players are boldly going where no gamer has gone before: Outside! We here at the DUNER BLOG salute this amazing new app. It combines many of our favorite things: Walking outside, visiting important sites, and playing video games.

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