• Bodie English

Pokemon Go App To Send Gen-Z Players To The Polls This November (geez, this is a joke)

Updated: Oct 10, 2020

Few mobile applications have been able to match Pokemon Go’s ability to get the basement-dwelling generations to disconnect from their dens of digital reclusion and experience the lively effects of natural sunlight by requiring it’s players to actually engage in the physical process of living.

Pokemon, which began on the Game Boy handheld console in 1996, then card game, and a subsequent wildly popular animated series , asks every player to become a protagonist in the vein of it’s hero, Ash, a young boy who captures, trains, and competes with various fictional animals called Pokemon. In 2016, developers created an augmented reality application that merged real-life GPS coordinates and these elusive Pokemon hiding in physical locations around the globe.

This new concept did what many parents had been trying to do for years, which was to turn their maladjusted children quietly aging in sealed of bedrooms and basements whos skin was becoming translucent into functioning adults that could manage being able to leave the comforts of their air conditioned abodes and navigate the critical component of life, which is interaction with other people. Soon, hordes of zombie-like people had emerged and created strange gatherings in unlikely locations. Some reports described some of the pitfalls of these ill-advised Pokemon placements when 4 adult males drowned in a local duck pond as the players all converged on the short pier and beheld a real duck that was mistaken for a Pokemon creature. None of the players had seen a real duck before and the exhilaration (matched with delusion) caused the players to walk directly off the end of the pier and end their augmented experience.

Soon, the game picked up steam and, to the benefit of many a young sedentary type, players began to see the world as it was, an interactive playing map from which there could be derived many engaging experiences. The developers, however, soon saw some declines in usage as young men and women noticed each other and their bodies finally expressed hormonal existence. A new experience was just what the developers were looking for when they were approached by a young political strategist.

Steven Dovey had many political campaigns under his belt already, but was more interested in new ways to turn out the youth to elections. He noted, “Many youth are very actively engaged in politics, and by active I mean, ‘They comment on all sorts of internet opinions and use wildly expressive emojis.” Not only that, they held their opinions as paramount to any other generation. One young person he spoke to,(who had forgotten his name and simply went by ‘2%wetyourmomgamerboy’ said that the older generations were, “super dumb and didn’t know how to google the answers to ANYTHING!” He went on to suggest that he and his “clan” (these are online friend groups) had recently discussed the importance of becoming politically active after one member found out about legislation that would throttle internet bandwidth. He said that, “In his research Into a democracy, one must cause disruption and protest before showing up to the polls and voting.” When Dovey asked if that wasn’t step 6 versus step 1,

2%wetyourmomgamerboy said that he was pretty sure that breaking a window at a Target would be, “like…..triple points voting.” Dovey then knew that he had to find a way to trick the young politically active into doing what they claimed they wanted to do.

He approached The Pokemon Company and presented his idea to the marketing team that was thrilled at the idea of finding new wind to the app which had recently seen a decline in usage. Programers, artists, and engineers began to map out polling locations and come up with new exotic creatures to entice would-be players into walking directly into polling locations. The players would also get bonus points for waiting in lines which they knew would be a turn-off. One additional struggle was to get the players to remember their names and ask their parents if they knew where their ID’s were. Plans are currently in place for an in-app voter registration application.

I was able to get a glimpse of some of the artwork being tested and noticed a few interesting characters. One was called a Grabberdon, which was an orange dinosaur looking animal that had small hands and a strange comb-over. The other was called Snifferjoe, a turtle like creature with a probing nose. I was told this Pokemon was actually an older Pokemon that was unsuccessful years ago, but the developers wanted to try a reboot.

This election will be a proving ground as to whether or not new enticements will do what Rock The Vote, by MTV, attempted to do in 1990. Rock The Vote ultimately fell short as many young people misunderstood voting and thought that it was like Woodstock where you basically go to parties, listen to music, and then claim victory for the next 40 years.

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