So Pokemon GO has been out for a few days now, and it’s fair to say it’s doing what Team Rocket could never do. The killer app has taken over the world, and is creeping up on Twitter in daily usage statistics. Players are racing around town, nabbing loot from Pokestops and claiming territory at the local gym for their team. A stringent rivalry has broken out between Instinct, Valor and Mystic, and all we have left is to wait for the inevitable Pokeapocalypse that is mere weeks away. But at least you caught that Eevee right?
Anyway, while we’re all consumed in the magic nostalgia of our forgotten childhoods, it’d be fair to say that we aren’t looking for any conspiracy theories behind this killer app. Everyone can live out their dream as a Pokemon trainer in the greatest of all regions, planet Earth, and folks are becoming increasingly absorbed in the game. The rose-tinted glasses are out in full force. Nobody has really stopped to think about it in a wider sense, and consider some of the downright sinister features that the game offers to us.
Something incredibly alarming is the means by which we get rid of excess Pokemon and purge them from our smartphones. In game, there’s a non-sinister looking button labelled ‘Transfer’ on every one of your favorite Pokemon’s info page. Looks innocent enough right? Think again.
Once tapped, the game offers you an ultimatum. Keep that adorable little Pidgey in your collection for sentimental value or “transfer it to the Professor.” Yeah, this is where it gets weird. You can’t get your Pidgey back when it gets sent to the lab, and the only thing you get in return is a sole ‘Pidgey Candy.’ For the first few times I thought to myself that this was just a natural part of the game, as I mindlessly sent 10 Rattata to their inevitable doom.
Really though, there’s some kind of insane Willy Wonka stuff going on, and it’s bringing the entire Pokeverse to its knees. In the handheld games, if you want to get rid of a Pokemon all you had to do was trade it or release it back into the wild. A humane, loving way to clear out your box and keep the ecosystem flourishing. It’s clear now though that the world has moved on, and there’s a new candy tycoon in charge with a menacing capitalist agenda.
So yeah, just think about that next time you clear out your squadron in Pokemon GO. You monster.