SHREVEPORT — Last week Mark Rougeau at Rolling Stone wrote about the “hardcore” Pokemon Go players in the Los Angeles area. A casual player, Rougeau found himself in the world of hardcore Pokemon Go players after a post he made on Reddit begrudging gym turnover in his neighborhood brought him more attention than he intended.
Many are under the impression that Pokemon Go died after the initial flurry of play when the game launched but one look at ticket sales at the embarrassingly epic fail of Pokemon GoFest in Chicago this weekend would belie that. Thousands of players descended on Grant Park in Chicago hoping to catch rare Pokemon and capitalize on special bonuses released just for the event. Sadly, Niantic, did not plan well. Servers crashed, players were shut out, and the CEO of Niantic was booed from the stage when he came out to apologize for the problems. Epic fail.
Scoff if you will, but some of these players came from all over the country and even from other countries. They bought airline tickets, hotel rooms, planned vacations, only to be stuck in long lines waiting to get into Grant Park and then shut out of the game once they got in.
By mid-afternoon Niantic was refunding ticket prices due to the “degraded experience” and giving players $100 in Pokecoins which can be used in the store to purchase a variety of items such as Pokeballs, extra storage, and incubators for hatching those eggs you get from Pokestops. When problems persisted and the live stream wouldn’t even work, Niantic finally released two of the “legendary birds” in Chicago and then the rest of the country to appease wildly disgruntled players who were burning up social media in disgust and frustration with the mismanagement and poor planning.
Pokemon Go players are indeed hardcore. The casual players have moved on but the ones that are left are serious:
When Pokemon Go launched in July 2016, it became an instant cultural phenomenon. It seemed like everyone was playing it, and if you weren’t playing, you were marveling about how it had caused the world to go crazy. Mainstream news outlets covered the “Pokemon Go craze” while players gathered in the hundreds and thousands to hunt for rare Pokemon in large cities like Los Angeles, Seattle and New York.
By the fall, the world appeared to have moved on, their precious Pokemon trapped forever in Poke Balls that would never again be tossed.
There are people that have become mini-celebrities over this game, famous on YouTube or famous in their own community for hitting top levels and holding down gyms for extended periods of time.
Intense rivalries can sometimes arise between teams (Mystic, Valor, Instinct) in areas and most players are hardcore angry about “spoofers” or cheaters.
I’m sort of a casual player of the game and have been since its launch (level 34, Mystic); most players I’ve met watched the show when they were kids and collected cards. I’m too old for that but I did buy cards for my son who collected them. He’s twenty-five now and he plays the game, too. We play it together and it’s been a sort of fun thing we do together. Even Rougeau notes that aspect of it:
In a game with players as dedicated as those who love Pokemon Go, it’s inevitable that some ugliness will emerge. But many of the players I spoke with also said Pokemon Go is their social life. It’s how they met their friends. It takes them to places they’d never normally go, and they’ve gone on adventures that they cherish.
After Niantic’s release of the “legendary birds,” my son and I spent the day with 50 or 60 local players in a Telegram call-out group running from gym to gym to battle and collect these pixelated creatures. It’s crazy, I know. But somehow it’s fun, too. From a cultural aspect it is simply amazing to me to see literally 50 or 60 people (just in OUR group, there are others) descend from locations all over the city on one gym to battle a Lugia or Articuno. It’s intense. Are there better things we could be doing? Maybe. Are there worse things we could be doing? Definitely. Is it any different than the guy going out to play golf or the lady going out to shop garage sales? Nope.
The people I’ve met on these runs are great people and are of all ages and professions. There’s a chef, a marine, a commercial fisherman, a landscape man, a couple of stay-at-home moms, a teacher…it’s not just pimply kids that live in mom’s basement.
And it’s fun.
Niantic has invested a lot in this game and has worked hard to keep it engaging for players with special events, a slow rollout of Pokemon creatures, various challenges and now the epic fail event. Hopefully they will figure out what went wrong with the Chicago event and do better next time. Meanwhile, people are still spending money to play the game. You can play for free but I doubt you’ll find a hardcore player who hasn’t bought an incubator or some Pokeballs in the shop.
As the initial infatuation with the game has faded, the hardcore players remain and Niantic is cashing in. The subculture of players is huge and they are serious.
I’ve not gone to the BBC site to check for updates. I’ve not visited Big Finish about upcoming new releases. I’ve not done my weekly check of Amazon which offers excellent pricing on Bigfinish items if you don’t mind waiting a few months or more to get them nor checked Big Finish to see what new releases I should be looking out for.
In fact I have not bothered to watch a single episode of the series on demand, in repeats, via the VHS tapes that I started recording in 1981 nor listened to any other Big Finish episodes I own. I haven’t even touched the ones I hadn’t heard or opened yet and I’m still debating if I’m even going to bother to listen to the end of the boxed set I was in the middle of because I’m simply no longer interested in the character called “The Doctor”
So given that lack of interest while I was away at the Catholic Marketing Network Conference (still wearing and bearing 4th Doctor Scarfs because they are MY trademark now) I had heard absolutely nothing concerning the series. So imagine my surprise when the 3rd sentence out of my youngest son’s mouth when I walked though the door just after midnight Sunday morning after a week in Chicago was the news that at least one living Doctor, Peter Davison, not only gets why Jodi Whitaker as the Doctor is a mistake, but was willing to say so in public in front of a bunch of fans:
Peter Davison said she is a “terrific actress” but that he has doubts that she is right for the role.
He said before an appearance at Comic-Con in San Diego: “If I feel any doubts, it’s the loss of a role model for boys who I think Doctor Who is vitally important for.”
The veteran actor then commented: “So I feel a bit sad about that, but I understand the argument that you need to open it up.”
“They’ve had 50 years of having a role model. So sorry Peter, you’re talking rubbish there – absolute rubbish,” the father of five said. “Well, you don’t have to be of a gender of someone to be a role model. Can’t you be a role model as people?”
Given his gender the use of “They’ve” is a tad odd in this context but in one sense Mr. Baker is right, one can be a role model regardless of gender, but the Doctor wasn’t a “role model” for boys, he was a HERO and it is the nature of men to desire and aspire to be a hero.
River Song:I posed as his nurse. Took me a week. 12th Doctor:To fall in love? River Song:It’s the easiest lie you can tell a man. They’ll automatically believe any story they’re the hero of.
The term “hero” comes from the ancient Greeks. For them, a hero was a mortal who had done something so far beyond the normal scope of human experience that he left an immortal memory behind him when he died, and thus received worship like that due the gods. Many of these first heroes were great benefactors of humankind: Hercules, the monster killer; Asclepius, the first doctor; Dionysus, the creator of Greek fraternities. But people who had committed unthinkable crimes were also called heroes; Oedipus and Medea, for example, received divine worship after their deaths as well. Originally, heroes were not necessarily good, but they were always extraordinary; to be a hero was to expand people’s sense of what was possible for a human being.
What a hero is
Today, it is much harder to detach the concept of heroism from morality; we only call heroes those whom we admire and wish to emulate. But still the concept retains that original link to possibility. We need heroes first and foremost because our heroes help define the limits of our aspirations. We largely define our ideals by the heroes we choose, and our ideals — things like courage, honor, and justice — largely define us. Our heroes are symbols for us of all the qualities we would like to possess and all the ambitions we would like to satisfy. A person who chooses Martin Luther King or Susan B. Anthony as a hero is going to have a very different sense of what human excellence involves than someone who chooses, say, Paris Hilton, or the rapper 50 Cent.
And how the concept has been perverted over the years
A couple years ago the administrators of the Barron Prize for Young Heroes polled American teenagers and found only half could name a personal hero. Superman and Spiderman were named twice as often as Gandhi, Martin Luther King, or Lincoln. It is clear that our media make it all too easy for us to confuse celebrity with excellence; of the students who gave an answer, more than half named an athlete, a movie star, or a musician. One in ten named winners on American Idol as heroes.
Gangsta rap is a disaster for heroism. Just this week, director Spike Lee lamented the fact that, while his generation grew up idolizing great civil rights leaders, today young people in his community aspire to become pimps and strippers. Surely no one wants their children to get their role models from Gangsta rap and a hyper materialistic, misogynistic hiphop culture, but our communities are finding it difficult to make alternative role models take hold.
In a age where there are so few male role model the concept of being a hero is important even in, as Greg Hodge at the Huffington Post notes everyday life
You must empower us to fully devote to you and here’s how you do it.
One word: HERO. It’s that simple. Men want to be heroes. Men project that need and desire onto women in order for them to live out their hero fantasies. Certainly, as men, we all go about it in different ways — we are all very different people — but we share this one unquenchable desire. Let your man be a hero every now and then, even if he is not feeling that heroic, even if you have to act. Remember, it’s that fleeting expression, that look of trust and admiration, that passing gesture, those few words that make us feel like your heroes.
So much is satisfied in men if you empower them to feel like heroes. You will reap the benefits.
To expand on this, think of how the rise of lawlessness and crime in communities paralleled the rise of single motherhood and absent fathers. The first Hero a young boy has IS his father and when that hero is gone he searches elsewhere, As the strong father figures recede in western culture it becomes vital that there be a hero for boys who can be defined by a speech like this
Winning? Is that what you think it’s about? I’m not trying to win. I’m not doing this because I want to beat someone, or because I hate someone, or because, because I want to blame someone. It’s not because it’s fun and God knows it’s not because it’s easy. It’s not even because it works, because it hardly ever does. I do what I do, because it’s right! Because it’s decent! And above all, it’s kind. It’s just that. Just kind. If I run away today, good people will die. If I stand and fight, some of them might live. Maybe not many, maybe not for long. Hey, you know, maybe there’s no point in any of this at all, but it’s the best I can do, so I’m going to do it. And I will stand here doing it till it kills me. You’re going to die too, some day. How will that be? Have you thought about it? What would you die for? Who I am is where I stand. Where I stand, is where I fall. Stand with me
No matter how much the SJW warrior class feels otherwise, no matter how “established” the concept of time Lords switching gender is (and for the record it was only “established” because the show runner about to depart choose to establish it) these boys looking for heroes understand that no matter what face he carries the Doctor is One Single Person and no matter how much the media culture, the hollywood culture, the LGBT culture and the BBC culture wants to pretend otherwise, Jodi Whitaker’s “doctor” will not be a “role model” or an inspirational hero for boys because while the Russell Davies of the world are predominant in those cultures, out there in the actual world for every Russel T there are 100 or more boys who, while they might aspire to win or save a 35 year old woman they do not aspire to BE one. Until the casting of Ms. Whitaker those boys could see themselves as the Doctor, now even if the role goes to a man after Ms. Whitaker they can not.
Thus the Doctor, who was once a British institution, passes from the pantheon of male heroes who will inspire those boys who will become men and becomes just another character on just another TV show.
Peter Davison gets this even if Colin Baker does not and he will doubtless pay a price for it in media scorn (likely not enough to put him below Mr. Baker on the most popular doctors list) and perhaps even lost income from work not offered and convention invites unsent. The elite media in England and the US will doubtless such a result as Mr. Davison and those like me who agree getting their comeuppance It’s a final irony that the willingness of Mr. Davison’s to speak an honest truth against the grain is, dare we say it, heroic.
I suspect in those smug celebrations this those given by Mr. Hodge is well made
Don’t get me wrong — taking men down a peg or two is necessary on occasion; my wife has needed to do just that over the years, and she does it very well. But remember the stop button, ladies — cutting us off at the knees is not helpful to you. You don’t want to break us; if we are broken, we don’t work.
I’ll give the last quote to Scott Lafarge the professor who wrote that piece on heroes I’ve quoted
the ideals to which we aspire do so much to determine the ways in which we behave, we all have a vested interest in each person having heroes, and in the choice of heroes each of us makes.
The need for heroes is never more apparent than when they’re gone
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