Understanding Pokemon "GO"
by Eric Barger
July 14, 2016
I am still traveling for the next several days but wanted to take the opportunity to address the Pokémon Go craze that is literally sweeping the world and offer a resource for those who may need one.
In short, to play the game users download the Pokémon Go app to their IPhone or Android phones. Then they begin hunting down 150 different Pokémon creatures capturing them in virtual reality. Pokémon Go is unlike any other game or fad we have seen because the game is based on a players whereabouts and users need to actually go to particular locations to capture the virtual Pokémon. Various Pokémon appear on their screens as they hunt in places like offices, schools, hospitals, businesses, parks, backyards, freeways - everywhere and anywhere. Many users have been meeting together at key locations such as well-known landmarks in their quest to electronically gather Pokeballs.
The balls are then hurled (virtually, of course) at the game's Pokémon characters to capture them. Players often visit sites such as churches, which digitally become "gyms," where battles are fought. (Huh? What are Christians doing playing a game that has its basis in the occult - and doing so in Church? More on the spiritual implications in moment.)
Just how big is it? Since the recent release of Pokémon Go, over $7.5 billion has been added to Nintendo's stock market value. To give you an idea of the relative popularity, the Los Angeles Times reported that downloads of Pokémon Go (over 7 million so far) are running ahead of Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram in the Google Play store and will pass Twitter soon. (http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-pokemon-go-20160711-snap-story.html)
Most players are not aware that before they even embark into the virtual world of Pokémon Go that in the user agreement allowing them to download the app they are for-fitting their privacy and possibly even the control of their phones to play the game. More worrisome to some is the fact that the company who developed the game was owned by Google! Click here for details on this disturbing factor.
Besides the notion of placing all of your private data at risk, participating in Pokémon Go has proved physically perilous for some. A pair of men fell off a cliff on July 14 while playing near a beach in the San Diego area. One of the men fell 90 feet, the other 50. One was found unconscious and both were taken to a hospital with unspecified trauma injuries. As I write there is no word on their particular conditions.
A New York man escaped with just minor injuries when he crashed his car into a tree while playing the game. His car wasn't as fortunate (see picture here).
Armed robbers in Missouri used the app to lure victims to isolated locations, police said. Others have been injured chasing the imaginary characters without paying attention to their real-life surroundings.
Stores and malls are reporting a marked increase of foot traffic and a unique security issue because of the game. Kids and adults on a quest to capture the virtual Pokémon creatures are so intense that they sometimes stumble down stairs, knock down other patrons, and even end up behind store counters or in offices marked "employees only." If Pokémon Go had arrived on the scene just a few months ago then reports of men being found in women's rest rooms would probably be surfacing but now that's a sad accepted practice in a culture resembling ancient Sodom!
Police in Darwin, Australia, said they have discovered people trying to find Pokémon characters at their police building, and have since posted signs that the station house is off limits to Pokémon Go fanatics.
Police did offer the following advice to Pokémon Go players:
- Don't play the game while driving a car or bicycle.
- Don't trespass on private property just to "catch" a Pokemon.
- Avoid staring down at your phone and be aware of hazards like roadways, drop-offs and waterways.
- Be cautious of who you share your location with.
- Don't travel alone.
Besides the possibility of the development of various problems for some players such as emotional issues (because of an individual's prowess in playing) or eye problems (due to the strain of watching a screen for long periods, especially at night), Pokémon Go may present perverts and pedophiles with unusual opportunities to prey upon victims.
However, most players have no biblical understanding of just what they may be embracing. That's expected in the secular world. But many Christians seem to have a problem with just jumping in the pool before checking to see if there are sharks present!
Pokémon Go was developed by Niantic Inc. and is funded by Nintendo. However, the original Pokémon franchise was developed by Wizards of the Coast, who gave the world the occult games, DUNGEONS & DRAGONS and MAGIC THE GATHERING. Pokémon comes from a long line of anti-Christian, occult, and evolutionary development. For example, did you know that the very word Pokémon means "pocket monster" - i.e. "demon?"
Two quick points as I close.
I realize that many reject warning like this and accuse us of just being "against everything." Still, I gotta say it: Christians playing Pokémon Go need to consider the occult roots of Pokémon. Defending it is akin to putting lipstick on a pig. I've heard "it's only a game" or "it's just fantasy" more times than you can imagine yet where does the Bible give us license to ignore God's warnings and strong condemnation of the occult just because something may be fantasy - or virtual? (Read Ephesians 5:1-7)
Second, let's add up the sheer amount of time we're spending on stuff like Pokémon Go. The word "idolatry" comes to mind and instead of focusing on our mission in the last days we are going to great lengths literally running around attempting to capture a virtual demon. How Satan must be pleased.