Day 4: A Pokemon Go Lingo Guide for Parents
My kids are roaming the streets at night with a gang of friends just like I did back in the day, Their faces illuminated, not by the spark of fireflies, but the glow of their phones and the thrill of capturing Pokemon.
If you thought talking to teens was tough before, now we have a whole foreign Poke-language to decipher. After totally eavesdropping on my kids and their friends in the car, here is your Pokemon Go lingo guide. You’re welcome.
POKEMON SPEAK: “I’ve been in the gym since nine this morning…”
TRANSLATION: Sadly, your child has not found a new affinity for fitness. In Pokemon, a gym shows on a map in a live location where you go to fight for prestige. The gym this morning was in a Church down the street and my son lamented that no one came to fight him. So maybe players were having an existential crisis about the irony of fake games that take you to real churches to fight imaginary figures for shallow glory.
POKEMON SPEAK: “Mom, I’ll be back, I’m going to get balls at a Pokestop.”
TRANSLATION: If you are the mother of boys, like me, this will simply be another reason for your kids to say “Balls” a hundred times a day. Balls (yes I just snort laughed there) are used to catch Pokemon and are essential to winning. Which is why my kids love their balls so much.
POKEMON SPEAK: “Look, there’s a Bellsprout…”
TRANSLATION: As with the gym, this does not mean your child has developed a green thumb or sudden love of vegetables. A Bellsprout is a Pokemon that looks like a flower. However, much like our children, this character looks sweet but can spit poison from its mouth when it feels threatened.
POKEMON SPEAK: “Yes, I got a Lickitung…”
TRANSLATION: No your child has not cracked the parental controls on cable TV or visited a massage parlor on summer break. The Lickitung Pokemon is basically your cat caught in a virtual world. It licks most everything it comes in contact with and hates anything sour. Obviously it is immune to its own bitter personality just like every other feline.
POKEMON SPEAK: “My stamina is low, I need to grab a potion…”
TRANSLATION: A potion in Pokemon is like wine to women everywhere. It restores balance and stamina and staves off the credible threat that little people are trying to kill you. Most importantly, potions should not be wasted but rather reserved for a real crisis. I am starting to like this game…
Though much of Pokemon Go is fantasy, its basis is for real people:
Candy is power and is used as a reward.
That is a concept that needs no translation; parents have been using that trick since the days I was out catching fireflies.