Pokemon Go and where we go from here

By now we have lived long enough with Pokemon Go—the augmented-reality mobile game enabling users to catch and battle Pokemon in real time from the physical environment—to have some perspective on the phenomenon.

The game had been an almost instant success, raising Nintendo’s stock price nearly 10 percent in the first two weeks of release and inspiring countless people of all ages to explore the world immediately outside their homes.

As an entire generation emerges from their rooms, squinting up into the sunlight, maybe for the first time, the question is raised: Is this a new beginning or a passing fad? We are, after all, a generation incubated in the comforting glow of Xbox and Netflix, like so many baby chicks nestled together under a heat lamp.

Are we ready to face the dangers of the Great Outdoors? Have we the skills necessary to survive this brave new world of feral cats, sticks and stones, and mysterious green foliage growing wherever it may?

And what of the Pokemon themselves (Pokemons? Pokemen? The correct pluralization remains unclear.) They have not been planted here for the sake of the game: We can reasonably assume that they have always been here, invisible, unknown to us until Nintendo made their capture and forced combat for a major revenue stream.

So what is to be said, then, for the Pokemon currently housed on mobile devices? Many users have lost interest in the game and have now moved on to other things. The game makes no provisions for Pokemon that have been neglected or abandoned.

What is the proper care and feeding of a Squirtle? How many hours of sleep are required to keep a Snorlax happy and healthy? I have not come across a single guide to Pokemon care since the game has been released. The sad reality of the situation is that very little information exists on the topic (Professor Oak, foremost expert on Pokemon, could not be reached for comment.)

Further complicating the matter is visibility. Because Pokemon are invisible to the naked eye, requiring one’s mobile device in order to see them, it is easy to ignore the issue altogether.

How many Pokemon roam the streets of our communities? What percentage of Pokemon have landed in animal shelters? The information simply does not exist: There are no statistics available regarding how many Pokemon are roaming at large and how many have found good homes.

I would urge all Pokemon enthusiasts to keep in mind that Pokemon are living creatures and deserve to be cared for. Though Pokemon Go is a game, intended for amusement and passing the time, the Pokemon themselves are not toys. Their lack of visibility does not make them any less worthy of care or concern.

What I urge you to do, dear readers, is this: Please make sure you can care for your Pokemon properly if you plan on keeping it. Do some online research on the topic. The article “Top Ten Ways To Care For Your Pokemon” is a useful resource which includes basic care tips for Pokemon.

And please, if you do decide to collect and train Pokemon, make sure you visit your local animal shelter first. An unidentified number of Pokemon have been abandoned over the months as players have lost interest and moved on. These Pokemon deserve a good home and a responsible trainer to care for them.

If we take these simple steps, we can make significant progress in ending the problem of abandoned Pokemon.