With my luck, I’ll catch a mall.

This game is unbelievable.

I say that sincerely and enthusiastically. I do not believe that Pokémon Go exists. It’s the glorious manifestation of childhood hopes and dreams. It’s imagination made real and not something I ever expected to live through. It’s the epitome of a game changer. If you think I’m being hyperbolic, then I don’t know if you really grasp what’s going on.

In my first day of playing I’ve travelled over 12km. I’ve met players everywhere I’ve been. After the game launched yesterday afternoon, there was no logging in. By the time 9pm rolled around I figured maybe the server demand might have dissipated a little. I was right. I slipped on my knee brace and went out for a run. I ran and ran, stopping intermittently to catch pokémon. I ran along Davenport and into the park. Small clusters of players were out and about. We traded tips on where to catch certain pokémon and how to work the game. I jogged down a running path and up Christie to Wychwood Park, seeing players all over. Lures had been dropped at various places along St Clair. Outside the church at Vaughan Rd there was a swarm of 20-30 players all hanging out. I ran all throughout side roads searching for this mysterious Tauros, but it was nowhere to be found.

I ran back down towards Christie Pits, where a triple lure party was underway. Clusters of players gathered and chatted, remarking on how lousy with drowsee Toronto is. A super strong Hypno showed up and we all raced to catch it first (in a group situation, when the CP of a pokémon is unknown it decreases each time it’s caught. So the first person to catch the pokémon gets the strongest one). Some more seasoned players offered tips on good spots around the city. We all chatted about our war stories and the ones that’d gotten away. One of the cool things about a location based game that few people mention is this notion of area affinity. You remember where you were when you caught significant pokémon. There’s always a story tied to a place and time. In a way, you’re writing your own adventure as you go along. In Christie Pitts for instance, I caught a seadra and all was right with the world. I got home around midnight with tired legs and a happy heart.

This morning before work I noticed a lure that’d been placed over by Comedy Bar on Bloor. I had time to kill. I went along and met five other players of varying ages. A guy told me about the corner of Dovercourt and Bloor, where apparently people have found eevees and blastoises. I thanked him for the tip and headed off to work. I took a bus to try and cheat hatch my eggs (wasn’t amazing, the bus moved too quickly to register the movement). On the way we passed through Queen’s Park. I spotted the shadow of a Scyther around St George and the shadow of a Snorlax between Queen’s Park and Bay. The motherload. During my lunch hour I donned my knee brace once again and went for a run back to Queen’s Park. I picked up a few new pokémon (magnemite, raticate, pidgeotto) and my eggs hatched to reveal an abra and psyduck. I lost an electabuzz to a game crash, reminding me that this game is still in beta. I chatted with a few surgeons still in their scrubs and one of them managed to catch it. Good for him. Rather than being disheartened, I can’t wait to get back down to Queen’s Park and search some more.

Here’s the thing. Whether you’re into it or not, Pokémon Go is a phenomenon. Even if you were never a pokémon fan before, I’m sure you’d have a great time getting out and about, enjoying the movement while it’s still happening. I haven’t had one single negative experience with another player, which feels utterly remarkable. If you’re deliberately objecting on contrarian grounds, you do you. That being said, you could be missing out on an amazing experience for the sake of being obstinate. Your call.

For the rest of you, I’ll see you in the streets.


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