I went out on a date with my girlfriend on Monday, after spending a weekend indoors—and what I saw terrified me. Overnight society had transformed.
Groups of strangers stood huddled in front of churches and storefronts with their phones out, giving each other knowing looks and speaking in gibberish. There were code words like "Grimer" and "Growlithe." I was haunted by something Elizabeth Driscoll said in Invasion of the Body Snatchers: "I keep seeing these people, all recognizing each other. Something is passing between them all, some secret. It's a conspiracy," she says, meanwhile spying on her husband alongside an ominous group of silent strangers on the streets of San Francisco.
What I witnessed was Pokémon Go, the addictive, augmented reality app which makes the above orderly takeover by pod people seem like a beautiful utopia in comparison. Is it possible that I'm being hysterical, that I'm overreacting to a mere viral trend? No. No, it is not. Pokémon Go has arrived, a harbinger of dark, dark future wherein we might expect all the trappings of Doomsday.
People will die.
Before our date night was through, my girlfriend had been sucked into Pokémon Go, veering off from our walk home and squealing, "Ohhhh, a Duduo!" The next thing I know, she's walking down the middle of Clement Street and swiping at her screen to throw pokéballs at a two-headed ostrich that only she could see. She didn't get run over, but somebody will. Pokémon Go is the new texting while driving.
Transit systems will fail.
Cars full of Pokémon hunters—and soon busloads of Pokémon Go tourists—will pull over alongside Pokéstops with active lure modules (a feature which draws Pokemon to a specific location). There will be double, triple, quadruple parking and so on, until people just abandon their cars in the streets Independence Day style.
Just picture this: a middle schooler running through the halls of the Holocaust Museum museum shrieking "Wee! A Mr. Mime is near!"
This exact prediction has already come true.
The economy will go all Poké.
Boutiques and coffee shops will advertise which Pokémon can be found near them. Tweets will say "Come for the Zubats, stay for the cappuccinos!"
Affluent stores will purchase powerful lure modules from Nintendo in order to draw rare Pokémon to their spaces. "Zubats shmubats," Starbucks will advertise. "Chill with a cold brew until 3pm, when you can expect a visit from the elusive Articuno!"
Nintendo will design limited-edition Pokémon to make appearances at one-time events, like say the Rio Olympics, where you might catch Super-roided Russian Geodude. Or closer to home, you might see a super-cute Snorlax in a Santa hat, available only at SantaCon.
Welcome to the Pokéconomy.
Poké crime waves.
Gym fights—in which teams of Pokémon trainers fight for control of a real world location—will escalate to fist fights. Pokémon Go players must be standing in the vicinity of the gym in order to fight for it which will lead to gangs of rival players congregating closely. Because many video game players a) live to mercilessly taunt each other and b) spend actual money on the game, Tickle-Me-Elmo levels of carnage will ensue.
Non-Pokémon gang violence will also skyrocket. Reports are already coming out of Missouri that gangs of armed robbers are taking advantage of lure modules to draw groups of non-athletic types with nice smartphones.
Mismanagement of resources.
As the fabric of society unravels, humans will ignore the crumbling infrastructure and surge in violent crimes, instead devoting their last precious resources to the production of more external battery packs. Seriously, this game eats battery life for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
I should know, I've been playing for the last 24 hours.
Don't worry about me, though. I'm a lost cause. If you're still reading this it means you aren't yet facedown in your phone playing Pokémon Go. Save yourself, warn others, do not—under any circumstances—start playing. But if you do, join the Blue team, we control the most gyms.