[white text scrawls across a black screen]
A wanderer of streets, a collector of kilometers. While the rest of the world has adapted to its post-Go reality, I still flinch every time I see someone in a red shirt. When approaching the local drugstore, I still find myself bracing for some 13-year old kid to yell “Get the fuck away from my gym” before two more come out from behind a dumpster and shriek “VALOR VALOR VALOR!” (true story). But these are merely echoes of the past… a flame with one last flicker. It’s July 2017, and it’s only me now. The last Pokémon Go player.
[dramatic music and some drawn out opening credits here]
[fast forward to the good stuff because you’re lazy and have no time for nuance]
Chapter 1: THE GOOD STUFF
[the scene opens up on a lone asshole sitting in front of a camcorder, fully prepared for dream sequence watery effects]
This story can only start if you understand something first. See, when Pokémon Red and Blue came out, I was a bright-eyed Elementary school kid with little to no scruples. It didn’t take long for me to find every cheat code I could and become my school’s very best. Catching them was no test, and cheating was my cause. While the feeble were still storming around Viridian City with their shitty starters, I had all 151 Pokémon leveled up to one hundred. “Rare” Candy my ass. I was like no one ever was. This was it, the pinnacle of my life, reached at the age of ten. I was like a chibi Pablo Escobar without as much cocaine.
But, heavy is the head that wears the crown, and it can get lonely at the top. After destroying “that one kid with glasses” and his level 26 Pikachu, never again did I ever feel that familiar satisfaction. Kids’ Pokemon would retire back to their balls at just the mere mention of my name, so I retired, too. I retired the Blue, the Red, the Yellow, the Silver, the Gold. I retired myself. Time passed. I grew up. I grew a beard. I acquired a pile of student loans. But then, ZOOM. BANG, even. Out of nowhere, a beacon of hope: on September 9th, 2015 Niantic released the first Pokémon Go Trailer. This would, of course, go on to be the biggest pile of shit and lies I have ever seen, but at the time I didn’t think. I didn’t eat. I didn’t breath.
[the screen does a quick fade to black, the words echoing into the blackness I just talked about.]
Chapter 2: TRAINING DAY (MINUS DENZEL WASHINGTON)
I woke up at 4 AM for months, running across the land. I was going to be the very best. Like no one ever was…
[cut to a long montage scene so this section looks way longer and feels more profound than it is]
Chapter 3: SWEET RELEASE
[stock footage of fireworks circa the Reagan era]
Then, it finally happened. On July 6th, 2016, the game was released. I took a moment to appreciate the platform like everyone else did, snapping photos of the Pokémon in “alternate reality” — in the fridge, on the counter, in the toilet, on my naked body. Soon after it became apparent that my training was starting to really pay off. One, three, twenty Pokémon were given permanent homes my bag, as I sent thousands of Rattata and Pidgeys to what I can only imagine was Professor Oaks new restaurant menu. I spent months traveling the landscape; at least the three blocks that didn’t require me to cross any streets. There were plenty of children and shoeless hipsters on bikes to battle within my friendly confines. I grew, I caught, I mastered; I really felt like I was in the game. I was the game.’
[camera pans up and the scene blurs. Mostly because there’s laundry all over the floor and we didn’t want anyone to see it]
Chapter 4: THE BIG BLUE KNOB
[scene opens up on a living room with nothing particularly interesting in it. Gamesman Put has a huger beard now so you will know time has passed.]
You see, way back then I was one of the lucky ones. I had a Pokéstop right in my living room.
[Gamesman Put waves his arms about majestically.]
To this day it ruins any hope of a life as I set my five minute timer and flick the big blue knob ‘till it turns purple. Good news: I have over 75 Ultra balls. Bad news: I have no motivation to catch menial Sentrat or Covfefe. Sure, for a while I went out and got Pokéstops, but what once promised high fives from innocent children and creepy adults now only delivers the discouraging looks of parents covering their children’s eyes. Yeah, I see those light up shoes. I wore those when I was 7 too, you little cretin.
Chapter 5: THE WASTELAND
[Gamesman Put stands up, opens the curtains to reveal a totally normal looking street, but acts like its a vision of the apocalypse. Because something is wrong with him, mentally. And also budget concerns.]
So here I am. The game has almost been out for a year. Motivation has died, but I’m holding out hope that the glory days will return. I have now caught all of the available first 151 Pokémon available in the game; except for the country specific ones, of course. Fuck you I’m going to pay $1,000 dollars to get a Mr. Mime.
This morning I spent 25 minutes staring into the eyes of an older man across the street while repeatedly tapping my phone screen. I thought we were battling, but it turns out that he was just playing with himself. Yep. Turns out the game let perverts know exactly where children will be distracted. But whatever, staring at the undefeated gym in my backyard… I was just happy that someone was able to beat it that day.
[screams of personal ecstasy cut through the tranquility of an area shot of the city.]
Chapter 6: AN OPENING OF EYES
[Gamesman Put turns around and is suddenly dressed like a yuppie, throwing a sweater over his shoulder like a total douche]
Being the Last Pokémon Go player isn’t all bad: there’s a certain enlightenment to it. The endless clicking of a phone phone screen in the shittiest battling mode in the known Universe, seeking to conquer gyms meant to only be defeated by a gang that doesn’t exist anymore. There’s a certain joy to fruitless expeditions in the pursuit of false idols.
The worst part, really, is what the game has come to symbolize. I use to criticize family and friends alike for being on their cell phones at social gatherings. For a brief time, I found myself gathered at table while everyone shouted Giganitizord, SlowDick, and Magitwat. Now? I’m left playing with myself under the table, hoping to sneak a peek without anyone noticing. Maybe spin the big blue knob; maybe get a few things in my balls. I look up to find everyone scanning their social media for memes that might make them feel just a little less weird about how fucked up they actually are, yet I’m the weird one.
Chapter 7: THE MAN, THE LEGEND
[camera pans down from bright lights to reveal the interior of a Walmart Supercenter. Gamesman Put, staring intensely at his phone, walks right into a crackhead shopping for adult diapers]
It’s a wasteland out here, but fuck it. I roam it with courage and hope. When people decide it’s cool again in another 20 years, they will speak of my legend. Parents will tell their children to steer clear of me — not because I will be a 49-year-old playing Pokémon, but because I will be a Master. The pointing and whispering will only carry tones of my legacy on the wind. And because its whispering nobody can hear it well enough to prove that statement false.
Chapter 8: BUT WAIT THERE IS MORE.
Not five minutes after I finished this article, I discovered a new savior: Garfield Go. Every two hours I get to produce a piece of lasagna and throw it into Garfield’s fat fuck face. He then gives me a treasure chest. What’s in that treasure chest? Old Garfield comics that can easily be found with a simple Google search. But endlessly throwing donuts, pie, and pizza at Garfield can actually win you real life prizes as well. It can’t compare to filling my pockets with fake monsters, but $10 dollar amazon gift cards and Garfield plush toys will have to fill the void until the better days begin to flow once again.
By Gamesman Put