Twenty-five years ago, a cute little yellow cat-like thing cooed “Pika Pika” as a very determined young man tried his hardest to catch them all. Pokémon is 25 years old, and for many this silver anniversary not only brings joy but also special edition packages of glue sticks and Nilla Wafers. Special edition products are not the only spawn of Pokémon.
In 2016 “Pokémon GO” was created. It’s an augmented reality mobile game designed to get players out of their homes and into the real world. The rules of the game are the same. The trainer’s mission is to catch as many Pokémon as possible and then train them to do battle with each other. In the mobile version, creatures can be found near historical markers, bridges, museums and various sites around the world.
Pokémon GO was a hit in spite of early bugs, and seeing packs of people staring at their phones became commonplace. The partnership between Niantic and Nintendo made millions in record time and many pale gamers saw the sun for the first time in a long time.
In this archival edition of Radio Chipstone, contributor gianofer fields spoke with avid gamer Forrest Herschelman, his new wife, Roza Smagulova, and psychiatrist Gene Yang at the VA hospital in Madison –each with their own reasons for trying so hard to catch them all.
About the Host:
gianofer (JON nah fer) fields is an Art Historian and Material Culture contributor and curates the Radio Chipstone series. The project is hosted by the School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and funded by the Chipstone Foundation; a decorative arts foundation whose mission is preserving and interpreting their collection, as well as stimulating research and education in the decorative arts. fields is also the host of Refrangible, a podcast about material culture, now available on Spotify, Stitcher, iTunes, or wherever else you get your podcasts.
Image: Gamers Playing Pokémon GO in Lake Park, Milwaukee, WI. July 2016. Photograph by Maayan Silver; image courtesy of gianofer fields.
This segment partially comes from the Radio Chipstone Archives of WUWM Milwaukee Public Radio. See here.