There’s no doubt that gamers obsessed with playing Pokémon Go will end up walking into trees, stepping off curbs into traffic, and getting mugged at PokéStops in shady locations. And some moron will inevitably play while skateboarding, bike-riding or driving. It sounded like a good idea at the time. Right.

Online games are addictive. They just are. And not just augmented reality (AR) video games. Pokémon Go isn’t really my thing but I am crazy about Scrabble. My wife is into Sudoku. Everyone’s got something. But the more immersive the game, the more addictive it is. That’s why AR scares the crap out of me, at least in terms of gaming.

When the virtual world becomes more immersive and fun than the real world, what then? Where does it lead? Do we all end up as sedentary blobs, wasting away in virtual fugue states while attached to tubes that feed us intravenously and dispose of our waste?

If you’re into sci-fi, think Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash meets Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End. A chill just went down my spine. You too?

Did you know that Stephenson actually works for AR startup Magic Leap? That’s right. The Metaverse, coming soon.

On the lighter side, in case you’re wondering about the notion of transparent phones – you know, so you don’t have to worry so much about walking into and off of things – forget it. It’s a long way off.

Don’t get me wrong. There have been prototypes. They do exist, but only as novelties.

The problem with transparent LCD and even new OLED displays is the contrast. It sucks. And if you turn up the backlight to improve contrast, it also eats up the battery life. I’m sure it’ll happen someday, but not on the near-term horizon.

I’ll tell you one thing, though. If you’re younger than a senior citizen, there’s a damn good chance you’re going to live to see some pretty cool stuff that you couldn’t even imagine today. Guess it won’t be long before we find out just how ready we are for an augmented reality world. Stay tuned.

Also, I’ve you’ve never seen the South Park Chinpokomon episode, you don’t know what you’re missing. Freakin’ hilarious. Watch it here

  • GoneWithTheWind

    I am going to go one step further. I am borderline “Pokemon-phobic.” When this game first launched all I could think about were my young cousins in Hong Kong running into buses and get killed. Then I immediately sent them
    messages pleading with them about how they should be cautious while playing this game on chaotic streets of Hong Kong. Well, I was paranoid. The game isn’t even available in Hong Kong yet (Deep breath!)

    I should be the last person to judge anyone about the addiction of video games. I am a certified video game addict. J I’ve been playing video games since I was four. The first game I played and immediately got addicted to was, “Load Runner.” I haven’t had one person I talk to even heard of this game. I would dream about the game and came up with solutions to beat this game(true story). Now I am a Words With Friends addict. It’s incurable. 🙂

    I truly understand the addiction with Pokemon Go and applaud the developers. Who would’ve thought something this silly could take the world by storm? But for the last two weeks all I could think about was all the bad
    things that could’ve happened or will happen as a result of this game. I am worrying about children being lured to places by sex offenders via this game. I am worrying about terrorists using this game as a tool to gather large crowds
    in an area and plan an attack. I am worrying about people intruding our once upon a time private properties. A bunch of kids gathered outside my parents’ house the other day for a rare Pokemon. Note: My parents live in a secluded Cul
    de sac in the Bay Area.

    As the book of your title says, “Real Leaders Don’t Follow.” I am no leader but I am definitely don’t follow. I know I am probably overreacting and being dramatic about it but I am hoping like hell that none of the bad things that have been going through my mind will happen as a result of this game.

    Thanks for listening to my confession as always. 🙂 I appreciate you wrote about this subject as well. You know this subject line would “make me click.”

    • Steve Tobak

      I don’t think you’re overreacting or being the least bit dramatic. The terrorist angle is particularly concerning. And playing the game in a crazy city like Hong Kong would be madness, imo. 😉

      • GoneWithTheWind

        I’m hoping like hell no tragedy happens anywhere in the world as a result of this game. On a positive note, my new errand for my mom is to catch Pokémon at Safeway! It’s no longer picking up groceries like the old days. It’s Pokémon now. It thought that was cute. 🙂

        • Steve Tobak

          yeah, but you can’t eat Pokemon. 😉

          • GoneWithTheWind

            LOL! I’ve found myself having Pokémon conversations with my mom a lot now. Totally sparing me from dealing with her uncomfortable real life interrogations. My thanks to Pokémon. Did you know someone actually PAID $7000HKD($900USD) for a Level 15 Pokémon account? For the record, my mom is on level 15 for crying out loud. I am speechless. The dumbing down of our society. I don’t recognize the world we live in anymore. 🙂

          • Steve Tobak

            If you’ve never seen the South Park Chinpokomon episode, you’ve got to check it out. It’s hilarious:

  • Scary indeed. A.I. will keep us safe ;o)