||himekyun fruits kan
||"Kakusei Mirai (Album Version)"
||I used to collect music back when it was embodied in objects, and before that I played Dungeons and Dragons, which is a game for people who like collecting and graph paper, and before that I collected bottle caps. So although Pokémon came around after my childhood, Pokémon Go is otherwise (at least with the sound off) basically designed for my personality type.|
||Back when music was embodied in objects, my default mode of solo tourism was to overlay a map of record stores (and a few museums and historic landmarks) on a foreign city, and then walk around it buying music objects, pausing periodically to eat anything I didn't recognize and occasionally look at some art.|
||Silhouette from the Skylit
||This still works without the record stores and object-buying, pretty much. People are interesting, and the ways they live are interesting, so I'm pretty happy to just walk around seeing things. Plus, the more exercise you get, the more funny foreign food you can justify eating.|
||I was in Stockholm this week for work. I've been there several times by now, so I've seen many of the obvious things at least once. But this time, there was Pokémon.|
||"3 Months and a Week"
||Pokémon Go, whether you like it as a game or not, has 3 interesting tourist virtues if you play it in a foreign city.|
||"Brothers of War"
||First, most obviously, it justifies and rewards and amplifies walking around. I will be unsurprised if we eventually learn that the game is a secret demand-generation ploy of shoe companies. Shoes and external battery packs.|
||Cry of Dawn
||"Tell It to My Heart"
||Second, Pokéstops are all about small interesting things to look at. At home in Cambridge, where the stops are usually things I've seen a thousand times, the "interesting" part can get kind of hypothetical.|
||But in Stockholm, which has centuries of the accumulated dignity and solipsism of northern kings, this is perfect. Of course everybody knows to go to see the Vasa, which is a giant dredged-up ship in side an even gianter building, but did you know there's a pair of strange eggs guarded by lions above a doorway in the old town that you have to go up a steep dead-end and then turn around and look back to even see?|
||"The Greatest (feat. Shawn Christmas)"
||And thirdly, logistically, walking around collecting Pokémon is a thing that you can do at all hours, in a city that does not entirely specialize in things for non-drinking people to do by themselves after they've eaten dinner.|
||So I may have done a fair amount of walking around, inhabiting the coextant worlds of hundreds of years of Swedish culture and thousands of bafflingly goofy Japanese nonsense characters.|
||I may have walked back and forth across town to come and go from work.|
||"That's So Us"
||I may have taken constitutional bonus lunchtime strolls.|
||"Mad About U"
||Queen of Hearts
||I may have taken some very roundabout routes from one place to another.|
||I may have wandered around Gamla Stan watching the swarming movements of rumor-beckoned Swedish schoolkids, trying to figure out if they were passing valuable Pokémon intelligence among themselves on secret channels, or just running back and forth at random because why not?|
||A Tribe Called Red
||We Are the Halluci Nation
||I may have had some of these kids gather around me, speaking to me in earnest and excited Swedish even after I explained in Swedish that I don't really understand Swedish, while I was methodically and momentarily evicting them from their Pokégyms.|
||"(I Just) Died In Your Arms - Epic Trailer Version"
||There may have been so many people around me playing Pokémon, at times, that battery cables and ball-flinging motions became the overwhelming environmental norm, and the stray older cruise-boat tourists without phones out seemed like maybe they'd been let out at the wrong port.|
||"Crossfire, Part II (feat. Talib Kweli & KillaGraham)"
||On the one hand, obviously this game is definitively trivial.|
||On another hand, clearly most of the local players were not playing for tourism or exercise.|
||"His Twenty Fourth Spring"
||Betrayed by the Sun / Hagringar
||And maybe even for the tourist there's something Pyhrric in a game that takes you to interesting places that then mostly end up being filled with people peering at their phones.|
||And yet, whatever else this game does, it fills spaces with energy.|
||Cymbals Eat Guitars
||It uses screens as portals into unseen levels of our reality, which is the oldest and most basic and greatest premise of human fantasy.|
||Walnuss / Walnuts
||It gets parents and kids out doing a thing together, even if the parents have to have a lot of it explained to them over and over.|
||"No Illusions (Radio Edit)"
||It is not the pinnacle of clever game-mechanics design, by any means, but it has already entertained me for way more hours than almost any other game native to the mobile-computer era, and certainly more than anything since Tetris.|
||"I Still Believe"
||Mostly you can play Pokémon in any city. Different places present different things in different frequencies, but it seems like pretty much every creature at least exists everywhere.|
||Rise Above the Fray
||But in a tiny maddening nod towards global scale, each continent has one exclusive Pokémon.|
||"Can't Help Falling In Love"
||The American one is a multi-tailed bison-ish thing called Tauros. I find them around the corner from my house in Cambridge, not always but often enough.|
||"Ode to My Next Life"
||The European one is a mime. In one of the least inventive bits of naming in a game with bafflingly prominent uncreative naming throughout, this mime is called Mr. Mime.|
||"Love Like Revenge"
||My obvious Pokémon goal for the week, thus, was to get Mr. Mime.|
||"What We Could Have Been"
||This is, I think, the first time in my life that I have actively sought out a mime.|
||The way you catch Pokémon, if you haven't been playing this game yourself, is that you walk around real spaces with your phone, looking at an alternate-world map derived from the real one. Periodically you come across virtual creatures assigned to real-world coordinates, and you try to collect them with some game-mechanics that don't make any sense but are just hard enough that you feel like you're doing something, and easy enough that you feel like you're getting "good" at it.|
||You have to come within a few yards of a virtual creature's notional position to make it appear, thus all the very literal walking around.|
||"Light Falls I - The Mantra"
||There's a VR mode in which the app then shows you the creature interpolated into the real world, but this novelty actively makes the game itself harder to play, so everybody immediately turns it off.|
||There's also a little in-game feature which, as of my week in Stockholm, tells you which creatures may or may not be within some unspecified radius of you right now, but gives you no clue as to how far or which direction.|
||"The First Eye"
||Nothing and Nothingness
||So, periodically but not nearly as often as I see Tauroses at home, the gangly silhouette of Mr. Mime would appear in the corner of my screen, and I would gamely try to quickly triangulate to figure out where he was. "Was".|
||And then he would disappear again.|
||My Stockholm co-workers gave me some tips about places they'd found him, and sure enough, those were all place where he was supposedly nearby.|
||"Used 2 b"
||And I saw some parts of Stockholm I hadn't seen before, so that was cool.|
||Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith
||FRKWYS Vol. 13: Sunergy
||But he never appeared.|
||The Shape of the Dance
||On my very last morning before catching my flight home, as I was literally setting my repacked suitcase down by the apartment door before heading out to find breakfast before I had to head to the airport, Mr. Mime popped up on my nearby scope.|
||Infinite // Unknown
||I assume the game doesn't actually know my travel schedule, but then Google, so I'm not quite as certain about that as I might like.|
||"Caché Sous un Océan Noir Derrière une Armure de Ténèbres"
||So out I went, for one last try. West first. After two blocks, he vanished from the scope. Retraced my steps and he reappeared.|
||"Sea of Flames"
||Then north. There's a terrific statue of St. George and His Dragon in Gamla Stan. It's one of my favorite things, and one of the ways I orient myself in Stockholm, both emotionally and geographically, because I could see it out the window where I stayed one of the first times I came.|
||Songs To Your Eyes
||Investigative Minds, Vol. 2
||And there, where I kind of think of my Stockholm experience as beginning, with a dragon that would have to be considered a spiritual forebearer of all Pokémon except a miserable fucking mime that doesn't make any sense in the game at all, I finally found and captured Mr. Mime.|
||Actually, I'm kidding. He disappeared in that direction, too. I dashed South, same thing. And then East, just out of a sense of futile completeness, pretty much resigned to never even getting a chance to try and capture him.|
||Who needs a mime, anyway? He doesn't turn into anything, he's good for nothing.|
||La Oreja de Van Gogh
||The bison-thing would trample him flat. What good is it to be an American in Sweden if you can't feel at least a passing sense of ponderous brute superiority?|
||We may not have democratic socialism or affordable college or glorious cardamom pastries, but we've got majestic bison.|
||Duerme Dulce Duerme
||I mean, obviously we actually mostly don't beause we killed and ate them all a long time ago, but don't forget that that giant ship in an even gianter building is there because it sunk so promptly after it was first launched that many of the crew survived by just swimming back to shore. We've all got history.|
||So the miserable Mime vanished from my screen one last time, and I sighed and turned to go in search of the nearest cardamom bun.|
||And then, half a block later, he appeared. Not on the scope, but pop, buzz, actually there on the street just ahead of me, within capturing range.|
||Now, to be sure, capture is not at all guaranteed. Sometimes you get them, and sometimes they get away.|
||Bow To Each Other
||"Where Is Your Heart"
||I kind of suspect that the game knows whether you're actually going to get them before you ever "try", but it lets you feel like your actions have consequence, so it's comfortingly like real life that way.|
||"Last You Heard Of Me"
||But you have to try. If you give up on free will, many things become conceptually troublesome.|
||The Weekend Classic
||"Tethered (feat. Joe Taylor)"
||When You Had Nothing
||In the moment, altough I'd been seeking this opportunity assidiously for days, I was calm.|
||Resigned? Disbelieving? Divested of expectation? Let's just say I was successfully in the moment. I tapped on the Mime to bring up the capturing mode and see how the story would end.|
||A red "Error" bar flashed briefly at the top of the screen and the app crashed. I testify earnestly that this is actually a thing that happened. I finally touched the mime, and the game instantly crashed.|
||As you can guess, I re-started the game and the mime was gone.|
||"The Same War"
||I may have walked back and forth for a few minutes, seeing if he would appear at that spot again.|
||The Dear Hunter
||"The Fire (Remains)"
||Act V: Hymns with the Devil in Confessional
||I may have gone and got my breakfast, and then walked what may have been not quite the direct route back to my apartment, just in case he would reappear after a few minutes had passed.|
||"See The Sky"
||But there are only so may false endings one can tolerate. He didn't reappear. I didn't find him. I left the continent without him. Back in America small children will gather around me and say "You went to EUROPE?! Like, the place? CAN WE SEE MR. MIME?!"|
||"Children", I will say. "Children." And I will look away for a moment, to compose myself.|
||"Rise Or Die"
||Inside Of Me
||"We try to be modern people. These phones? They mark us as people with the opportunity to be modern."|
||"Mimes belong to drab antiquity, when only the King could spare precious berries for pigment. Mimes belong to the dark ages when all we had for entertainment was banging dead branches on rocks, like the drumming on middle-period Metallica albums."|
||ONE OK ROCK
||"You have so much. You have innumerable audible joys from all over the world."|
||"Älä peitä mun aurinkoo"
||"So much music you don't even have to think too hard about what it's called."|
||"You have horses with manes of fire, and some sort of strange angry party balloon with giant soft fists."|
||"Pactum with the Indomitable Darkness"
||"And yes, it's true, I have seen things of which you can only dream."|
||"Calling from a Dream"
||Calling from a Dream
||"Attack ships on fire off the shores of Djurgården, like, kind of near the ABBA Museum."|
||"Concert posters for metal bands, right out in public."|
||"Voltorbs and Magnetites as if the Swedes know that electricity, like discovering America, was really a Viking idea first."|
||Destroy Something Beautiful
||"And did I tell you about the giant ship inside the gianter building?"|
||"Can't Go Wrong"
||"It was on the bottom of the sea for centuries, and they dredged it up and bolted it together and put in a building, and then a few years later realized that the old parts of the ship were fine but the new bolts were rusting."|
||The Absence EP (Deluxe Edition)
||"They don't say please, they say thanks. Sort of. This is how you get a culture that isn't afraid of social democracy. You do less exhortation and more gratitude."|
||"Are You Ready?"
||"And you don't just look at the CP score, you pay attention to how fast the fast move strikes."|
||"I took down a Snorlax the size of the Vasa using nothing but a Scyther with Herring Slap / Meatball Trebuchet."|
||"Da absolute Wahnsinn - Radioversion"
||Da absolute Wahnsinn
||"Pokémon is to mythology what Eurovision is to music."|
||"But spend enough time there -- ["Europe?", one of them asks, to make sure they're still following me. "Yes."] "--enough time there and you'll see that this place is not so different from our own."|
||"Kiss with Spit"
||Kiss with Spit +2
||"They have tacos. They have 7-11s (except their 7-11s have cardamom buns). They have Rattatas. Actually, on a warm night in one of the King's parks I realized there were more actual rats than virtual ones."|
||Fourteen Nights At Sea
||Acres / No Capital
||"They have giant urban reconstruction projects that keep you from getting to where you're going in the way you anticipated."|
||"They have grandeur and intimacy. They have more kinds of drinkable dairy things than you would have patience for me to explain. They have this thing called kebab pizza which sounds a little bit disgusting but is really great."|
||Shape Shift With Me
||"And they love American things, maybe as much as we do. They wear our sneakers, and think seriously about social problems we try to deny even if they barely have them, and remember old hard rock bands we've forgotten ourselves, and learn to make our hipster coffee drinks and our unwieldy burgers with short-ribs on top of the burger so it's like you're trying to open your mouth wide enough to bite into the side of a warm cow."|
||"I took down a Snorlax the size of a bison using nothing but an unevolved Drowzee with Macchiatto Nozzle / Cow Bite. He fires single-origin Fair Trade coffee shots from his floppy snout. I never use the Cow Bite because it takes 53 coffee shots to charge, and then the animation blocks for 4.2 seconds with your mouth open and you can't dodge while it's happening so you always get your teeth Hydro Pumped down your throat."|
||"Temple of the Cores"
||"But look, here's the thing. It's too hard to hold a gym in a well-trafficked area for more than a few minutes, and once you get much past level 20 it takes exponentially more experience-points to advance, and exponentially more stardust to keep powering anything up. So at some point you have to decide for yourself what really matters to you."|
||"Burn Your World"
||"So let's say you do find a Mr. Mime. Let's say you do. But here's the thing: Then what do you do?"|
||And I pause here, because if you pause it helps kids realize that your question is only partially rhetorical. One of the things I kept noticing in Stockholm this trip is how quiet it can get. I didn't hear a single leaf-blower, and either you aren't required to have your trucks beep when they're backing up, or else Swedes plan ahead so they can always go forward. When I resume, I use a quieter voice, because this is another way to assert narrative authority, and I think about how it feels looking out over Söder from the Sofia church, or across the water at the rides in Grona Lund from the stairs behind the Sodra Theater.|
||"You do the only thing you can do. You keep walking, and you keep watching, and you try to catch the next thing, and you understand that it is up to you to allow every new thing to amaze you."|
||"One Shot to Kill"
||"This week I heard an a cappella group singing 'Jolene' with Dolly Parton. If you decide that a mime is really the thing you need, you will find a way. But I have chosen differently for myself. I have chosen loud guitars and dubiously violent metaphors. I have chosen to start most of my gym-takedowns with a Starmie and then a Sandslash. I think fighting moves that look like cartoon playground tactics help me think of the 'training' part less like breeding mutant puppies for euphemistic dog-fighting."|
||And here I pause again, and think about leaving it at that. But then I realize that they may just be kids, but if they're old enough to use external battery packs, they're old enough to hear the truth.|
||"No. To answer your question, no. I didn't get Mr. Mime. I tried, I really tried. I set new personal Fitbit records two days in a row, and I saw his silhouette 4 or 5 tiems, but I went to Europe and I didn't find Mr. Mime."|
||"Leave A Trace - Live From Spotify House SXSW 2016"
||"But I finally got a Pikachu. I hadn't found a single Pikachu in weeks of playing in America, and I got one in Stockholm a block from the subway stop where I arrived. You kids probably all have a dozen Pikachus already [a few of them nod immediately, and then some of the others quickly do too]. But I didn't. I'm 49 years old and I'm playing this dopey kids game I don't really understand because it kind of makes me happy, and I don't even know why Pikachu matters. But I really wanted one, and I finally got it. I got a few, actually. I got one in the square in front of the Nobel Prize Museum, where my wife and daughter once saw people filming a Bollywood dance scene while I was at work, but you couldn't do that now, because there are Pokéstops at opposite corners and I think there were lures on both of them the entire week I was there. I walked through that square one last time on my way out, the day I had to leave, and got the last Nidoran♂ I needed to evolve a Nidoking. And I paused at the entrance to the subway, and curveballed one more Voltorb for good measure. We don't have as many of those in Cambridge, and you never know when you'll need one. And then I turned and walked down the stairs. And just at the bottom, where the tunnel starts, my phone buzzed once more. Mr. Mime? I thought, fully expecting another Spearow. But no, it wasn't either of those, it was a wild Raichu. The first one I'd ever even seen. It was like Europe was giving me a goodbye present that was not a prize for crossing the ocean, not a souvenir of spectated difference, but a reward I earned for taking the time to join in, to participate." And I stop, and I look at the faces of these kids, and I can tell they don't quite understand, but they want to. And then a phone buzzes, and then another, and they start wandering away. It'll probably be a Pidgey. The trick, somebody explained to me, is to pile up Pidgeys and candies and don't evolve them yet, and then use a Lucky Egg and slam-evolve 60 of them in a row in 30 minutes, because the Egg doubles your evolution points. I was refusing to do that, because it sounds really boring watching 60 Pidgeys in a row evolve into Pidgeottos that you're only going to transfer to the Professor because they're completely pointless once you've already filled Pidgeot in your Pokedex. But then I noticed that I had kind of started stockpiling Pidgey candy without really thinking about it. Maybe it will be boring. But then, maybe a giant ship inside a gianter building sounds kind of boring, too. I mean, it was a terrible ship in the first place, that's the whole reason it was sitting there on the bottom of the ocean. But that's the thing. I mean, that's a thing, and it's this thing. It's not just a giant ship in a gianter building, it's a viscerally astounding museum of abject failure. You'll be amazed by a lot more things if you don't cultivate the ability to be pre-emptively unamazed without experiencing them. Maybe this is the part I should have told the kids. It seems more important than the other parts. But you can't always just tell people things. At some point, I expect, Niantic will add some way to trade your Pokémon with other players, and I'm pretty sure I can find somebody to swap a Mr. Mime for a Tauros. But for now, I tried to find the mime and I failed. And sometimes the thing you do with your failures is dredge them out of the water and bolt them back together for everybody to see.|