Saturday, January 28, 2023

Sherlock Holmes would play Pokemon Go

 Sherlockiana is littered with articles about Sherlock Holmes being a golfer, a foodie, or whatever interest the writer held dear, so it's only fitting we finally answer this question: Would Sherlock Holmes have played Pokemon Go?

Yes, the game on your phone where you catch imaginary creatures in magic balls. That one that was all the rage years back, but maybe isn't so hot now. But like many a fandom, it has an audience that has stuck around, and a number of them are Sherlockians. How do I know? We send each other little virtual postcards in the game.

One of the goals of Pokemon Go is motivating its players to get out and walk around the world, which is why I think Sherlock Holmes would have found it not only mildly amusing, but useful. Many a time I've been in a strange city, call up the game, and see the Pokestops lining the streets. Pokestops are little sites of an actual geographic location where you can spin a disk and get little items like said magic balls. One thing you get, specific to any location is a "gift" -- a sort of postcard showing you a picture of something notable at that location.

Back in 2017, for example, I sent an in-game Sherlockian friend or two such a postcard from a bar called "Watson's" in Champaign, Illinois. But Sherlock Holmes wouldn't just enjoy it for the reminder of his friend Watson. Since locals, or those with interest in a place, created the Pokestops on the in-game map of a place, they often reveal statues, paintings, fixtures or notable local sights worth seeing that you would not have taken the time to find had you now opened up the game. In other words, Pokemon Go is an information source, and I think one that Sherlock Holmes would have taken to in a heartbeat. He might not have been a regular daily player, but he'd surely have had it on his phone as a source of information you couldn't get anywhere else. Every town does not have a tourist brochure of their important sites, but almost all of them do have Pokemon Go maps.

Take for example, High Street in Winchester. Remember it from "Copper Beeches?" Of course you do. You might also remember the Black Swan, "an inn of repute," from that tale. My Pokemon Go "lucky friend" Paul Thomas Miller certainly does.

Were Sherlock Holmes in the neighborhood and opening up his Pokemon Go app, he would have found the place straightaway from its Pokestop, even if the inn's repute had not been as high as Watson tells us.

Even though the basic Pokemon-catching part of this little entertainment app can get a little old, getting these postcards from far off lands, like England, Japan, Canada, or Oregon is still a lot of fun. And when you go somewhere different yourself, gathering up virtual postcards to send back to those places and your Pokemon Go friends there (whom sometimes you've never met or know their name, depending upon how you collected your friends -- you can always do it in person, via email, or just picking up randos on social media when the game offers you some reward for adding a new friend. I've collected locals, Sherlockians, folks I met in Vegas on vacation, and internet folk whose virtual gifts come in languages I can't even read.

And the game does have an album feature for collecting these postcards (though mine ran out of room once, and I had to clear some out to make room for. all the ones Paul's aunt sends from Portsmouth. (Pokemon Go can connect you with all sorts of people, even if you never communicate outside of those little postcards.)  And Sherlock Holmes, who loved to gather information from unlikely sources, would have totally had plenty of them saved in his app.

Pokemon Go is all about walking around, and Sherlock Holmes did enjoy walking about London and getting as much knowledge about his city as he could. So I have no doubt he'd have picked this app up, and a few Pokemon Go lucky friends along the way -- I mean, think of the value of Porlock sending him the sites of Moriarty's coming crimes via Pokestop gifts. Anonymous, nothing Moriarty would immediately suspect were he not a Pokemon Go player himself (and of course Moriarty wouldn't be -- a college math professor would probably have been pooh-poohing his students playing it).

And Holmes could have spun the Pokestop a few times while staying at the Black Swan with Watson, I now know, thanks to Paul Thomas Miller. Because, as you know, Sherlock Holmes is everywhere, and surely has his own Pokestops in some of those places now.

1 comment:

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