Pokémon GO Made Me a Binge Drinker

Impossible not to get loaded and play.

It takes a lot for me to be excited about something. I rarely show outward emotion, says other people, especially pure, childlike excitement. So when I started physically jumping up and down in the streets on my first night of Pokémon GO, I knew I was onto something big. And perhaps, this excitement and kiddy glee led me to the real problem with Pokémon GO—it will make you a total alcoholic. 

I played for a few days straight over the course of the weekend. Suddenly I found myself binge drinking, partying, and running around my neighborhood finding Pokémon. I had turned into a drunk mess, nursing hangovers and then drinking more, just so I could keep playing. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but like, give me another weekend to do this, and it could totally happen on the regular.

I’m not the only who’s worried about the effects of (the greatest) game.

There’s already been reports of a kid who was led straight to a dead body, a bunch of people lured into armed robberies, and a guy who explains why the game is a death sentence for black men. Soon, I bet there will be some idiot who falls in a hole and dies, or someone who is murdered, or attacked by wild dogs. Who knows. At least there’s already thousands of memes that joke about Pokémon kidnappings.

None of these things should be taken lightly, but the urge to play, the once-it-hits-your-lips feeling, is too strong to ignore. It’s impossible not to play this game.

On Friday, I went to dinner with a friend. He showed me the game on his phone. I was immediately drawn to the real-life map (and its superior Google-Maps-like accuracy). While I sat in the restaurant nursing a beer, it said Pokémon were nearby. 

He explained the game: You've just got to collect them all—there are hundreds of Pokémon to find. They are spread out, there are other very cool things to find, and the more you walk around and (go—ahem, get off your fat ass) the more you’ll find, the better your life/game becomes. Move up, collect more, become an amazing human, yada yada.

I drank another beer.

Over dinner we talked about the things he had found—and where.

I drank another beer.

I began perusing what I could find nearby.

A Basketball Mermaid?! Oh my fucking godddd, yes, I need to find this Basketball Mermaid!

I drank another beer. Full of excitement. Full of jitters. I wanted to leave dinner early just to embark on this seemingly perfect and rewarding scavenger hunt.

More beer.

Instead of ordering an Uber from the restaurant parking lot, I took my friend's phone, and we started walking.

I was already buzzed by the time I found myself running across Venice Boulevard to find this papermache mermaid thing. It led me to a dark alley. While I guess I felt safe, it was still a dark alley. Still no mermaid.

Things were foggy now, because of all the beers, and the excitement.

There was the basketball hoop! There was the mermaid! It was late; so she was chained up on top of some boxes. Were people already trying to steal her? Because of this game? Or because she’s a tight-ass, life-like mermaid paper sculpture?

I got my points. I yelped in excitement.

I took off on foot, moving faster than I’ve ever moved before. I was running through apartment complexes. I was acting like a ravenous dog. I was hunting in alleys, and ready to hop fences to get in strangers' yards. All for Pokémon.

We called a Lyft and then had to wait on a random corner, far from the restaurant, and still far from home.

The servers were busy, and Pokémon Go kept cutting out. I thought I’d try one more refresh before I gave in to wait, lifeless now and boring, for my Lyft to arrive. And then, there it was—an Onix appeared crawling out of an apartment parking garage. It was the most excited I’ve ever felt. We ran to it, me drunk and scream laughing, to secure my collection of this rock snake.

Our Lyft driver hated us—I was trying to catch Pokemon out the window, as we were driving, and my voice was shrill.

We kept drinking. Kept exploring my neighborhood in the dark. It was the most fun drunk game I’ve ever played. It was impossible to stop.

The rest of the weekend went like this: Drink a lot, look for Pokémon, be hungover but drink more so I could still look for Pokémon, watch my phone die all weekend, scream when the Nintendo servers went down, drink more, explore more, drink more, find other little kids running around the neighborhood and consider being their drunk adult friend but then realize that’s weird, drink more, more Pokémon. CRASHHHHH.

So, it’s the most wonderful game, but like, if it doesn’t lead you to an empty pool with floating dead bodies, then it will certainly lead you to alcoholism. At least I burnt some of the beer calories. 

Be careful out there.