Our Virtual Reality Future Is Vaguely Depressing, But I Want It Anyway

by Noise Pollution

Look at this trailer.


Okay. Maybe that didn’t move you as much as it did me. Maybe you’re not a part of my exact generation. Maybe you weren’t born within a four-year span of me and Pokemon is just a thing you look at from the outside. Maybe you were into it once, but aren’t anymore.

Well, for context, Pokemon is kind of a touchstone of my generation. I was either four or five when I played my first Pokemon game, and it took me away from here. I was a Pokemon trainer. I was catching and training up my team and getting ready to face the Elite Four, the ultimate challenge for trainers. Eventually I scraped through, and found that my bastard rival had made it there before I did. He was the champion, not me. I had to beat him to win the title from him…. but he trounced me. I didn’t even stand a chance. He always did seem to have an advantage over me: from the day he was born he was the grandson of one of the most famous Pokemon researchers in the entire world. He always knew a little more than I did. And when I finally got a Pokemon of my own, he deliberately picked one with a type advantage over mine. Trying to get out from under his shadow has never been easy, and now here he is, towering over the entire world. I had to defeat him. I had to prove my worth. I trained for days. My Pokemon and I, we were fully synched. We were ready. We handily defeated the Elite Four and found our way to the champion’s room yet again. And he was still there, waiting for me. This time, things were different. I was ready.

We fought, alone in that room. Maybe the world was watching on some television network, maybe not. To me, it was just the two of us and our Pokemon. If it was destiny that I was going to go down here; if Blue truly was born to be the very best, here and now was where we would find out. But I worked hard for this. I never had anyone there to guide me through; all I had was him, laughing at me as I carried my wounded Pokemon away from the scene of his instigations.

But in the end, I took him down. I earned his respect, and the respect of the entire world. Now all that was left to do… was to catch them all!

And that’s why this new Pokemon Go thing has me excited. It’s not everything I want… Obviously. What I want is for everything in my imagination to be real; I want to step outside into a world handcrafted to be fun for me. And this isn’t that. This is a tiny step in that direction. This will let me go on walks and stumble upon a new friend while I’m out there. I’ll encounter all kinds of Pokemon out there, and it’ll make the world feel just a little bit more like a video game.

And maybe what I really want is coming. Virtual reality is on its way, and while it’s probably not going to be a part of our daily lives for a good, long while, there’s a tiny chance that it’ll become routine in my lifetime. And if it does, maybe there will be a place in that world where I can pretend to be a kid again, catching Pokemon and training to be the very best. Maybe I’ll be tired, hungry, and old, but I’ll be able to pretend that everything is okay by slipping into a place that doesn’t really exist… it’s maybe not the most thrilling idea of our future; millions of people plugged into other realities because our actual reality isn’t good enough for us, but there’s this longing deep inside of me… A longing to go somewhere else, and if these technologies can bring me there, then I don’t care what happens to me anymore.