It was a clear but dark night when a freshman Pokémon Go enthusiast, who asked he be known as Jimbothy Morgan, was nearly killed because of the game he used to love.
In an interview Morgan told me he was staring at his bright phone screen hunting animated Japanese animals with friends when he got terribly lost. He was separated from his group of fellow Pokémon trainers as they strayed into a muddy path. Morgan claimed he was trying to save his shoes from the muck when he turned to go back to the dorms.
“They’re dockers, they’re like super fancy, I do my best to keep them as preserved as possible.”
But the distractions posed by the popular app had left him stranded, unaware which way to turn.
Morgan said, “Suddenly I was alone, outside campus. And because I was looking down at my phone the whole time we were walking down this road I had no idea what path we took to get there. It was exploration time.”
Trying to follow the paths, Morgan started to encounter a whole other kind of creature among the trees. Scampering bunnies, or at least what Morgan thought were bunnies, ran through the bushes and kept the freshman’s heart pounding. What were they running from? What else could be among the rocks and trees?
“Common sense just goes out the window when you are walking alone by the woods at night and you have no idea where you are going.” Morgan shook his head after the statement.
Still clinging to his phone and using it as a flashlight, so he didn’t get “jumped by a rabid wolverine,” Jimbothy wandered up a road and stopped in his tracks when the light illuminated something in the darkness. According to the witness, it was a cat like creature that began to approach. Weeks ago students were warned of dangerous bobcats prowling the area, and now one of those bobcats was staring him in the face. This was no animal he could catch with a plastic ball. Smartly, Morgan turned and fled, unaware if the creature made chase or not. Ignoring the danger is posed to his footwear, Morgan rushed through the foliage, past any number of animals that loudly moved around him.
According to Morgan he had to hear anything but the noises around him, so he started humming. It wasn’t just any song that came to mind, it was “I Want it That Way” by the Backstreet Boys. The hit song from 1999 kept Morgan calm enough to push forward.
Eventually Jimbothy made it back onto the Mines Campus, safe from the wildlife lurking beyond the well-lit streets near the Geology Museum. After being around so many real fighting creatures, the appeal of animated beasts seemed to lose their appeal.
After sharing his harrowing story with friends, Morgan definitively decided to quit Pokémon Go, stating at the end of the interview “That is the last time I will play in the dark or probably ever again.” The addictive game had given him nothing but fear, panic, and almost destroyed his shoes.
From Jimbothy Morgan’s story, students should consider deleting the app that wants them dead. Leaving his nose in his phone led him straight into the dangerous path of a wild bobcat, and the same thing could happen to any player. No amount of animated creatures will heal the traumas faced by adventurers who get too absorbed in the game and lose their way.