Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Real-life PokemonGo

I don't think PokemonGo is in the UK yet (or is it?) but I've been hearing lots about it and to be honest... I just don't get it. Don't get me wrong, I love Pokemon. I used to watch it on SMTV every Saturday back in the 90s (was it the 90s?) and cracked up at Ant & Dec's Pokerap and Pokefight sketches (Watch!). I even painted Pokemon onto my bedroom wall, and of course I played Pokemon (I had the red version) on my original GameBoy.

But wandering around outside, staring at your phone while looking for wild Pokemon? Erm... I've been doing that for the past two years. But what I do is real. Only it's not Pokemon I'm looking for, it's butterflies. And it's not my phone in my hand, it's my camera.

And it's not just me doing this. Along with my fellow lepidoterists, there's the Twitchers and the odonata...erm...ites, and the ladybirders...

There's 59 species of butterfly in the UK, and okay, that may not be as exciting as the 150 (or however many there is nowadays!) Pokemon, but I've gotta catch 'em all too. Although instead of catching them in a Pokeball, I catch them with my camera.

It gets you outside. It gets you interacting with other people (I can always spot a fellow butterfly-nerd - they'll be the ones staring into the undergrowth with a camera in hand). It takes skill - certain species are only found in certain areas, at certain times of the year, and they only eat certain things. Some are common. Some are rare. Even if you do have your camera on you, you're not guaranteed a shot. There may involve running and scrambling through undergrowth and close encounters with spiders.

It can lead to good things - I now volunteer for the Butterfly Conservation. Is there a Pokemon Conservation?

Getting outside is good. Interacting with other people is good (I suppose!). Getting involved in conservation is brilliant. Surely real-life wildlife is more rewarding than pixels? You can even do both, why not? Play PokemonGo and gain an interest in the real world. We have some fascinating creatures on this planet. They really exist. And you can really see them with your own eyes.

Hell, butterflies even evolve.
Peacock caterpillar

Wild Caterpie appeared!

Look! A Butterfree!