Pokemon Go, an augmented reality mobile game based on Nintendo’s Pokemon series, is the latest craze taking over the globe. Pokemon Go places virtual Pokemon on a real world GPS map, encouraging players to capture, collect, and battle the Pokemon to take over gyms (based mostly at churches) for one of three teams: Instinct, Mystic, or Valor. The craze has raised numerous important sociological questions: will the game help its players to get fitter, more sociable, and more confident in the outdoors? Will it increase trespassing, car accidents, and cellphone theft? Pokemon Go offers invaluable opportunities for social studies, but right now, the most important question to ask is this:
What if horses could play Pokemon Go?
Naturally, this would have many fascinating effects, and as a budding philosopher specialising in nonsense, it is my humble duty to speculate on what these might be.
1. Racing stables would be empty, and church parking areas would look like the Blue Moon Races from ‘Racing Stripes’, because all racehorses would put their competitive spirit to good use battling gyms, rather than running races. They’d want to be the very best, like no-one ever was.
2. The world’s landfills would be composed of at least 70% ‘crushed smartphone’ from horses trying to figure out how to swipe their hooves over the screen to catch Pokemon.
3. Stampedes would be common in cities and other Pokemon-heavy areas, due to the pre-catch spooking ritual of equine Pokemon trainers. (You’d get a fright too if a Pikachu suddenly appeared outside your local McDonalds)
4. All equestrian competitions would end once horses started telling their riders “you don’t have enough badges to train me”, and taking spontaneous naps mid-course.
5. After finding that they could transfer their Pokemon in return for candies, horses would immediately start attempting to transfer their owners to all local professors in the hope that they might score some carrots in return.
6. There would finally be more Team Instinct players.
7. There would be a massive niche in the market for hoof-proof smartphones, resulting in phones and tablets becoming even more ridiculously large than they already are, and making hipsters look even more ridiculously stupid when they stand around taking videos on tablets the size of half a rugby field.
8. Grass types would become far more popular. And more rare. And maybe extinct... Yum.
9. Hacking out would become the only viable riding activity, once horses saw the opportunities for Pokemon-catching and egg-hatching.
10. Students the world over would start theorizing over what the world would be like if horses didn’t play Pokemon Go, if only to avoid doing real work for just a few hours longer.
In conclusion, if horses could play Pokemon Go, well... Life would be weird. Really weird.
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