These "Pokemon Go" At The Tokyo Games Jokes Offer Up A Fantastic Idea For A New Olympic Sport
Aside from the actual sporting events themselves,"Pokemon Go" was all the rage at the Rio Olympics this year. The augmented reality app arrived in Rio just before the games, much to the delight of athletes like Japanese gymnast "King Kohei" Uchimura, who managed to rack up 500,000 yen ($4,961) in roaming charges playing the game. And if Twitter predictions are correct, there could be a lot more "Pokemon Go" at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. Or at least that's the wishful thinking that's happening right now.
Surprisingly, the app didn't make it into the otherwise extremely culturally aware preview performance of the Tokyo Olympics. There was anime, and the Japanese prime minister arrived as Mario. But there were no Pokemon to be found (or caught, for that matter). Japanese game designer Satoshi Tajiri, who originally created the game with the concept of insect collecting, is certainly one of the most prevalent figures in Japanese culture. The intro and accompanying videos could have been created before the phenomenon took hold this summer, which is really the only reason that it wouldn't have been included as part of the spectacle, considering its wild popularity currently.
Still, that didn't stop Twitter from speculating about the role of "Pokemon Go" in the 2020 Olympics. Perhaps it was the absence of the game from the preview that fueled the speculation, but it was definitely in full bloom on social media. From the way Twitter is talking now, catching 'em all will certainly be a new sport the likes of surfing and skateboarding in 2020. Will it actually be part of the Olympic Games? No, of course not. But Twitter had a lot of fun speculating on Tajiri's phenomenon and its potential role four long years from now. Something tells me that the hype won't have died down.
But it wasn't just the next Olympics that people were linking the game to. "Pokemon Go" made an appearance in the narrative of current Olympians. Is there actually any other way to catch Usain Bolt?
And some people are looking even further ahead, which is simultaneously terrifying and reassuring for those of us who haven't been training for the next Olympics.
"Pokemon Go," after all, seems a little bit easier to get down than the uneven bars on the gymnastics side of things.