Probably Pokemon

Remember that post, called Probably Potter, that I wrote last summer?

Well, even if you don’t remember, I do: I wanted to use a well-known vehicle (Harry Potter) to gather data, crunch the numbers, and explain why our intuitive sense of probability isn’t just off center, but often entirely backwards.

Turns out the probability of my following through with it was an absolute nil.

But now I’m back! And I’ve discovered an even better approach to probability–Pokemon! And this time, I don’t have to crunch the numbers. I just have to explain them.

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The Inevitable Return of Pokemon Wednesday: A Retrospective

Can you believe I’ve been blogging for ten years? It’s true: I first created The Writingwolf on January 1, 2010. (That’s why my Twitter and Instagram handles are Writingwolf2010.) A whole decade of blogging has passed. My life has changed in many insurmountable and unpredictable ways, but one thing has always remained: My love of Pokemon.

On the surface, Pokemon is a game about collecting and competition. There’s the challenge of getting all the things, then there’s the challenge of battling and defeating all the other things. It’s the best possible fusion of stamp collecting and Rock-Paper-Scissors that has ever been made. And yet, if this is all you get from Pokemon, you’re missing a lot.

Pokemon–as I’ve addressed at various times throughout the life of my blog–is also a game about adventure, overcoming adversity, and constantly challenging yourself to explore, fail, get up again, learn, grow, and then repeated the process to become a better person. It’s a perfect parable for the journey of life itself.

I’ve been wanting to do a grand reflection on my last ten years of blogging, but I just haven’t felt inspired. Then it came to me: Why not use my unending love for Pokemon as the vehicle through which I explore the last decade of my life (and then some)?

So with no further ado, let the adventure begin.

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The African Pokemon Safari

When Pokemon Go launched a little more than a year ago, players quickly discovered that some Pokemon were regional exclusives–that in order to catch ’em all, you’d have to travel the world.

And by the world, Pokemon Go meant North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia.

But fear not, global majorities! Gen II made this distribution more equal.

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Pokemon Go: A Retrospective

One year and two days ago, Pokemon Go reinvented the mobile gaming landscape and reignited a craze that has gone on for over two decades. But in the wake of early crashes and frenzied, frustrated players, how far has the game come, and how much further must it go not only to satisfy its fans but also to survive?

In this retrospective, we will confront the major problems still blighting players and lay forth some suggestions for how Nintendo and Niantic can overcame these ails. In particular, we will focus on three themes: player engagement through playing together, the updated Gym system and the game’s multiple currencies, and the inequality perpetuated by the game mechanics themselves.

So join me on this adventure and get ready to Go.

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Pokemon Wednesday: This is the Best Clickbait-Inspired Title I Could Think of, and Here’s Why

I have a confession to make: I didn’t study for my algebraic topology midterm because I couldn’t stop playing Pokemon.

The truth is, for the last eighteen years (and I’m turning 27, so that’s two-thirds of my life), Pokemon has been one of the few constants from year to year: Pokemon was there when I played with my friends in Hebrew school; Pokemon was there when my parents my separated and I went back and forth between my parents houses while my mom was at school; and Pokemon was there when I began college myself and needed something, or anything, to pass the time when I wasn’t studying.

And Pokemon was also there when I should’ve been studying last week. In fact, Pokemon–in its many iterations–has been keeping me from homework for a long time.

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Monsters in My Pocket

Sometimes we’ve got a weight on our shoulders, keeping us down and preventing us from moving forward, and sometimes it’s more of a weight in our pockets–we feel it, and it’s not going anywhere, but we’ve got to carry it forward until we’re able to let it go.

Letting go isn’t always an option in our control. Right now the monstrous weight in my pocket is the wait to marry the man I love, just to see him again: we’re a binational couple going through the immigration process, and even though this burden grows heavier every day, we can do nothing to set it down any sooner–it’s in the hands of someone else.

So we do what we can to pass the time. This is how I’ve carried these pocket monsters.

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Pokemon Wednesday: Man vs Nature

Have you ever started writing with a point in mind, and noticed by the time you finished writing you’d never really gotten there? Earlier this week I wrote a post about mourning monsters–reflecting on the inspiration that childhood pastimes like Pokemon and Digimon gave me (and continue to give me)–but that hadn’t been my intent.

Not my original intent anyways.

Instead I wanted to write something wild. A story of man against nature.

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Mourning Monsters

I lack the gravitas to make light of a serious situation. More so I lack the gusto to make a light situation serious. Yet of late, lightness has ruled my days: Against my own wishes, I have slept in later than desired all week, and once I’m awake, old obsessions mesmerize my mind and threaten to steal every ounce of sanity.

Perhaps it’s my summer sloth slowing me down, or perhaps there’s more at stake.

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Survival Instincts

Today officially began my semester. I woke up before the sun (but not as early as yesterday) and trudged out to my first course. I left earlier than I actually had to and therefore was almost an hour early.

I took my seat casually, somewhat thankful I wasn’t the first one there. I withdrew my iPad to fiddle with for a bit, eager to distract myself, yet still eager for classes to begin.

Had I known what the day would bring, I’d have felt differently.

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The Long-Awaited If Brief Return of Pokemon Wednesday

Or, the Brief If Long-Awaited Return of Pokemon Wednesday

One of my earliest memories is playing the NES in our living room or watching as my siblings make Mario run through worlds and worlds of varying difficulty, envious of how much better they were than I was. I remember, when we lived in upstate New York, getting the hand-me-down NES games from a neighbor and I remember being at friends’ houses and watching them in awe on the Genesis and SNES.

Then I remember my grandparents coming up to North Carolina near my tenth birthday, but before I can get to this, let me take a step back. I remember, in religious school, watching the older children crowding around their Game Boys, playing this awesome new game called Pokemon. It blew my mind away, how fun it looked! And then my best friend got the game and I wanted that game.

But my mother told me no.

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