The year is 2016, groups of youths gather menacingly in public places. What are they up to? Dealing? Scheming? Plotting to overthrow Boomers once and for all?
Actually, they are catching cartoon ‘animals’ on their smartphones. Yes Pokemon Go famously got youths out into the great outdoors… to stare at their screens and ignore the great outdoors.
It was – and I’m sure still is – an addictive little game which drained your phone’s battery as quickly as it drained your enjoyment of the simplicity of nature. Yes it was a thrill to catch your favourite Pokemon at your favourite football stadium, or to catch them anywhere really, the technology at the time was astounding. But there were stories of graves being vandalised, flowerbeds being trampled and near misses as screen-transfixed-teens walked onto roads.
One day my son (who was 8 years old at the time) witnessed me competitively obsessing about Pokemon in a leafy beauty spot, so he gave me the sage old advice to “just enjoy the walk.”
I think augmented reality works really well when it enhances or explains what’s around; but when it overlays it for its own entertainments sake, it is a nice novelty, but you could just be missing out on the important beauty of plain old reality.