Sumofale – Week 8

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Somewhere between reading the 145th and 163rd article about Pokémon Go I decided I should try the app that everyone’s going crazy about and see what it was all about. After all, in it’s 3rd day on the market Pokémon Go had more than twice the number of installs as Tinder and almost as many daily users as Twitter.

First of all, what the hell is Pokémon Go? I’m glad you asked, because I’m still not entirely sure. It’s an Augmented Reality (AR, if you’re a douchebag in the “Tech Space”) game, where you try to capture a bunch of animal-like creatures. You do so by walking around the real world (IRL, for the kids), which then translates to moving your avatar around the map by using your phone’s GPS. You then run into Pokémons as you walk around, which is signified by your phone vibrating, which is a little alarming. When you tap on them, the game then uses your camera and maps the Pokemon onto your camera’s viewfinder. The result is you see Spearow in the real world:

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You then flick the red and white PokéBall up at the Pokémon over and over again until you hit it in the head. The ball opens and sucks the Pokémon inside, kinda like the Ghostbusters trap. And yes, that is me attempting to catch a fake bird, in the middle of a crosswalk in downtown Manhattan. People will most certainly die playing this game.

There are also PokéStops. PokéStops are places where you can check in and pick up shit, like more Pokéballs, Pokémon pheromones to attract more Pokémons (come here you sexy, little Pokémons!), and more lives for Pokémon battles. I’m not quite sure if there’s anything more to it than that, but they do entice you to keep checking into them. Each time you go to one, you think “Okay, I got some stuff. Now what?” You feel a little annoyed, but then you find yourself walking down the block to the next one.

These PokéStops can be anything from the “Authentic” Irish Pub downstairs from my office:

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To random “architecture”:

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To Strip Clubs:

I was pretty bummed that the Vivid Cabaret near my office didn’t end up being a PokéStop. Would’ve been great for research. I mean…

There are also Pokémon “Gyms” which are places where I guess you do battle with other Pokémon players. But, not really? I guess the Pokémons you do battle with are computer controlled, so it’s more like a place where you can leave your Pokémon and hope it doesn’t get killed by some other person when they bring there Pokémon around. I guess it’s like if Michael Vick ran a doggie day care?

I missed out on the fun of running around with the rest of the internet world this weekend, but I wanted to test it out anyway, so YOU can have a hands on look at what playing this game is like. I decided to play this game as it was meant to be played, walking around, staring at my phone screen ignoring the outside world at my own peril. I walked to and from work several times this week in an attempt to “Catch em all!” Here are my observations, and unfortunately, I did not get laid.

This app is kinda terrible. Here’s why:

1. This app crashes. A lot.

I work for a digital services agency that builds apps and websites. I would be SUPED if we could put out a product that was THIS popular and crashed THIS often. It crashes and completely quits about every 6 or 7 times you play it, but also freezes and needs to be restarted even more frequently than that. Yet, everyone’s like “But I gotta keep playing!!”

2. Their servers are overloaded anywhere between 10% and 70% of the time.

Look I understand, they had no idea the game was going to be THIS popular. But there are times when so many people are using this game, that it basically throws up it’s hands and says “Nah.”

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And when you can get in, there’s a lot of walking around the map with no locations to go to:

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Or going to a location that their server can’t find:

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3. There are no instructions.

If you read this post and got the vibe that I only, kinda, sorta knew what I was doing, that’s because there isn’t really anything telling you what you are doing. There is a help section that tells you what the PokéStops and Gyms are, but they don’t tell you why you want to go there. Or, you know, what the point of catching Pokémons are. I guess you can set up your own PokéStops and Gyms, but I have no idea how to do that.

Every time you catch a Pokémon, there is a brief animation where the Pokéball rattles around as if to show the Pokémon is trying to get out. Sometime they do! It’s super annoying because then you have to try and hit them in the head with a ball again. So I’ve started to tap on the little ball when it rattles around. I’m pretty sure this is doing nothing, but sometimes, maybe it works? Again, no instructions to let me know if this is a thing or not.

4. It cooks your battery and gobbles data.

Imagine you were driving for a couple hours and you were using Google Maps for directions, but the turn-by-turn directions that super-conveniently reroute you when there’s traffic. But then, you were also using Spotify to listen to music. And doing a google image search. All at the same time. All on data. That’s basically the same thing as what this app is doing to your phone. On a walk after work of about half an hour, Pokémon Go went through 180 MB of data and 35% of my battery.

5. This game is literally dangerous.

And no, I’m not talking about, “you’ll get addicted and spend all your money” dangerous. I’m talking about “walking across the street while staring at your phone because Pokémons tend to be on street corners” dangerous. I’m talking about “Getting into car accidents” dangerous. I’m talking about “these motherfuckers setting up a PokéStop to rob people” dangerous. Don’t play this game!

This app is kinda incredible. Here’s why:

1. Everyone is playing it.

This App was released in the middle of last week and instantly exploded. It immediately became part of the zeitgeist. Hundreds, if not thousands, went to Central and Prospect Parks to catch Pokemons. 2,000 people met in the middle of Sydney to play together. There are bar crawls scheduled in Brooklyn (with 300 people going and another 1600 interested) and San Francisco (with 4600 people going and 22 THOUSAND people interested!!). Each day, I saw a half dozen people playing it on my walk home, and those were the people where I could creepily see what was on their phone screens. I saw a dude with TWO fucking phones and he playing it on BOTH! There’s a guy on the other side of the office is playing it, right now. Seriously. I just got an email from a recruiting agency, that for some reason thinks I’m in any way in charge of personnel at our company, referencing Pokémon Go (“we’re experts in catching the best creative talent for you”). Last weekend, the average user was using it almost as long as Snapchat and Instagram, COMBINED. Even if those who have no idea what it is, they will still have to prepare an old-man, fiery hot take that they don’t care about this stupid Pokie Man.

2. They figured out how to implement AR that everyone enjoys.

Augmented and Virtual Reality are two of the trendiest technologies for new apps. For some reason people think this is the future, even though VR gives people motion sickness. Investors can’t throw enough money at AR/VR apps. Everyone asks my boss what we’re doing in AR & VR. But until now, there hasn’t really been any success with these types of games and apps. All Pokémon has done is put a dumb little Caterpie on top of your camera screen, and people can’t get enough of it. Get ready for a Sunday New York Times piece on Augmented Reality.

3. It makes people go outside.

We can forget about all the subliminal messaging (you’re constantly training your Pokémons, and you always need to go to Gyms), the only way for you to be good at this game is to literally leave you house and walk around. Look at all these fat nerds who are complaining about their legs being sore.

4. Its very good at making you want to play it.

I have no idea why, but I kept playing Pokémon Go. It’s not exactly fun. Every time I checked a PokéStop, I picked up 3 more Pokéballs and then felt dumb. I then thought “OOO! There’s another one right over there!” I kept catching the same goddamn Pokémons, over and over and over again. Fuck Zubat! In my first, let’s call it, 20 minutes playing the game (I checked in periodically while at work the first day I downloaded it) I caught 13 Zubats. By the end of 3 days, I had 35. Ugh, look at Zubat, so wack! It just flaps its wings frantically like a spastic kid after drinking Kool-Aid all day. But then I see another goddamn Zubat flying right next to me on the map and I then spend 30 seconds flicking little red balls at him. Also, battles aren’t fun. Especially since the Pokémons at gyms are waaaayy more powerful than your weak little Zubats. Typical gym rats (Gym Rattatas!!), just sitting at the gym all day, getting huge, staring at themselves in the mirror, making us Normals feel bad for trying to work out. But there has to be some reason for collecting all these stupid Pokémons, right? Better hit the gym.

Takeaways

This will not be the last you hear of Pokémon Go. It’s basically the most successful app ever, making it to the top of the App Store in 4.5 hours (which is a record) and after only a day after launch, it is the 5th top grossing app in the U.S., beating out Clash of Clans and Candy Crush. In less than a week, Nintendo added $9 BILLION to its current value, and Pokémon Go has yet to be released in the UK, Europe and Japan, where the entire country might just shut down, but ironically all be outside.

As I was walking around playing, I found myself looking at other people staring at their phones, wondering if they were playing too*. But, I had no sense of camaraderie while I was walking around playing. Instead, I was super embarrassed about it. God bless those Millennials and their lack of giving a fuck. They just walk around, faces glued to their phones and yell to each other about how they just caught a Cougray or a Falcane or a Rabbeet**. Me? I held my phone in the most nonchalant, non-obvious way, and if someone walked by, ZOOP! Phone in the pocket. This game made me feel like too much of a nerd, and I’ve spent my whole life being told nerds are lame.

*Turns out, when you’re actually looking around, actively noticing who’s got their phone out, IT’S A LOT! Like 5 or 6 different people! At least!

**I made those up. Pokémon names are just slightly messed up versions of real animal names.

Overall, this game may be fun… but also may not be fun. I played a lot of it in the beginning, and found myself absentmindedly reaching for my phone to check it. But I didn’t get enough out of it to think it was fun. I can see myself continuing to play this for a little while, then playing less and less, deleting it from my phone and not caring. Maybe if Jen had it, and I could kick the crap out of her Pokémons with my Pokémons, then it would be super fun. Instead, I’m just walking around the East Village wishing that a real pigeon was a Pidgey, so I could flick fake red balls at it.

Maybe we all should just go eat some Poke, instead.

NY Magazine, of course, has excellent roundups of everything Pokémon: What is Pokémon Go? and Pokémon Go Took Over the World This Weekend

Weekend Breakdown

The Secret Life of Pets, or SLOP, for short, was anything but a secret this week as it crushed its $80 million estimate, bringing in $104 million. This led to SLOP being this weekend’s Best Performer at $126.3K per Bux.

It was a good weekend for Butts, as Dead and Turbo took first and second place, respectively. Liz followed her love of puppies and kitties to the promised land, as she was the only person in our league to grab SLOP, and won the weekend with a total of $119.7M. Tarzan ($21M) and Mike & Dave ($16.6M) had good weekends as well, both averaging over $100k per Bux. Andy grabbed Tarzan x1 and Mike & Dave x3 which helped him pull in $93M. Jenny and Danny both grabbed Nemo ($20.8M) (Jenny x2, Danny x1) and Tarzan, and ended up being only separated by only $300k. Danielle went Nemo and Tarzan as well, which helped her to 5th place. Her downfall was grabbing The BFG ($7.8M), but more on that in a second. Sean went Nemo x3 and Farting Dead Guy Movie x3, which put him in 6th this week with $81M, but only $700k behind Danielle.

The “F” in The BFG may as well stand for “flop” because it pulled in a not-so-giant $7 million, $5 million less than estimates for the weekend. May as well be The BS G. Get it?! The estimated $12 million gave it an estimated average of $120k per Bux, which led to me and Tanya* grabbing it 6 times each. Instead, it pulled in $82k per Bux and killed us both.

*I’ve been told Tanya does what she wants, it’s just her lineups tend to reflect the more analytical predictions, so I make assumptions. 

That’s what I get for listening to the nerds. Of course, this week, I’ll be like, “Fuck you and your averages and hypotenuses!!” and then their predicted best lineup will be the best lineup.

Perfect Cineplex

The Secret Life of Pets ($104M)* x1 / Independence Day: Resurgence ($7.8M) x1 / The Shallows ($4.8M) x1 / Now You See Me 2 ($1.3M) x2 / X-Men: Apocalypse ($401K) x3 = $127,808,412

*Best Performer of the Weekend = 2M bonus, Perfect Cineplex receives a $5M bonus

Coming Attractions

We’ve reached the half-way point! There are 7 weeks left. Downhill from here on out. This week gives us Ghosts, Narcos and wrestlers! Three very well received movies out this weekend…

Ghostbusters ($645)

I’m having a hard time with this movie because Ghostbusters is one of my all-time favorite movies. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve seen it. I’m one of those annoying people that you can’t stand to watch it with because I know every word. So, unlike a lot of other Twitter eggs out there, my hesitation for this movie does not come from a place of #sexism. I’d be upset by a Ghostbusters remake even if it starred Tom Brady, Ron Swanson, The Rock, and Big Papi. AND I think these women are incredibly talented! I’d go see any movie staring Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy and Kate McKinnon (I don’t watch SNL anymore, so I don’t know anything about Leslie Jones, #racism, I guess), especially if it were directed by Paul Feig. The Heat was awesome. So was Spy. And of course, so was Bridesmaids. We don’t need to remake EVERYTHING. Put these four women in a movie (and don’t forget about the better Hemsworth, of course), have Paul Feig direct it, but have them be astronauts instead of ghostbusters and I’m all in!

Thankfully, the movie is really good. It’s “Certifiably Fresh” with a score of 74%. Though I can’t get a read on whether that means anything, because the bad reviews are basically given out by “Haters” and the good reviews are mostly: “Don’t be a Hater.” The one consensus between the Haters and non-Haters is that it’s better than the second one, at least. I don’t know. I’m going to see this movie, I just don’t know how much money and effort I’m going to spend trying to see it.

The 1984 Ghostbusters opened to $34 million when you adjust its original $13 million to 2016 dollars. It was also #1 seven weeks in a row and never lost more than 15% from weekend to weekend for 3 straight months. I looked at Spy as another comparison and that opened at $29 million and The Heat opened to $39 million, but those movies were R-rated. I’d make a guess that this was in the $40-45 million range, but Box Office Pro has it closer to $55 million, which may be more accurate if a bunch of kids go, because to them Bill Murray is a grampa, Dan Aykroyd is fat, and Harrold Ramis is dead. Ugh.

$55 million at $645 Bux gives you and average of $85k per Bux, which puts this movie right in the hard decision zone. Which sounds about right, because I spent about 8-months either talking myself into or out of this movie. What’s a few more days?

The Infiltrator ($90)

If you like Netflix, you’ll love this movie. Take a huge slab of Breaking Bad‘s Brian Cranston. Mix together Law & Order‘s Benjamin Bratt and Bloodline‘s John Leguizamo. Take that mixture and sprinkle it all over your Brian Cranston. Now set your Narcos* to Medium High. Once that’s nice and hot, put the Brian Cranston on the Narcos for about 120 minutes, being sure to turn it every 15 minutes, or so. Pull it off and serve.

*Or as it’s known in my household: NAARRRCCOOOOOOOOOOOOSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This movie is teetering on the point of Fresh and Rotten. Every time I check, it changes. It was at 60% when I started this post, then it dipped to 59%, then back up to 62%. It’s probably something different, even now. This has airplane movie written all over it.

Box Office estimates are just under $5 million. Even at the low price of $90 Bux, for a new opening, that gives it a per Bux average of less than $55k. More like Outfiltrator.

Sultan ($16)

Sultan actually came out last weekend, but was unavailable. It made $2.4 million from only 283 theaters, which was enough to make it in the top-10. You would think it will probably increase the amount of theaters it’s in, which would compensate for the drop from weekend to weekend. If this movie makes $2 million, it will average $125k per Bux, which would a great way to fill out those empty spots at the end of your roster. It’s risky, but it could pay off.

Shade of the Week

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Have a good weekend everyone!

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