Pokemon

Greetings fellow travelers. We here at The NYRD have been out on the road, seeing sights, looking for adventure, and trying to catch ’em all. Yes, we’re talking about Pokémon, because much like the rest of the country we have also been caught up in the craze of Pokémon Go, but unlike the rest of the country we thought our road trip across America would be a good opportunity to really explore the limits of this new augmented reality game that has very quickly revolutionized how ew think of phone games.

I Choose You
20160716_135708Just two days after the games release in the USA the newest Pokémon game had already been installed by more than 5% of Android users. That may not sound like much but consider that means it was installed on more phones than Tinder, and people didn’t just let it sit there either. Over 60% of people who downloaded the app have continued to use it daily. It has about the same daily usage as Twitter, and the numbers are still going up. The average use time per day is about 43 minutes, which is more than the average person used Instagram, SnapChap, or visits The NYRD. Thanks to the massive release, Nintendo’s stock has surged 20% and it gave the game company its best day on the stock market since 1983, which was before most of our staff was even born.

However, there are some downsides. There have been plenty of humorous stories of people who were too busy trying to catch their eighth Pidgey to pay attention to where they were walking. Some people have fallen off cliffs, fallen into water, and one even caused a very serious car acciden, though there is some debate over that. In fact, more than once on our journey across this nation we had to stop Todd from walking into a building or large southern men who, “don’t take too kindly to yankee types,” which is absurd because we don’t even follow baseball.

Despite all the bad press the game is getting it is worth mentioning that Pokémon Go is the popularization of something new in our society. It is a game that encourages people to get out of their homes and interact with the environment, even if part of the environment is digital. The app is making kids walk and run and explore the world we live in. It is no coincidenc that there are PokeStops at all significant and historic locations in almost every area of the country, and trust us we know. The game even changes what Pokemon a person can find based upon the time of day and the area someone is in.

What the Psyduck?
Of course, in our own adventures we have encountered a lot of different pokemon. Unfortunately, we can’t really answer the question you are probably asking? Do you catch special pokemon in historic or significant locations? Well, we never came across any legendary ones, but we definitely encountered high level and more exotic pokemon in certain areas, such as Niagara Falls -which by the way offers free wifi on the American side- We cannot say for certainty that going to national parks or similar sites will net you anything that you can really show off to your friends. Yet, we still recommend you go all the same, because these are just cool sites to visit.

We can tell you however, that playing Pokémon Go alongside the Mississipi River or through the streets of Chicago or even in the parking lot of some roadside motel that we happen to be staying definitely enhances the experience. It is also a great way to meet people. We have not visited a single city or even café yet where we have not overheard people comparing their pokedex or talking about where they found this Evee, or why Team Instinct is the worst. Bumping into people with their head buried in their phones is very common these days and it makes it very easy to start conversations.

“Hey did you see that Zubat over there?”

“No, do you want to be best friends forever?”

“Of course.”

See how easy that was, but we have also noticed that Pokémon Go is doing more than just enhancing personal relationships or personal waistlines. A lot of businesses are getting in on the action. It has not been uncommon in our travels to find businesses that are regularly putting down lure to draw in Pokémon and paying customers. There is even a story about police using Pokémon lures to catch fugitives, which is pretty awesome. However, the technique works particularly well in cafes or other business where people can sip their coffee, chat with friends, and enslave poor defenseless creatures in a case the size of a baseball. Its basically a win-win for everyone, except that poor Pikachu that got nabbed by the cops for all those unpaid parking tickets.

A Magikarp Ride
Really, we just want to report that the state of the Pokemon Union is strong. People all over the country are mindlessly wandering around state parks and into traffic. We know that this is not the first AR or environment interaction game, lest we forget geocaching. Ultimately, we believe that this newest use of crude but effective augmented reality is a step in the right direction. The best part is that the game will only keep growing with the possibilities of new Pokémon, trainer battles, and a slew of other possibilities. At the very least, Pokémon Go is getting people active again and interacting with the world and each other in new and previously unthought-of ways.

Also there is nothing so unifying as being a bunch of thirty year old adults excitedly squealing over finding a Squirtle, and then rubbing it into face of a group of twelve year olds. Truly, we live in a magical time.

Until next time, keep watching our adventures on SnapChat at thenyrd.
Snapchat-6241627312981046618

Snapchat-6241627312981046618Excelsior, heroes, and welcome to our first installment of the The NYRD Trip. It’s a lot like a regular road trip except much nerdier. In the coming weeks our crew will be traveling around the United States to see some sights, have some experiences, and probably raid a few comic book shops along the way. You can follow along with us at SnapChat, username: thenyrd. However, we thought it would be best to kick this thing off in our very own home town, New York City, nerd capital of the world.

New York, Like in the Movies
Let’s start with the Geekiest locations. New York houses everything from MiB’s secret headquarters to Peter Parker’s Queen’s home to Mario Brother’s Plumbing. Of course, in our humble opinion nothing beats the Ghostbusters firehouse located at the corner of Varick and North Moore in Downtown. Unfortunately, the building is currently under construction and obscured by scaffolding that sort of takes away from the iconic look of the place. You can find a lot more in BuzzFeed’s Ultimate Nerd Guide to New York.

We would like to add that we are also fans of Hell’s Kitchen, the Midtown neighborhood that sits across the Hudson from Jersey. It’s not so much that we sit on rooftops and look for Daredevil –though we’re also not saying that we don’t do that– but if you are looking for trendy food and some decent craft beer we recommend the area. In fact, you couldn’t swing a Kingpin and not hit a place to find a decent drink and burger. You can also take a walk down to Luke Cage’s office on West 42nd Street, if you’re feeling so inclined.

However, if that doesn’t grab you we also heavily recommend the Natural History Museum. Chances are you won’t become locked in there for the night when all the exhibits come to life –they totally do– but it is just a really cool place to spend an afternoon. You need to stand under a giant blue whale at least once in your life, and while you’re in the vicinity make sure to head over to one of the greatest Mecca’s of Nerdom, the Hayden Planetarium. Home to the Cullman Hall of the Universe, and resting place of Neil deGrasse Tyson, at least when he is not out saving the galaxy from Skrulls and incorrect movie science. Just remember to check it out early as the planetarium often closes before 6:00 pm.

The In’s and Outcasts
Aside from all the iconic sights, New York also offers a lot of pretty unique and nerdy experiences. For comic book fanatics we suggest Forbidden Planet in Greenwich Village, Bulletproof Comics in Brooklyn, and of course –our personal favorite- Midtown Comics, in one of their Midtown or Downtown Manhattan locations. With several floors and stores of comics, memorabilia, and back issues you are certainly going to find something worth spending your cash on. Lastly, don’t miss out on the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company in Brooklyn. They sell everything from capes to utility belts. You can purchase anything you need to feel like an actual superhero, and it also helps that the store is a charity that raises money for a non-profit tutoring and writing center for kids called 826 NYC.

For gamers you can always check out the Sony NY Headquarters or the Rockefeller GameStop location to try out some pretty cool demos. However, we would also recommend you take a trip into Brooklyn to spend a night drinking and playing at Barcade. Other places of interest include Nintendo NY in Rockefeller Plaza, VideoGamesNewYork in the East Village, and Tekserve in Chelsea if you ever interested in buying electronics or fixing your computer at a business that is not shaped like a giant glass box.

For literary Geeks there are amazing bookstores such as the famous Strand Bookstore in Union Square, the Housing Works Bookstore Café in SoHo, Desert Island in Brooklyn, and St. Mark’s Bookshop, which is unfortunately closed forever as of February… bastards. So unless you have a time machine, we’re not even sure why we mentioned this last one.

For hobbyists and board gamers we recommend, The Twenty Sided Store in Brooklyn and the Compleat Strategist in Midtown. Between these two stores there is almost no game you will not be able to purchase. If you are obsessed with collectibles and toys make sure to check out, Toy Tokyo in the East Village, The Lego Store in Rockefeller Plaza, and Dinosaur Hill also in the East Village, especially if you’re into puppets.

Changing of the Geek Seasons
Those are just some of the year-round places to visit, but New York is always a hub of activity and changing attractions. Regardless of when you visit you need to stop by Discovery Times Square to see what exhibits they have going on. As of this writing they are showcasing costumes from all the Star Wars movies, as well as an exhbit on Vikings, and of course the world famous Bodies exhibit. You know… if you like looking at dead people. You can also stop over at the Intrepid Air and Space Museum for a wide range of exhibits on air and space, including the actual NASA shuttle, Enterprise. Currently, the Intrepid is also running a showcase on the other Enterprise, with its 50 years of Star Trek exhibit. Lastly, make sure to check out the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Met may not seem overtly nerdy until you realize that you can see real-life medieval knight armor in the same place as Japanese samurai memorabilia and ancient Egyptian artifacts. The Met also has several rotating galleries of cool and trendy exhibits, and a rooftop exhibit.

All in all we could go on for much longer about all the nerdy and geeky things to do here in New York. Remember you are always invited for a visit. New Yorkers love tourists, unless it’s between the hours of 7:00 am and 9:00 am or 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm on Monday to Friday, then we hate you. Get off the street, we’re trying to get to and/or from work.

It is tourist season in NYC and maybe that’s why -as much as we love this city- we need to get out of it for a bit. So we will be hitting the road for the next few weeks. Make sure to check back to see our stories and find out what we discover as we trek across this great country. We will be positing pictures and stories here and on our SnapChat, -thenyrd- so stay tuned and hit us up to let us know what you want to see most out there in the wide nerd yonder.