Friday, January 25, 2013

Can Pokemon solve the Economy?

I've been too stressed lately, so I've decided to allow myself a little extra time every other day to play Pokemon. It helps me to relax and the more relaxed I am, the better I am at what I do.

Well it's probably no surprise to you why I chose Pokemon Black 2. It's in contrast to my copy of Pokemon White, and it has the same, awesome game mechanics I've loved since I first started playing Pokemon Silver in 2001. (Being broke makes you a late bloomer.) Also, the main female choice has a sincere air of familiarity to her that I simply can't ignore.

But there's a few other things about the series that I liked as a kid, and as an adult, I realize could be really useful outside of the classic RPG series. Ideas that if implemented, could turn our economy around, promote commerce and make life easier all around. So here's a short list of what I've found:

24 Hour Shops ~ In the Pokemon games, EVERYTHING is open all the time. Whether you're playing at 2 in the morning, 3:15 in the afternoon or 10 at night, everything is available to you. 

Not only does this help the economy of cities such as Nimbasa, Celedon and Goldenrod, it also generates enough commerce that in the most recent games, the shops start picking up more and more merchandise. Plus some stores offer incentives to buying things in bulk. 

For example, if you buy 10 Pokeballs, you get a Luxury Ball for free, thus giving the consumer a reason to return. 

And with everyone being employed around the clock, you never run across anybody homeless on the streets in these areas. If they're out and about, it's just them having down time.

NO curfew ~ Now this sounds like a strange one, because (if you've read my other blogs on kids) I am NOT a fan of kids acting like adults. However, in the games and in the anime/manga titles, there is no curfew at all. Meaning that being out late is not considered a taboo worth breaking. And if it's not a rule worth breaking, nobody ages 10 and above thinks about acting out about it. 

Now granted, it's creepy to see a tween out that late, and you worry about the adult creeps that target them, but then you have to worry about those creeps 24 hours a day, so inside or out, that threat doesn't go away.

But there's no teenage gangs roaming around, no parents screaming at their kids about how late they're out, and the best part? Because the police aren't busy playing babysitter to the runaways, they have all the extra time to focus on nabbing the REAL criminals. 

Think about it. Team Plasma, Rocket, Aqua, Magma, they're the only threat you have. The robbers, rapists, embezzlers, abusers and stock analysts are all BEHIND BARS. Why? Because Officer Jenny is spending more time keeping them under lock and key than she is worrying about Ash Ketchum being out past 11. 

24 Hour Schools And Daycare ~ While I'm not happy that after being told my character had to wait until she was over the age of 10 to get her Pokemon Trainer Card, I bumped into Preschooler Anklebiter ~ who just waltzed up on me with a Pokemon bigger than him, I will say this, the concept of a 24 hour school is genius.

It's 2 in the morning, and I walk into a preschool that is well lit, stocked with toys, and run by people giving these kids a real-world education. There's a four year old who just told my character all about potions and how to properly take care of a Pokemon, and another toddler just finished studying. Their parents are nowhere to be seen, but it's assumed they are at work, much like all the other adults I keep finding.

The teacher doesn't care if Mom and Dad drop Junior off at 1 in the morning or at 4 in the afternoon. They're more concerned with making sure he has his manners in check and that he's getting an education strong enough to take him into old age. 

If we had schools like this all over America, I wouldn't want to throw rocks at every establishment I see. All of the other schools are like this as well. You can read books at the Trainer school/college at all hours of the day and night, and bump into teachers just randomly giving out advice, even if you're not a student.

NO Obesity Nazis And Snack Food that's GOOD for you ~ I'm constantly complaining about these losers, especially on days where I see parents ~ fully grown ADULTS with jobs, money and a post-college brain in their heads ~ bullying kids into thinking that if you start getting a little chubby, Mommy and Daddy will hate you. So sick I am of seeing these kids ~ not even old enough to buy a sandwich by themselves ~ bullied by the people whose job it is to protect them. And yet more and more, I see these kids with full on anorexia, lethargic, out of breath, running themselves into an early grave, just because a few weirdos decided that you're morbidly obese every time you touch more than two carrot sticks.

So it's nice to see that in the Pokemon world, people are fine with you giving your Pokemon a Lemonade or a Soda Pop. Not only does it replenish their HP, it also makes them more friendly towards you, important if you're trying to obtain friendship-only evolutions like Azumarril or Togetic.

Snack Foods are cheap, and are not considered to be bad for anyone's health. So nobody bullies me when I purchase a Castelliacone or pick up a Rare Candy. People are just not that nosy, and I like that.

Medical and Grocery combo stores ~ This is a newer feature in the Black/White era. You walk into a PokeCenter, and not only can you heal your Pokemon, you can also buy food and supplies and even access a global battle/trade area.

True, some hospitals in the real world have little shops, but like airports, their goods are overpriced and of a low quality. And in this fast paced world, where you have to tend to the injured and sick in your family AND provide for the non hospital goers, adding regular shops with affordable goods can drive up commerce and create new jobs. This way, those who are waiting for a loved one can still buy a decent meal or obtain what they need when they go home, instead of sitting underneath a TV blasting crappy programming while trying to lie to yourself that a 3 year old issue of Newsweek Magazine is a thought-provoking read from unbiased writers.

It's amazing to me that a simple video game has all the answers to America's problems. Now if only someone was smart enough to implement them.

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