Only those of you who have been living in an isolation chamber on Mars could have missed the meteoric rise of the telephone gaming application, Pokemongo. Now, seemingly everywhere is filled with people chasing down Waddles, Cattypies and Onion Turtles. It has launched a thousand worthless online thinkpieces, of which this is definitely not one. There’s no doubt about it-Pokemongo is here to stay! But what does that mean for us as queers, feminists and feminist queers? To answer this, we need to delve more deeply into the origins of the game.
Pokemongo, as everyone knows, is based on the wildly popular Chinese franchise Digimon. Pokemongo is short for “pocket mongo,” mongo being the martial arts style that the various in-game characters use to battle to the death in multicoloured arenas called “death hives.”
All 37 characters from the original 2007 game are included in this new version, with some additional guest appearances, such as 768th wave feminist and queer icon Miley Cyrus!
Flawless queen Miley Cyrus
And who can forget everyone’s favourite character: Peek -a-Boo!
Peek-a-Boo! I see you!
As queer feminist queers, there is much to celebrate in this game. It is jam packed with transgender and genderqueer characters, such as Muscle Guy, a trans man, Shell Tail, a trans woman, and Whirlygig, who chooses not to define xirself with a fixed gender but currently feels a strong draw to pixelboy/orbgender (game developers Sega have promised to update with hir preferences with each game update).
This is what queer representation looks like everyone. Game developers take note!
Sega have also confirmed that the three death hive leaders-Jeremy, Candida and Barbara are in a loving, polyamorous triad relationship: a brave shout-out to the poly community, who have to overcome prejudice, hatred, and worst of all, marginalisation every day. Not only that, but with the characters of Barbara and Candida both being self-identifying femmes, this increases bi visibility, at a time when it is well know that this is a serious problem, with bisexuals often complaining of being intermittently invisible-some even disappearing into different dimensions-due to this lack of visibility. By now, everyone will be aware of the tragic case of a bisexual woman who was attacked and injured whilst riding a bike, as when she disappeared from lack of visibility the seemingly riderless bike was set upon by ignorant passers by as a sign of witchcraft. Games like Pokemongo are helping millions to see that bisexuals actually exist, and are not invisible, but in fact, can usually be detected by the naked eye.
Whilst this is all very encouraging, Pokemongo is far from perfect and suffers from multiple problematic elements. One of the worst is the inclusion of controversial characters Vulva and Triple Dong, a slap in the face to the trans, genderqueer and intersex communities with their unashamed connection of female and maleness with genitalia. Triple Dong is bad enough, implying that transmen will never be real men if they don’t have not just one penis, but three, but Vulva is by far the worst, as it is offensive to transwomen, the most marginalised group in the lgbtqiapd+ community.
Trigger warning-offensive imagery below.
These images actively harm queers
And that isn’t even all. The game actively mocks people with STIs by naming death hive leader Candida after a thrush-causing fungus and the character Crabs, who is self explanatory. This is anti-sex propaganda and really needs to be taken out of a children’s game.
The game also caused a well-documented rift between feminist icon Paris Hilton and feminist icon Miley Cyrus, who both claimed that the in-game character was based on them. It looks like they eventually went with Miley but game developers Sony are keeping a tight lid on who the iconic character was designed to represent.
Distinguished disability rights campaigners such as Jack Monroe and Russel Brand have also spoken out about the game’s inherent ableism. Rewards are given for kilometers walked, which is a problem for trans women, who cannot leave the house without being attacked by drones controlled by Milo Yiannopoulos, who in an astonishing display of insensitivity, game developers Konami decided to actually include in the game:
Milo Yiannopoulos posing with his famous spoons
Konami have rejected suggestions that the game should be altered so it does not require leaving the house, nor does it agree that the game is ableist against people born with no eyes. This has been widely criticised, most famously by distinguished feminist rights campaigner and UN peace ambassador Katy Perry, who said on her tumblr “that’s like so fucking shitty i can’t even like omg”
To conclude-despite some nods to the queer community, Pokemongo remains too problematic to play, and if you do, you are a horrible privileged piece of shit and you should literally kill yourself. Pokemongo? More like PokemonNO!
If you want to make an official complaint to game developers Mattel, please make sure to email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. And be sure to show your support for the queer community by liking and sharing this article-by doing so you are saving LITERALLY millions of queer and trans lives.
About the author-Uticaria St-Clair is a queer, femme-identified queer genderfuck currently residing in New York. She likes coffee, writing thinkpieces for everydayfeminism.com and kicking the patriarchy’s stupid fucking ass. You can find her shaking her ass at the hottest queer bars in New York and hating all that is problematic, which is literally everything in the fucking world ever i can’t even.