by William Needham Finley IV™

Is Pokémon Go the new DrunkTown?

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Pokémon No: Raleigh Parks Close at Dusk

Pokémania hit its first setback this weekend in Raleigh. Citing “rules” that city parks are to close at dusk, police asked a crowd of around 100 Pokémon Go players to leave downtown’s Nash Square on Friday night. Read our Pokémon Go guide if you still aren’t familiar with the game.

Since we live in the age of outrage, a debate over the use of parks ensued. Thought leaders started conversations about the issue of park usage as it relates to urban innovation, downtown residents moaned about keeping Raleigh boring, etc. The main question is, should people who are simply playing a video game and practicing abstinence be forced to leave a park after dusk? Our dear friend Brooke Cain at the News & Observer asked city councilors Mary Ann Baldwin, Bonner Gaylord, and Mayor Nancy McFarlane about the hours of operation of downtown squares.

According to the reply, Raleigh parks are open from “dawn to dusk”, which sounds like a law created in the Old West. Cain posed a legitimate followup question, which city hero Bonner Gaylord replied to.

As usual, Bonner knocked it out of the park by saying he’d look into it with the rest of the council. That isn’t sarcasm, he’s a busy dude and took the time to respond to a question about parks and Pokémon on Twitter. Respect.

This seems like an open and shut case. City parks close at dusk and the police were just trying to keep people safe.

I was ready to let this one go, but then I spent all weekend watching the first season of Stranger Things (review coming soon) and now assume everything is a conspiracy.

So who is really behind the Nash Square Poké-crackdown? Could it be Dan Dabnuts, the same guy who was allegedly behind the famous DrunkTown ads? He’s been quiet since those ads came out. Almost too quiet. It seems like the Poké-commotion would cause him to loathe all the crowds that have popped up around downtown. While he’s probably working on his next “Pokémon Town” ad campaign featuring Mike Tomatosoupasaurus, we still aren’t sure what he would have to gain from a deserted Nash Square.

While investigating the usual suspects of any conspiracy (Trolley Pubs, the CIA, etc.) we came across a recap of the Nash Square incident from Josh Shaffer. Josh works at the News & Observer with Brooke Cain, making him the second N&O employee to come out against the policing of the park. That made us wonder why so many people at the N&O were pro-Pokémon.

Josh’s story ends with an impassioned plea to allow people to use Nash Square after dusk. This was the smoking gun. The N&O isn’t concerned with whether people enjoy downtown. After all, the N&O was the paper that agreed to run the original DrunkTown ad. The N&O is using Pokémon Go to attract potential customers, especially kids under the age of 16, who have never even seen a newspaper before.

Think about it. The N&O office is located right next to Nash Square, which is also conveniently located next to the Avery C. Upchurch Municipal Complex that houses the city council. When things form a triangle on a map you know it’s a conspiracy.

Nash Knoll

Twitter evidence shows rampant use of lures, which attract Pokémon to the area, by N&O upper management.

Even the Executive Editor of the N&O did his part to bait potential customers to Nash Square. They were doing this in broad daylight.

NandO Pokemon stopThe water is most likely full of mind-controlling flouride.

Clearly, the more people playing Pokémon in Nash Square, the more newspapers the N&O potentially sells. But it wasn’t enough. They got a taste of younger customers, customers without pacemakers, customers who don’t have time to write annoying letters to the editor, and they wanted more. They would stop at nothing.

The N&O likely called the police to kick out the Pokémon Go players over the weekend, knowing there would be a backlash from citizens. They stoked the flames of outrage by having Brooke Cain directly confront city councilors about the park rules, essentially putting them on the Twitter hot seat. What city councilor is going to come out as anti-Pokémon Go in this day and age?

The N&O remembered how much heat the city council received for overreacting to the DrunkTown ads. They knew the city council needed to win back the public and decided to apply extra pressure with an article by Josh Shaffer. They anticipated that the city council would respond to the strict policing and their manufactured backlash by opening Nash Square 24 hours a day in order to appease the public.

As a result, the N&O would have a monopoly on the Pokémon demographic. We bet they even had plans to reclassify Nash Square as a “Historic Pokémon District” so they could erect a Pokéstatue like the one in New Orleans. Can you imagine how many selfies would be taken by that thing? Selfies that conveniently would be taken right next to the N&O propaganda tables. You can’t even make this stuff up. Back and to the left. Back and to the left.

It would have been a pretty genius plan, had ITB Insider™ not stepped into the world of journalism just a few weeks ago. The sad part is that none of this was necessary. The Raleigh Public Record did some actual digging into the city code and found a loophole which says citizens can be on the sidewalk at any time, meaning people can still play Pokémon Go 24 hours a day.

In conclusion, what happened in Nash Square over the weekend probably won’t rise to the level of DrunkTown. However, the conspiracy carried out by the N&O will forever be known as Pokégate. Now that we’ve blown the lid off of this one, we hope the N&O can spend more time investigating whether all of OTB is the Upside Down, or if it’s just Cary. (You’ll understand that after watching Stranger Things.)

Update: Less than 24 hours after breaking the story, the conspirators at the News and Observer have admitted to everything. We’re sorry we had to blow the lid off of this. We really do like them as people. Maybe we’ll bury the hatchet over #brunch.

Bonus: Mike Tomatosoup commended us on our journalism. We’ve arrived.


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