New Show Alert – What Can We Learn From It?

Photo Courtesy Netflix


Watch and Learn Old School – Cool Stop Motion Too!

The hustle and the bustle of the holiday season has subsided for some of us, but for others, there’s still excitement buzzing about. In our household, we’ll be looking forward to ringing in the new year with a new family member. Seeming the arrival could happen at any time, we kept our holiday plans to an absolute minimum. This enabled us to spend a lot of time together and try new types of play that our older toddler is exploring. It also has allowed us to catch up on some shows that we’ve been too wrapped up to take in. While there’s certainly been some great ones, what I’d like to focus on this month is a new series (released on Dec. 28th on Netflix) that is only 4 episodes and concludes with about an hour of total runtime.


Let’s talk about Pokémon Concierge! The show is leaps and bounds from the classic Pokémon adventures of the likes of Ash and the new crew. Instead of catch, train, battle, the whole story revolves around the need to unwind, relax, and play. The style this takes is in truly stunningly beautiful stop motion by Dwarf Studio. While spending time with the cast on the island feels so breezy and lighthearted, I can’t imagine how much work was put into creating such a well done series. Luckily, I don’t have to – phew! If you’re interested, you can hear about it right from the source:  


While it’s easy to dive into someone else’s passion, I think, again referencing the series, it’s important to reflect on what brings happiness and is fun for us. This is different from vowing or committing to a “new you” in the new year. While accomplishable by some, it usually involves adding or subtracting something – and that’s hard to do. If we were to take a look at it from a different perspective, what might that look like?

Pokémon photo circa 2014!


Pokémon photo 2023!


Let’s tease out a hypothetical example staying with the Pokémon theme. We want less screen time (and want to avoid doom scrolling for example) as well as to spend more time outside. As a kicker, we enjoyed the photography class we took in undergrad. Whether we’re interested in the core loop of the game Pokémon GO (walk and catch) or not, there are still other activities within the app that can accomplish both aforementioned goals. Less screen time (consuming baited content) could be achieved by utilizing the game solely for the photography aspect. While technically not “less,” it is focusing us to use it as a tool to capture the real world other than staying in-app. Naturally, you can see how you might be more inclined to visit various sights and take photos. The game is flipped on its head to serve a different purpose: Leveraging the game’s random spawning mechanics, the technology, and our surroundings to surprise ourselves with stunning photos that can be captured and shared.  


TLDR;  Pokémon Concierge is a gem of a micro-series that flips the script on the world of Pokémon and nudges us to seek out fun. With the mighty new year resolutions looming, how might we use play to bend us towards actually achieving them differently? Are there playful technologies and tools that will encourage us to approach each day so that we can do our best and have fun?

Editor’s Note: Baby Girl Balash arrived safely and healthy on 123123 aka 12/31/23!

About the Author:

John Balash was instrumental in Digital Dragon’s launch in 2013 as its first Curriculum Director and is now back in the fold as a consultant on all the latest and greatest in tech education.This is John’s latest contribution to a monthly blog series we’ve launched, Tech News from the Frontier. John is the Director of Educational Engagement at Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center. John has worked on educationally-focused initiatives with clients ranging from D.A.R.P.A. to Disney. Working from both sides of the desk, you can find John in classrooms and conferences around the world exploring new uses for technologies in learning environments.