By now you have seen kids and adults alike walking around your neighborhood or favorite park staring at their phone. That in itself is not unusual but you may have noticed them eagerly running or chasing something unseen to you. They are attempting to capture Pokemon.
Ever since Google introduced the idea of catching virtual Pokémon in the real world as an April Fool’s Day prank in 2014, kids, teens, and adults have been enamored with the idea that the popular card game from their childhood could be digitized to fit in with the modern tech world. One week ago, on July 6, this long-awaited dream became a reality.
Now, with an app available for both iOS and Android devices, PokémonGO users can catch these “pocket monsters” in their backyards, at work, and a few can even be found at the White House and Pentagon. The App is powered via Google Maps that guide players to find these virtual Pokemon. Throughout the day and even long into the night, Pokémon enthusiasts can be seen wandering through parks and down sidewalks searching for their next catch.
The premise of the game is simple, and hasn’t changed at all since the original Nintendo game was released in 1996 – to catch ‘em all (the Pokémon, that is). However, the technology aspect has introduced a new twist to the classic game. In the act of catching them all, one must actually get up off of the couch and walk around their neighborhood and city to find the Pokémon. The critters will very rarely come to you. Since the App launched, I’ve seen massive amounts of people swarming public spaces like the Fraze Pavillion and Lincoln Park, The Greene and Austin Landing shopping centers, as well as churches and schools with phones in hand, excitedly chasing their next Pokémon. Walking or running is necessary to hatch eggs (required distances range from 2-10 kilometers), which eventually grow into Pokémon and can be captured at Pokéstops.
Pokémon can be found just about anywhere, but specific places and times attract different types of Pokémon (i.e. fields attract Grass/Bug/Normal types, lakes and rivers attract Water types, and Ghost types can be found at night).
Pokéstops can be found at many popular and culturally important areas. Players can gather virtual prizes like Pokéballs, coins, eggs, and other treasure to enhance the playing experience. The prospect of being awarded these various items really motivates people to get up and out of the house, walking for crazy distances just to gain more Pokéballs. This game has provided incredible motivation for kids, teens, and adults to get active.
So, the next time you find yourself bored at home (or even at work, but this is not recommended), download PokémonGO and take a walk. You’ll be surprised what might be hiding around the corner and you just might enjoy yourself.
Caleb Suddith is a Senior at Fairmont High School in Kettering. When not hunting Pokemon you’ll find him practicing Trumpet for marching band season. Follow him on Twitter @calebsuddith or on Instagram @caleb_suddith to share your next Pokemon find!