Pokémon Go is the newest sensation in mobile gaming, giving average citizens the chance to become Pokémon trainers. Since its release on July 6, the app has taken the nation – and Ceres – by storm, with residents hitting the streets in a quest to “catch ‘em all.”
The location-based augmented reality game allows players to capture, battle and train virtual Pokémon, which appear throughout the real world thanks to the use of the Global Positioning System and camera on compatible devices.
After logging in to the game, players can create an avatar and select physical characteristics that resemble themselves. Upon creating an avatar, it is displayed at the player’s current location along with a map of the player’s immediate surroundings. Features on the map may include Pokéstops and Pokémon gyms, where players can gather supplies and battle other trainers. These are typically located at popular meeting places, such as parks, places of worship and other attractions.
Pokéstops and Pokémon gyms can be found all over Ceres. Those driving around town may have noticed the large groups of “trainers” gathered at many of these locations.
Children, teens and adults alike are all taking part in the Pokémon hunting around Ceres, and for many, the game has taken them back to their childhoods when the Pokémon phenomenon was just beginning.
Malia Day, a 14-year-old who is a freshman at Central Valley High School, said the game is breaking up the boredom of summer. She is mostly playing the game solo but also sees classmates out at places like Sam Ryno Park.
“I think it’s really fun,” said Day. “You get to go outside a lot.”
She is amused by the fact that some Pokeman characters are just milling around or “they’ll try to attack you.” The idea behind the game is to “get the Pokeman before someone else or else they’ll disappear,” said Day. “They’re everywhere.”
“I think actually running around just looking for Pokémon is just like in the show,” said Adam Rashidi, who was out at Stanislaus State looking for Pokémon. “We watched that and now we can put ourselves in the show in a way, instead of just sitting at home on our Game Boys.”
The appeal of the game is that players of all ages can enjoy it – all they need is a smart phone. Israel Galvez has been showing his father how to play the game since its release, giving the pair a fun opportunity to spend time together.
“For me, it’s cool being able to bring something from my past that I used to enjoy and being able to enjoy it with my dad,” said Galvez. “Especially even now as I’m older, it’s cool being able to share it.”
Since Pokémon and the various stops within the game can only be found if you and your phone are standing near them, the experience requires players to leave their homes and traverse across the city. Because of this, many are hailing the video game as an excellent way for both youth and adults to stay active.
“Oh man, kids are everywhere, adults are everywhere,” said Amy House, who was out hunting Pokémon with her husband and daughter. “This is probably going to be the best thing to beat obesity.”
Players are able to see how many kilometers they have walked since downloading the game, with most seeing an increase in their level of activity since becoming certified Pokémon trainers.
Since the game does require walking about in the real world, there have been instances where players have encountered dangerous situations. Armed robbers in Missouri have used the app to stake out Pokéstops, using the GPS feature to anticipate the locations of unknowing victims. Two players were arrested for criminal trespassing at the Toledo Zoo where they went over a fence near the tiger enclosure.