A new smartphone app sweeping the nation made it’s appearance in Cascadia. Pokémon Go is delighting both new audiences and those who remember the Pokémon cartoon, cards, and Nintendo games. Not affiliated with Nintendo, Niantec first released the game on android phones and Google Play and then included IOS devices a few days later.
Unlike most smartphone apps and games, Pokémon Go only works when users walk around their neighborhood. Players are given the identity of a trainer and the game uses the user’s phone camera to catch Pokémon in augmented reality. The game also uses the phone’s GPS to map and mark interesting places and landmarks around town where trainers can gain Poké balls and points if they are close enough to the actual place.
The game is receiving praise for encouraging players to go outside and be active, but also criticism for its distraction as players walk around. Some players have been hit by cars playing the game and some even engage in game play while driving.
Still, the game keeps the concept of finding certain Pokémon in certain landscapes and environments which encourages users to visit parks and more wilderness areas to find rarer and more powerful creatures. For example, water dwellers are often found near rivers or lakes. Still other creatures may be found near the mountains so a hiking trip may be in order.
What’s the best way to make a fun game even more enjoyable? Through friends! Though Pokémon Go is everywhere around the country, it encourages regional grouping so that people in a community can come together to play and make new friends. Facebook groups and meetup groups are already springing up around Cascadia. Find one near you and maybe even form a hiking group to catch the rarest Pokémon.
Taylor McAvoy is a Junior at the University of Washington pursuing a bachelors degree in Journalism. She has been a writer and photographer for the university’s newspaper The Daily for a year focusing on editorial reporting and arts event coverage.