Pokemon Go craze hits Bowie County

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Laurel Wren Emerson

   “Gotta catch ‘em all.”
Gaggles of trainers, young and old alike, hold their phones out as they search the streets for Pokémon.
A new twist on this childhood centerpiece has taken over the Internet with the release of the phone app Pokémon GO.
Pokémon’s intense popularity stems from its card games, tv shows and video games, but its fan base went wild like never before when the app became available.
 “I like that it gives me a reason to get out of the house,” junior Sara Easley said. “You have to get up and move around to actually play the game. It kind of pulls people together.”
To play Pokémon GO, the player must turn his or her location sharing settings on, and the game then uses GPS signal to place Pokémon in the area of the player.
“If you want to find a water Pokémon, you have to be near a water resource, like a lake or an ocean,” Redwater graduate Colt Deaton said. “Usually, I just stay inside to play video games; this really drives me to get outside.”
 The game includes features such as character creation, Pokémon collection, material gathering at Pokéstops and battles at Pokémon gyms.
“The thing I like least is the fact that you can’t really challenge your friends to fight their Pokémon if you’re on the same team,” senior Austin Tucker said. “If you want to have a competition with a friend, you have to choose a different team, and that’s not the same fun as taking down a gym together.”
Many users often play together, hunting Pokémon in groups. It’s a bonding experience and an opportunity to meet people.
“I was recently at band camp and saw a majority of people walk around the outdoor quad for a while collecting Pokémon,” sophomore Abigail Harrison said. “I saw different people meet up and walk around together, talking about their Pokémon they’ve caught and the team they’re on.”
Stories have swarmed the news, however, of all of the incidents resulting from trespassing/using the game at the wrong time. Safety is a big issue.
 “Only play Pokémon GO when you are riding in the car, not driving,” Deaton said. “Don’t go into people’s yards without their permission. Don’t play at night alone.”
As well as the security concern, the game overloads and crashes very often, leaving users waiting hours to log back in.
“I don’t like how slow the servers can be,” Easley said. “Sometimes, there are so many people on, the app shuts down.”
The game in itself, regardless of problems, is very unique.
It is similar to the older Pokémon games, but it brings to life the experiences of being a Pokémon trainer.
“You can collect different types of Pokémon; you may have one your friend doesn’t,” Harrison said. “{However,} I don’t like running out of Pokéballs since I’m not anywhere near Pokéstops to collect more.”
While kinks need to be ironed out, the game being too crowded speaks highly of its popularity.
It brings to mind the question of what may come next.
“Because of this game, there will be a bigger influence on other game creators to make Augmented Reality games,” Tucker said. “The game is so popular because it’s the first of its kind. You have to get out and explore the world around you.”


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