by Bryan Everson
Some parents dream of getting their kids away from the video games or iPad and outside of the house in the summer to enjoy the weather and stay healthy, but Nintendo’s latest creation has made for the best of both worlds.
Pokémon Go has become a craze in cities within over 30 countries worldwide since it launched at the beginning of the month. The game for mobile phones and tablets based off the popular franchise — one that’s grossed $46.2 billion since its inception in the mid-1990s — seemed immediately destined for stardom. The games for Nintendo’s handheld systems combine simple gameplay elements with a basic premise that makes for friendly competition to collect the creatures between users’ friends and other players, enabling it to be enjoyed with ease by players of all ages.
Many of those elements translate to “Go,” an app that’s tough on battery but relatively light on data usage. Users are catching them with Pokéballs in backyards, but more commonly in front of landmarks — determined before the app launched by data that included crowd-sourcing — at places like the Chomp mural in Downtown Rochester, or any number of churches throughout the area. After leveling Pokémon and evolving them, users can battle for supremacy at gyms at various locales, like at the brick sign for Rochester College.
Pokéstops are more common in areas with plenty of businesses like Rochester’s Main Street, so it’s easy to see why an influx of the game’s 30 million downloaders are strolling the streets from morning until night to help grow eggs and increase their number of Pokémon caught. It’s tough to quantify what kind of impact it may have on local businesses — Nintendo’s business has boomed, its shares nearly doubling — but while it may just be sidewalks surrounding them getting crowded, restaurant and store owners may get keen to the idea of using “lures” to reel in crowds — creating temporary hot spots — and reel in potential customers.
For anyone looking to get involved with others, there’s a Facebook group called the Rochester PokeClub that has already generated over 300 likes and has been information-savvy. Websites like PokeCrew.com or the Poke Radar App are out there to show where stops are or where you can find certain Pokémon.
Pokémon Go has a warning when the app is first started to keep aware of your surroundings, and it’s encouraged to use common sense with where it takes you, but the benefit is about more than just dollars and cents. It’s a game that gives users young and old something in common, see new local sites, and enjoy some healthy fun in the sun.