Pokémon Go creates summer frenzy

by RILEY GOLDEN//Entertainment Editor

You’re walking to class, smartphone in hand, when it vibrates. There’s a wild Pokémon right in front of you, ready to be caught with the flick of your finger.

The smartphone game “Pokémon GO” uses AR, or augmented reality, to almost literally put one of the first-generation Pokémon right in front of you.

When you open the application on your smartphone, your trainer is presented on a basic map of where you are. As you walk, run, or ride, you move your trainer through the world and wild Pokémon pop up around you. Press on one and your camera shows your surroundings with the Pokémon right in front of you.

Initially, there’s a Poké Ball at the bottom of the screen that you use your finger to flick at the Pokémon to try to catch them. As you level up, you unlock Razz Berries, which are used to keep Pokémon from running away, and Great Balls, which have a higher chance of catching the Pokémon.

There are also Poké Stops and Gyms all over the world. Stops are for collecting Poké Balls, Razz Berries, and health potions for your Pokémon. Gyms are where you go to battle other trainers and their Pokémon.

On the Levelland campus of South Plains College, there are five Poké Stops and one Gym. The Stops are at the Wild Mustangs Mosaic, the Student Assistance Center, and the Charlie Sanders Bell, in front of the Texan Dome. The gym is at the Mural at the Student Services Building.

There are currently 151 Pokémon in “Pokémon GO.” Of course, there are the traditional starter Pokémon: Charmander, a fire type; Bulbasaur, a grass type; and Squrtle, a water type. Around campus there are a lot of Pidgeys, a flying type Pokémon, and Rattatas, a normal type Pokémon. Pidgeys evolve into Pidgeottos and then Pidgeots, which can get pretty strong.

Some other Pokémon featured in the game are Horsea, Omanyte, Goldeen, Geodude, and even a region specific Pokémon, Tauros.

During the summer, “Pokémon GO” took most parts of the world by storm. The franchise has almost been reinvigorated because of the game. GameStop, Barnes & Noble, and even Hastings all of a sudden had Pokémon merchandise galore. People were wearing and playing it everywhere. For a time, “Pokémon GO” was inescapable.

Naturally, though, people stop playing. Even after a couple days, people would start to look at the app less and less. But others have been immersed in it. People who traditionally sat around playing games were out walking to hatch Pokémon eggs or hunt Pokémon. People were reporting on social media having lost weight and getting in shape, all thanks to “Pokémon GO.”

Dane Dewbre, associate dean of marketing and recruitment at SPC, says he speculated that Pokémon GO would catch another wave on campuses, but it really hasn’t. People can be seen playing here or there. Decent-sized groups can be seen playing at gyms every now and then. But it’s nothing like it was in the summer.

This game makes you feel like a real-life Pokémon Trainer, and it’s probably the closest you will ever get to being one.

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