Marine: Pokémon Go takes over the Summit (column)
July 19, 2016
It was 9 p.m. on a Saturday night, and I was running through Rainbow Park in Silverthorne. My phone illuminated the gotta-catch-them-all look in my crazed eyes.
What else was a 24-year-old supposed to do on a Saturday night?
I stopped in the middle of the soccer field and began frantically flicking my phone screen, wasting three Pokeballs until I finally caught the Pidgey in front of me. I only looked up when I heard someone ask, "Are you playing Pokémon Go?"
Yes, yes I was. And so were two other "adults" who were running around the same field, and someone else who was tramping around the sign at the Silverthorne Recreation Center that doubled as a Pokéstop where you could pick up more Pokéballs.
As someone who grew up wishing desperately that Pokémon were real, this game was the closest I was going to get, and I couldn't be happier.
To anyone who thought the first few paragraphs of this column were gibberish, Pokémon Go is an augmented-reality game that you can play with your smartphone. You pick a username, customize your avatar and it's game time. Your phone displays a basic map of roads, and your character walks around as you do in real time. On this map, there are Pokéstops that can be anything from churches to old statues all over the county. Once you get close enough to a Pokéstop, the symbol on your phone becomes interactive. You click on it to get more Pokéballs to catch your Pokémon.
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There are also virtual gyms you can join once you reach level five (I'm so close!), where you can join a team and battle each other. In the meantime, you walk around with your face down, staring into your phone and waiting for it to alert you that there's a Pokémon nearby. Once it does, you throw Pokéballs at it until you've captured it (Sometimes it takes me three tries). During this time, your phone flips the outer camera on so it looks like your Pokémon is right there, existing in the world with you and not just only on your phone.
Since this game is becoming more and more popular by the day, people are already critiquing it. But without your judgement. Pokémon Go might just be the only video game where you might get a sunburn or poison ivy. Unlike virtual reality games, Pokémon gets you outside — once the bane of avid-indoorsman, gamer nerds everywhere.
This game has broken the societal rules of how gamers interact. It's no longer screaming into a headset or typing away on Counter-Strike. This game is sweeping Summit County to the point where people were hosting Pokémon pub crawls. Like-minded individuals are outside, in real life, catching the closest thing to real-life Pokémon we'll ever get. This is probably a good thing because Onix would be a 28-foot boulder snake with a horn. No, thank you.
Nicole Marine is the Summit Daily's resident bouncer/calendar maven/office supplies Santa.
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