Recently released in countries all over the world, Pokemon Go is an augmented virtual reality application built on Niantic’s Real World Gaming Platform that allows players to live their dream of becoming a Pokemon master by traveling across the land searching far and wide for Pokemon.
“Basically, you get to catch Pokemon in the real world, virtually,” said Laura Torgeson, a senior in music therapy.
By using internet, GPS and cameras, players can find and catch Pokemon, train them at gyms, hatch eggs by walking or collect Pokeballs and other items at local points of interests.“It’s like this is a dream come true, we’ve been waiting 10 years so that we can walk around and catch Pokemon,” said Kayla Rich, a senior in art education and printmaking. “And I really just love how it’s honestly just bringing people together; I’ve met like five new people and gotten their numbers in the last two days.”
Students from Utah State University are benefiting from the free campus wifi and plethora of historical points of interests, such as the “Hello Walk” and “Educator, Teacher, Friend” statue, turned into Pokestops. Throughout the day and even late at night, they can be seen walking around with friends, phones out, playing and meeting new people with similar interests.
Even people who weren’t Pokemon fans originally are joining the community. Derek Trimble, a senior in human movement science, said he joined because his friend introduced it to him.
“I downloaded it just because my friend is really big into the Pokemon thing and I thought at first it would be dumb,” Trimble said. “To me it’s kind of an interesting game in the sense of, hey what other game makes you get off your butt and go out and do something?”
Walking and getting out of the house or apartment to catch the various Pokemon is the biggest part of Go, Torgeson said, because players are encouraged to do things outside, see city landmarks and exercise instead of sit on the couch all day and never getting fresh air.
“I think it’s kind of creative in the sense of the whole time you’re walking around looking for the Pokemon, but you’re always looking for these sculptures and all that, so it’s kind of unique,” he said. “So if you’re out there, you’re looking at all the fun things that are actually on campus that you may not have recognized before.”Due to its recent release and popularity, the app is still experiencing server crashes and various glitches such as frozen screens, sudden log-outs and slow loading. Different times of the day are easier to play, however, Rich said, such as late at night when the app servers aren’t under as much stress.
Until Niantic finishes increasing the server capacity and fixes any other major glitches, players will have to be patient and enjoy the app as well as they can.
“I’ve seen a lot of mixed reviews, so if you’re a fan of Pokemon, go ahead and try it out,” said Cody Barfuss, a junior in biology. “If you’re not, go ahead and try it out anyway just to see how cool it is, but it’s just cool that the game is based on your location. I haven’t seen many games like that, so it’s pretty cool.”