Pokemon Go: Enduring lifestyle or fading fad?

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If you haven’t been living under a rock, then at some point in the last months you have heard of “Pokemon Go,” the app that, within its first day of release, hit the number one spot on Apple’s App Store. Te game attracts people of all ages and enjoyed massive hype surrounding its release this past summer, and not even SLU students or faculty are immune to its charming effects.

You play the game by launching the app, then walking around in the real world until you find Pokemon—little virtual monsters that are caught by throwing a Pokeball at them. If you catch one, you can use the caught Pokemon to battle and take over gyms for your team. You can get more Pokeballs and other supplies by finding Pokestops—geographical locations on a map—such as the Clock Tower. You can also find eggs that hatch into Pokemon after the player walks a certain distance.

Throughout the past week, “Poke Prize Stops” have appeared on campus. Tey are run by SLU’s Entrepreneurs’ Club to promote their “Pure Idea Generator Challenge.”

Tyler Sondag is a marketing strategist at the Center for Entrepreneurship while also running the Entrepreneurs’ Club. Sondag is an avid player of the game: a level 25 player with a 2131 CP Exeggutor that plays almost every day. Tis game has caused him to be more active, as well. Sondag parks off campus, and rather than skateboarding into school as he normally would, he walks to get the extra steps to hatch his Pokemon eggs.

Emma Frattarola, a freshman, says that the game has inspired her to exercise more frequently, going outside to catch Pokemon and hatch eggs.

One phenomenon about the game is that in the world of the internet, where fads and games spring up and are quickly forgotten, this game has endured for months. Frattarola says that she got into the game because she played Pokemon on a Gameboy as a kid, and so this game brings back a lot of memories for her. “It’s very nostalgic,” says Frattarola. “It makes me happy.”

Nostalgia isn’t the only reason that people play the game. Another reason this game became so popular is the hype that surrounds it, generated from people like Frattarola. Corwin Huang, a freshman flight major, says that the hype was the main reason that he started playing, and since the hype is dying down he stopped playing as much.

Ricardo Saucedo also agrees the hype is going away. During the summer, when the game first was released, Saucedo was a desk worker at a residence hall. He would frequently leave work around 10 p.m. to see at least 50 people gathered around the clock tower, a Pokestop, hanging around and socializing. Monika Martinek, a freshman at SLU, describes the game as “a waste a time.” She believes that there are better priorities and more interesting things to do at SLU.

Social interaction is another big idea around the game. By getting gamers out of their houses and outside, it almost forces them to interact with each other.

Frattarola says that when she goes out to play Pokemon Go, she sees strangers playing the game and stops to talk with them. Huang says that he doesn’t talk to strangers when he plays, but it does give him and his friends something to talk about, and they play it when they are hanging out.

Getting these gamers out there to socialize is important, but as Saucedo says, it “sucks that everyone is staring at their phone screen all the time.”

Although the game has a powerful pull on people, it’s not too powerful to cause disruptions in their lives. Sondag says that although he has only gone one day without playing the game, the game has never caused him to miss an important meeting or be late to an event.

Frattarola also says that although she played a lot in the summer, now that school has started she plays a lot less, since she is busier.

Today, there are fewer and fewer people playing the game. People realize the risks and ethics involved with the game. However, the game is far from being extinct.

Niantic has plans to boost sales and consumer base. According to many different articles and videos, Niantic is introducing a “buddy system” that allows trainers to choose a Pokemon as their primary partner (e.g. Ash and Pikachu). Trainers will eventually be able to trade their Pokemon with others.

This is a crucial feature, as distinct Pokemon are in different regions in the world. Finally, people are working very hard to find the legendary Pokemon: Articuno, Zapdos, Moltres, Mew and Mewtwo.

Despite the fun that the game brings, there are dangers to playing it. A recent string of car accidents, children walking out into busy streets when playing the game and even bodies being found because of the game are cause for alarm. Frattarola even went out in a thunderstorm to find a Squirtle that she never caught.

So as you continue to search for elusive Pokemon on campus, make sure you stay aware of your surroundings and stay safe, SLU students.