Pokémon fever sweeps Berry’s Campus

Candler Lowe, Campus Carrier Arts & Living Editor

The Pokémon Go app took the world, and Berry’s campus by storm.

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Usually, seeing people walk around while staring intently at their phones could mean anything, but in the past month and a half, many assume that people are simply using their phones  to play Pokémon Go.

“If they stop in the middle of the sidewalk with their phone and start tapping they are definitely playing Pokémon Go,” said senior Sara Hess, who worked at the Welcome Center this summer.

Niantic Labs and Nintendo released Pokémon Go on July 6 as an augmented reality application and its audience grew rapidly.

The app allows users to catch Pokémon, battle at Gyms, gather supplies at Pokéstops, hatch eggs and evolve their Pokémon. So what is the big deal? It is all done in the augmented reality, so users can discover Pokémon projected into their real life surroundings.

Gyms and Pokestops are staged at real life locations that are often buildings and historical landmarks, and players hatch eggs by walking a set distance.

While many users enjoy the app because of their previous love of Pokémon, the app doesn’t call for users to have any prior knowledge of the franchise.

The object of the game, like the original games and television series that preceded the app, is to catch all of the Pokémon creatures and complete their Pokédex, which is similar to a digital encyclopedia.

This means that the more walking and exploring users do, the more Pokémon they can find, making Berry, and the surrounding area, a perfect place to use the app.

The phenomenon of Pokémon Go hit Berry’s campus the same as everywhere else, but with 27,000 acres to explore, the campus is a hot spot for people to come hunt for Pokémon.

In her work with the Welcome Center, Hess has seen many people come to campus to look for Pokémon, including a grandmother who brought her grandkids and their friends to hunt for Pokémon.

Just about every academic building on campus has a Pokéstop located nearby along with several Gyms located across both main and Mountain campuses.

While Hess hasn’t noticed many problems with Pokémon hunters on campus, the app did not come without any controversy. There have been concerns about people trespassing on private property, and the danger of playing the game while driving, or even walking.

Hess also stated that trespassing has yet to be an issue on Berry’s campus, but senior Chris Evans pointed out that the BOLD course being a Pokéstop could be dangerous for distracted users.

“People will just wander up every once in a while, while we are rapelling or doing something with people,” Evans said. “They’re like ‘I gotta catch them, ’ and we are like ‘you have to go.’”

Although it has not been an issue at the BOLD course, other Pokéstops on campus have been removed due to traffic buildup.

“We had to have Pokéstops removed at Oak Hill and the main entrance,” Dean of students Debbia Heida said.

 Despite the negative reviews and safety concerns, some think that the app is a refreshing return to childhood antics that brings people together while also getting people to get out and exercise.

Senior, and avid Pokémon player Cardie McClure uses the app on a regular basis and thinks that despite the negativeand sometimes frustrating feedback that Pokémon Go has received, the positive aspects of the app are countless. Specifically McClure thinks that the advantage of the app brings people together. She has also had experiences playing the game where she described her fellow players as “comrades in arms.”

“It gives people the opportunity to experience the game and to experience it with other people,” McClure said. “It gives the oppertunity to connect.” 

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