Admittedly, I spent very little time in my youth playing video games. My brother, on the other hand was World of Warcraft and Dungeons and Dragons all the way. I knew of others in my neighborhood who were obsessed with the notion of travelling the world finding Pokémon, making friends, and battling for glory. Others watched the show or traded Pokémon cards . Their adventures echoed from over backyard fences.
So, yes, I have been experimenting with the new phenomenon of Pokémon GO. And now, I get it. I get the excitement , the obsession the lure of the quest.
To explain to non gamers, Pokémon are creatures with assorted special powers and attacks, and in the game, you are their trainer. Your goal is to “catch ’em all” (using a device called a pokéball), train them to be more powerful, and win battles against other trainers and their Pokémon for money, badges, and experience points. There’s a lot more to it, but that’s the gist. You can watch the TV show’s opening theme for a classic montage explanation.
Pokémon GO is a completely new take on the classic. Available as a free app on iOS and Android, the game merges Pokémon with the real world. Gamers are challenged to physically walk around their neighborhoosd to find Pokémon and supplies in order to play the game. On your screen is a Google Maps-like layout, and your phone’s GPS keeps your character moving in real time around this map. To gather supplies, you have to walk to PokeStops (the cubes on the map). To catch a Pokémon, you must find one nearby and skillfully throw a pokéball at it – your phone’s camera is used to show the Pokémon in your actual surroundings, sometimes with comedic results. A Spearow appeared to sit on my key board on my desk this morning!
What’s really amazing about this game, beyond the childhood dream aspect, is that it encourages both exercise and an awareness of the tiny, missable, beautiful details in the world around you. In Lagrange, New York, PokeStops included a Vassar College campus, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, the Arlington Firehouse, Lagrangeville Hanafords. A tour of Vassar College campus in search of characters encourages visitors to take a more detailed look at teh campus’s architectural beauty.
So, I was excited to get to work today to see what stops appeared around our library. Our library is a Pokestop. Drop by and load up on your pokeballs using our wifi. If you visit the Lagrange Library while playing the game, be sure to post your fun shots and tag @ on Twitter and Instagram @lagrange_library !I look forward to seeing how this game gets people outside seeing their neighborhoods in a whole new way.