North Texas Daily

Trainers scour Denton County on quest to become #PokemonGO masters

Trainers scour Denton County on quest to become #PokemonGO masters

Trainers scour Denton County on quest to become #PokemonGO masters
July 14
01:02 2016

Zane Dean | Contributing Writer


Walking around Denton past midnight, you may have found large groups of people roaming the streets, faces glued to their smartphones or people loaded into a car driving to seemingly random places around town.

While this is nothing new, these people have all become Pokémon trainers, and are traveling across the land to fill their Pokédexes with all 151 of the original lineup.

“Pokemon Go” is a smartphone app that was released on July 6 and is currently the top grossing app on the Apple mobile marketplace. The app allows people to find Pokémon though augmented reality tech that utilizes a smartphone’s camera to teem the real world with pocket monsters. Integrative studies junior Huriel Perez has been playing Pokémon games since “Pokémon Yellow.”

“I’m glad at the amount of people I see playing it, and how much of a wide variety of people that are playing it,” Perez said.

The game can be played alone, but there are multiple features that encourage interaction between players. For example, some buildings and landmarks are known as “Pokestops” in-game, where trainers can stock up on extra Poké Balls and even eggs to hatch. Items such as the Lure Module attract wild Pokémon to these spots, but also fellow players on the hunt for new encounters.

“It got people talking to each other at least,” sophomore Samullah Naviwala said. “I noticed a lot of people roaming around, I met with some of them and talked with them.”

Simply put, whenever you look around and see a group of wandering people flitting fingers at their phones, it’s a safe bet you’ve found a team of Pokémon trainers.

Like the store already does for many other games, including Super Smash Bros and Rocket League, Freaks and Geeks Comic Shop will host a “Pokemon Go” meetup at 7:00 p.m. Monday at their storefront. Store owner Alec Featherstone said that he came up the idea to create a meetup right when the game came out.

“Denton is a walking town, a bike-riding town as it is, so to have a game that specifically caters to that, to the point where if you’re driving, it may not actually read you moving,” Featherstone said. “This town is eating it up, completely.”

Enthusiasts have even created Facebook groups dedicated to collaborating efforts to find rare Pokémon and seize all of Denton’s gyms. “Pokémon Go: Denton,” since day No. 1, is a wealth of useful tact for nailing down that stubborn Pikachu, or indulging in memes whenever trainers are forced to charge their smartphones.

“I think that it’s great, I think that what they are doing is beyond everyone’s expectations,” Featherstone said. “I think that what’s making it super successful is that they’ve made it on a platform that everybody has.”

For a smartphone app to convince thousands of individuals to venture into the entirety of Denton County and beyond – even into the wee hours of the night – is substantial. Even the UNT police department has taken notice to the masses of people excitedly roaming areas on campus late at night.

“Whenever people are screaming at each other, I’ve got to make sure nobody’s in any trouble,” bike patrol officer Chris Simons said. “It’s definitely made my job a bit more interesting, to say the least.”

While “Pokemon Go” originally was the source for confusion among UNT police, the department has come to embrace its presence, so long that folks don’t walk into the tall grasses where they’re not supposed to and stay safe.

“It’s a cool concept for a game, but we will respond to make sure everybody stays responsible and safe,” Simons said.

The game is getting people out of their house and forming a new community within Denton. Featherstone said his favorite part of the game is realizing others around him are also on a quest seeking new creatures.

“We are all doing it,” Featherstone said. “There’s no generation, that’s doing it specifically, there’s no age, sex or race that is doing it specifically. It’s everybody.”

Featured Image: A group of Pokemon Trainers sit outside the square catching virtual Pokemon via a smartphone app called Pokemon Go. Tomas Gonzalez | Visuals Editor

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