Pokemon finds new life in captivating app

Local resident searching for nearby Pokemon to add to their collection.  Photo Special to the Outlook

Local resident searching for nearby Pokemon to add to their collection.
Photo Special to the Outlook



By Sean Sanders
Outlook Writer

Nostalgia catches adults and the craze known as “Pokémon Go” has children and adults of all ages glued to their phones to catch the animal-like creatures called Pokémon that captured the nation nearly 20 years ago.

The second coming of Pokemon has caught up with technology. It surfaced early last week as an app developed by Niantic, a software development company based in San Francisco. There is some speculation that it was passed through a secure mobile app development process to tighten the in-app protection. Given its popularity, the app has become top-downloaded for both Apple and Android users.

The game originated in Japan in 1996 and has evolved into a well-known brand around the world. Its evolution continues two decades later.

The game turned television series starring Ash Ketchum and the mouse-like creature Pikachu began on Nintendo’s Game Boy server. With the latest development by Niantic, the game can be accessed from virtually any new-age cellular device.

It’s a move that leaves long time Pokémon fans like Alvira Davis fascinated.

“Just when you think you’ve outgrown something, they make it accessible again,” said Davis. “It’s like all your childhood memories just rush back to you.”

Through a phone’s GPS and an integrated interface, players can travel to real-life locations in order to catch and battle Pokémon. Cascades Park and Lake Ella have become popular meeting places for gamers.

Ryan Harvell and Kenneth Turner, two friends, have been playing Pokémon since they were 10. The new interface turned fantasy into real life for them.

“It’s a real cool way to get out, exercise and meet new people,” said Turner.

It will be even more convenient to head to “smart parks” like Cascades that will now offer free wifi.
Businesses like T-Mobile and restaurants like Voodoo Dog are making it their focus to offer incentives to Pokémon Go players as well.

T-Mobile has offered free data as a part of its T-Mobile Tuesdays promotion. Voodoo Dog offers free food based on a player’s level in the game.

Sarah O’Neil, a manager at Voodoo Dog was an essential asset in getting the promotion at the local restaurant.

“We’re all avid players and fans here, so why not help make it fun for more people to play,” said O’Neil.

Business, since the beginning of the promotion has given Voodoo Dog a lot of buzz. People come in large groups to eat and play so it’s a win for everybody.

The game has become so captivating that it has created safety concerns across the country. So much so that players have walked into traffic or walked into light poles.

Tallahassee Police Department has joined in on advocating safety by sharing posts via social media and promoting via hashtags like #DontCatchAndDrive and #PikachuCanWait.