By Long Shot contributor Tim Simko
For the past few days, children and adults alike have gone crazy over the long-anticipated release of Pokémon Go.
For the first time, The Pokémon Company has provided Android and iOS users the chance to have a classic Pokémon adventure through the use of a free app. While the app has had it’s expected bugs following the release, it has brought a lot of good for Cleveland and other cities nationwide.
The app is simple to use once it is downloaded. After creating an account and customizing a character, the user is immediately taken to a screen showing a map – but the map is much more unique than those in Pokémon Go’s Nintendo console counterparts.
Rather than a pre-made map, this app utilizes the same technology used in Google Maps or the Tom Tom GPS system to recreate the real world and surrounding areas.
Utilizing this technology, the Pokémon Go app has created an adventure that is based in reality.
Lake Erie features a plethora of water Pokémon, walking to local churches and parks can provide a user with supplies and libraries double as gyms where a user can leave a Pokémon and defend it. While providing a unique experience, the Pokémon Company has successfully created a new phenomenon.
Since the app’s launch, many people – myself included – have walked the streets in hopes of capturing their favorite Pokémon. Friendships were formed and people began documenting their experiences through the use of social media.
While some may see it as funny or strange that people of all ages are walking around trying to collect Pokémon with a smartphone, I see it as a new way to promote the city and its businesses.
Businesses and universities that provide Wi-Fi can give Pokémon fans an even more unique experience. When I was in college, I would’ve enjoyed seeing a Vulpix pop up at my table as I sipped on my coffee. It would’ve also been great to search for a Pikachu on the Cleveland State University campus between classes.
While some see this new mobile game as a waste of time or silly, I see it as a way to explore the world. I’ve seen my friends explore places they would never normally go to, I walked to the library just for a chance to catch Pokémon I couldn’t find anywhere else, I’ve even seen people bond on social media in a time where the nation has been divided on social issues.
There will be issues with the app: there are still bugs in the system at times, users have been warned to pay attention to surroundings and not to trespass, and some of the gym locations – such as the White House – are not ideal.
After working out the kinks, this could be a great way to bring togetherness in the community and build friendships and bonds between those who seek the nostalgia of Pokémon and those who are just joining this unique world for the first time.