Augmented reality game catches on quickly here
By Darla Hussey
Faster than a speeding rapidash, “Pokemon Go” has invaded even the furthest corners of the globe. Created by the same brains who brought us Google Maps and Google Earth, it’s hardly a surprise the entire world has become one big augmented-reality playground.
Our valley is usually a little behind the curve for trends, but not so “Pokemon Go.” Pokemon trainers (players) are everywhere you turn. Glover Street in Twisp has a veritable glut of Pokestops and Winthrop is prized for having a wide variety of Pokemon.
Twisp resident Pam Floyd, who runs the “Methow Valley Pokemon Go Group” on Facebook, advises Methow Valley trainers to look for three Pokestops close together, like near the Walrus in Twisp (Dr. Nickell’s old office at 110 E. Second Street). “Wherever there are three stops close together, it’s a fun place to drop lures and rest,” Floyd says.
On the national stage, “Pokemon Go” players have taken some criticism for traffic accidents, trespassing and generally unintelligent behavior. Here in the Methow Valley, though, mishaps and traffic infractions haven’t been an issue thus far.
“Walking irresponsibly is about as bad as it has gotten,” Twisp Police Chief Paul Budrow said. “There were some kids in the middle of Glover one evening and I shooed them back to the sidewalk.”
The kids may have been walking in the middle of the street so they could catch Pokemon on either side of the road. However, because the app uses vibration to alert trainers to nearby Pokemon, one can merely cross the street to catch a Pokemon or use a Pokestop that’s slightly out of range. Likewise, players aren’t required to stare constantly at the screen to have a successful hunt because the app will alert them.
Budrow likes how the game encourages people to move around. After he herded the kids out of the street, they showed him how to play the game. Although he couldn’t catch the zoobat hovering over the dash of his patrol car, he did go home with a new way to connect with his own kids.
Floyd also appreciates the active nature of the game. “I get out and move. I get to meet other closet geeks,” she said. She also appreciates that it’s a way to have fun that doesn’t involve drinking or drugs.
The “Methow Valley Pokemon Go Group” hunts together on Friday and Saturday nights starting at 8 p.m. They welcome any trainer, local or not, to come hunt with them. More information can be found on their Facebook page.
“People who hunt in groups catch more Pokemon,” Floyd said.
After familiarizing himself with the game, Chief Budrow advises players to “look up and be safe. And do not play Pokemon and drive — just like you don’t text and drive.”
First appearing as characters in GameBoy video games in 1995, Pokemon have since spawned their own animated cartoons, a card game and video games on several other platforms.