Catching them All

With the release of the newly popular Nintendo app “Pokemon Go,” students explain their tactics and connections to the game.


Justin Lehtinen

A low level Venonat stands, waiting to get caught.

Eden Kurr, Managing Editor

This summer, Niantic, Inc unleashed a new game for mobile devices, “Pokemon Go”. Players create virtual avatars that follow their real bodies on a map of the area. When a player finds a Pokemon – a mythical creature with supernatural abilities – it pops up on their screen, and the player throws Pokeballs at the “pocket monster” to catch it. Pokeballs are red and white orbs that players use to capture the Pokemon.

Junior Madison Martin said she began playing the game soon after it came out, and her coworkers told her about it.

“I had never really been into Pokemon,” Martin said. “I had never been one of those kids who watched it when I was little, but I started playing the game and fell in love.”

Different Pokemon have different abilities, and once they are caught, they can be evolved or powered up with candies specific to their species. These Pokemon can be assigned to Gyms, where players combat others to conquer the gyms.

Junior Madison Nobrega, who has played various Pokemon games since middle school, said she was excited to have a new version of Pokemon to play – one where the Pokemon appear in reality.

“I had a mini panic attack when I realized it came out,” Nobrega said. “I got excited with the fact that this is a real life Pokemon game, where you can immerse yourself in it.”

Martin said she thinks “Pokemon Go” will change the way video games are played, not only because of the augmented reality portion, but because of the physical exercise associated with “Pokemon Go.”

“This game is very different that other games because it’s very active,” Martin said. “You have to actually get off your butt and play it. You can’t just stay home and play on your couch and watch Netflix while you’re doing it. You need to get up and move around and drive.”

Aside from catching Pokemon, players can restock their supplies by going to Pokestops – locations marked by blue squares on the map. These Pokestops can be used every five minutes.

Senior Gage Hall catches a Pokemon at Heritage Park.
Justin Lehtinen
Senior Gage Hall catches a Pokemon at Heritage Park.

Senior Gage Hall, a player of “Pokemon Go,” said he has specific goals of Pokemon to catch.

“It’s only the first generation [of Pokemon] right now,” Hall said. “Some of [the goals] are like stupid, like Mr. Mime is the ugliest thing ever, but I want to catch it just because I don’t know where it is.

Martin said her strategy involves going to certain locations, such as the Country Club Plaza, and catching Pokemon there.

“My main thing is getting the [Pokemon] with high CPs [Combat Points],” Martin said. “There are some good areas, like Nottingham Forest South has some good spots. The main place I go is Deanna Rose, because it’s close, or over by Lifetime [Fitness].”

Nobrega said she generally rides her bike through her neighborhood, but added that Corporate Woods is another popular location. She said she found a powerful Magmar – a fire-type Pokemon – at Corporate Woods.

Another part of the game is teams. There are currently three different teams in Pokemon Go – Team Valor, marked by the color red, Team Mystic, blue, and Team Instinct, yellow. Martin and Nobrega are Team Valor, and Hall is Team Mystic.

Hall said for many people, there is an aspect of nostalgia when it comes to Pokemon. Hall said he played Pokemon as a child up through third or fourth grade.

“I pulled out my old Pokemon cards the other day,” Hall said.  “Just because I was like, oh my gosh, it’s just crazy to look back at it.”

Other players seem to be only going along with the trend. Martin said one of the main components of the game for her is being with her friends while she plays.

“The people I normally go Pokemon hunting with, they play the Pokemon theme song,” Martin said. “Wherever we go, people start cheering. We suddenly have a connection with them.”

Nobrega said she will continue to play through the school year, although more on weekends than school days.
“It’s great,” Nobrega said. “Even if the fad dies down, I’m definitely going to keep playing it.”