“Pokemon Go” changes the world of video gaming

Madeline Gray—North State Journal
Erica Joynes

“Gotta Catch ‘Em All” has become a reality with the take off of the augmented reality app “Pokemon Go.”Across the state, restaurants are creating lures to bring in new customers, video game lovers are meeting at parks, and police are warning users to be aware of their surroundings when throwing Pokeballs.Released July 6, millions of people in the U.S. have met up or travelled around to collect Pokemon, like magnemite during this week’s RailHawks lightning storm, to catch a magicarp at Le’s Sandwiches and Cafe in Charlotte during lunch, or to capture another Pokemon while venturing around on your phone.John Nguyen, who works for his family business at Le’s Sandwiches and Cafe, decided to use one of his lures, a virtual consumable item that attracts Pokemon within the game and alerts players in the area to a specific geographical location.”Everyone was hopping on Pokemon,” Nguyen said. “I figured I could use the lures to increase our business.”Different from sitting on a couch and staring at a screen, “Pokemon Go” provides a social aspect. Ross Ledford, the president of E-Sports Club at NC State, hosted a “Pokemon Go” Campus Crawl Wednesday night.”It’s really hard to get people to leave their rooms, because it’s so much easier to stay home and play your games,” Ledford said. “And this forces everyone to go out and that’s the thing I like the most is just seeing people out having fun and socializing and just realizing we are all the same.”Zuri Peterkin, a senior in wildlife biology, and Sarah Crawford, a sophomore in international studies, met at the crawl and became fast friends catching Pokemon.For Andrew Burress, who graduated from NC State in May, the app also fulfills a childhood dream of his.”It’s a way to meet new people, and it’s also living the dream, like when you were a kid, you wanted to play Pokemon and catch them all, you can actually do that,” Burress said. “It’s just the best of both worlds.”He added that the game can help individuals with social anxiety have an outlet to interact with others. Most of the attendees said the social aspect of the game was why it is popular, and they hope with the next update it will include more interactions, including trading with friends, person vs. person battles, and a chat feature.When opening the “Pokemon Go” app, it warns users to stay aware of their surroundings, which law enforcement has reiterated after reports of criminals using the app to lure people and cases of distracted users getting hit by cars.Crawford thinks playing “Pokemon Go” is like any other hobby.”You just have to be safe,” Crawford said. “You have to use common sense. Like say my hobby is basketball, I’m not going to go out and play basketball at night. As long as you don’t do stuff like that, it’s fine.”