Nintendo’s new virtual reality smartphone game Pokémon Go has taken over the Internet, getting people to engage in virtual reality. But the game has also allowed people to explore the reality around them.
“Ahh, one disappeared!” Robert Weins said.
The 21-year-old can’t even stop playing Pokémon Go during his interview.
“I’ve done more walking around downtown [Lethbridge] in the last two days, than I have in the last four years,” Weins said.
He’s not the only one.
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“Thanks to this I know the place better, I know the names of the streets or the numbers, before I didn’t,” Eden Rodriguez said.
For the 29-year-old, the game has been a chance to share his love and nostalgia for Pokémon. They have travelled over 25 kilometres in Lethbridge since they got the game six days ago.
“Back in the late 90s you were a complete outcast and a nerd, right? It was like, ‘oh, he likes Pokemon?’ … Just look around, everyone is doing it… it’s impossible, not liking it,” Rodriguez said.
Someone will drop a lure and Pokémon trainers will flock to that spot, but people just aren’t catching them all, sometimes they can even learn something about the city they live in.
“Oh this is historical? Oh, there is a monument for this guy? Or the yellow dog. I didn’t know it was a piece of art, right, but it is. All these things about the city I learn, and I’ve been here for years, of course, I knew some, but not as much, now that I have this game,” Rodriguez said.
Nikolas Wyslouzil, the executive director at Chinook Country Tourist Association, said the game is comparable to geocaching and hopes it will allow more locals to gain appreciation for their city.
“I think those kind of things are really engaging for people, it makes them head out and do things and, again, anything that has people out and exploring to find things in our city, especially if they find things on their own through this app or however they get there it’s a bonus.”
As for Rodriguez, he plans to explore until he and his family catches them all.
The game has only officially been released in the United States.