Gotta Catch ‘Em All


If you take a walk around your neighborhood, you’ll likely find someone with phone in hand, looking for the nearest Pokémon. The runaway hit mobile app, “Pokémon Go,” was released on July 6 by Nintendo. Within its first week, it became the most downloaded app ever on the App Store.

Pokémon Go has brought together people of all ages, many of whom enjoyed playing Pokémon when they were young. The craze surrounding Pokémon Go is known as “Pokémania.”

To play, you create an avatar and try to collect as many Pokémons as possible. You can find different species in different regions. As you walk around in real life, your avatar will move with you on the map. Upon encountering a Pokémon, you can capture it by throwing a Poké Ball at the creature. Mass groups of frenzied gamers have swarmed together in public places to chase after rare species.

One feature in the game is called a PokéStop. At PokéStops, you can collect items that will help you catch Pokémons. Once you reach level five, you can travel to Pokégyms to battle with other players.

“Pokégyms are a good place to have fun and meet fellow Pokémon fans,” says Valencia Patrick, 11, from Houston, Texas.



The game has its fans and its detractors. “Pokémon Go is a brilliant public healthy solution to get people more active,” says David Roddenberry, co-founder of HealthyWage. HealthyWage is a company that uses cash incentives to encourage people to lose weight and stay fit. “One of my favorite aspects of the game is that families participate together and all get active at the same time,” Roddenberry adds.

The gaming phenomenon has been shown to help kids with autism be more social and spend more time outdoors. My 18-year-old brother, Alex Li, is autistic. As a fan of the game, he says, “I usually spend a lot of time indoors, but Pokémon Go gets me to walk around outside more often.”

Nonetheless, the game has led to numerous accidents involving distracted players. Several trespassing incidents have also been tied to the game. Police departments have started to caution gamers about the public safety concerns caused by Pokémon Go.

In a Facebook post, the San Francisco Police Department issued an important reminder: “As you battle, train, and capture your Pokémon just remember you’re still in the real world!” 

Photo by Health Gauge