Although it may have lost some of its initial enthusiasm this mobile game still has thousands of dedicated followers… Melika Jeddi tells us more.
Have you ever found yourself wandering around Portsmouth, perhaps passing the Guildhall, or the Spinnaker tower and noticed a group of strangers gathered together, huddled over their phones and calling out to each other, as if part of some unusual cult? The chances are that you’ve just encountered some of the thousands of locals who play the popular mobile game Pokémon Go!
The game launched in 2016, quickly making headlines as millions across the globe picked up their phones and headed out into their neighbourhoods to catch the virtual creatures. The premise is simple – using GPS you can catch different pokémon as they spawn around you, hatch pokémon eggs as you walk, and get new items by spinning ‘pokéstops’.
However, the game has evolved since its inception and remains very popular. Features have been added to encourage more social interaction, and to help the players discover their locale.
You get rewarded by spinning new stops, which drives players to go beyond their local streets, and to really explore Portsmouth. I have visited so many fascinating places across the city whilst playing Pokémon Go.
One of the best new features, in terms of helping players get to know each other, was the introduction of Raids. These are special battles where you have the opportunity to catch rare (or even legendary) Pokémon. Many of these are only possible to complete when playing with others, with some Raids requiring at least 7 or 8 different players. This really kick-started the Portsmouth and Southsea community, with hundreds of players communicating with each other via Facebook chats in order to organise Raids.
If you’re interested in playing, but don’t know where to start, I have some top tips, gathered from local residents:
– Gunwharf Quays is great for collecting new items, as there are a greater density of pokéstops, meaning you can spin lots of stops whilst walking a far shorter distance than you would normally need to. As you might expect, Water-type Pokémon are also really common here.
– Victoria Park is an excellent place to go if you want to find new Pokémon for your Pokedex. You can also enjoy the delightful aviary, and watch the real-life animals whilst you’re busy catching the virtual ones…
– Don’t be shy! Pokémon isn’t just for kids, and most people who play Pokémon Go actually tend to be in their 20s and 30s, we even have over 70s who play locally with us!
– For a truly social experience, take part in a Community Day. These are monthly 3 hour events organised by the game developers, and they give you the opportunity to catch shiny pokémon, which are rare colour variants and are incredibly sought after. There will also be hundreds of other players about for you to trade with, and battle alongside.
So, what are you waiting for? Gotta catch ‘em all!