By now, you've seen them everywhere: Kids and adults of all ages, slowly meandering through the parks and neighborhoods, heads down and eyes glued to their phones. Every so often, they stop — smartphone raised as if capturing an image of some ghostly presence, unseen to observers' eyes.
Add one more Pokémon to the Pokédex.
Since launching just a week ago, the augmented reality app Pokémon GO
has taken hold of our collective attention, spurring myriad media analyses, think pieces, subreddits
, Facebook groups
and filling your social media feed with friends' reactions — excitement for finally catching the elusive Pikachu, as well as incredulity that the game is seemingly everywhere (it actually is).
For the uninitiated
, Pokémon GO uses a Google Maps overlay to create a reality-rooted game world, in which actual landmarks, businesses and other places become map points that serve as in-game locations, where players must physically travel to "collect" Pokémon, level up their characters and find in-game resources. Your phone's GPS system then locates you inside the game world so you know where to find these map points. Also, it's free to download and play on Android and iOS devices.
Whether you're on board or not, the game has truly ignited the pop culture world. So earlier today, several of us here at the Inlander
decided to get out and meet some of the local players getting into the game, while also catching a few Pokés of our own. We headed to Riverfront Park, a hotbed for players eager to nab the other-dimensional Pokémon who pop up along its paved paths with regularity.
First, we run into Tony Mowatt, who's been playing the game for the past several days, logging between 8-9 hours, he estimates.