By Grace McDermott
Photos by Grace McDermott
A new app has made its way to Salem College, encouraging many students to lace up their sneakers, pack a water bottle, and set out far and wide across campus. However, this isn’t just some fitness app. Produced and launched in July by a small tech company called Niantic, Pokémon Go is the world’s first virtual reality Pokémon game. Currently based on the first generation of Pokémon games that launched in Japan in early 1996, and in America in late 1998, the game is truly a marvel in and of itself. With over five hundred million downloads on the App Store, the game’s wide network of people are interacting and racing to catch ‘em all.
It has even taken root here in Salem College prompting a Facebook group dedicated to Pokémon activities on campus. Within minutes of a rare Pokémon appearance, such as a Starmie or a Snorlax, a lure, or anything else in Pokémon Go, the page erupts with news, encouraging players to come and explore. Multiple Pokemon have been appearing around campus since the app launched, as well as several Pokéstops where players can get supplies in historical locations in both Old Salem and on Campus.
Many have spoken highly of the benefits of the game both online and in person, such as bookstore worker Victoria Griffie, who has stated that Pokémon Go encourages people to go out in large groups in search of elusive, rare Pokémon, and is a surprisingly social app. The larger the group, the more likely it is that Pokémon will make an appearance, therefore encouraging players to interact in a manner not dissimilar to the games of Marco Polo of the youth.
Salem students, such as Kadia King, enjoy it as well, as it brings back the nostalgia of their youth in a whole new way. Students who remember the excitement of the first time they turned on a copy of Red or Blue, or think back fondly on watching the anime every week and wishing they lived in that world find themselves now immersed in a game that gives them exactly what they wanted.
Pokémon Go has gained a following unlike any other app in the short time since its launch. According to CNBC, the game reached number one in the App Store within twenty-four hours on the market, and has over twenty-one million players per day. It’s thus far grossed over four hundred and forty million dollars in revenue since it’s release.
According to Salem student Lorina Morton, Pokemon Go has allowed more than one generation to connect over something they love. Those who grew up with Pokemon have a great time introducing the game to those who never watched or played the old games. In fact, it’s not uncommon to even see parents and children playing together, connecting over something both can truly enjoy. Pokemon Go has hit Salem College in a way no app has truly managed before, catching the attention of both those who grew up glued to the classic game and anime in a rather remarkable way.