ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR
An exasperated man, out of breath from running, paused only to ask me, “Do you know where the Dratini is?” While this encounter may seem strange during the day it appears even more so at 2 a.m. in the morning, in a nearly empty shopping district. These unusual occurrences have become the norm for many players of the hit mobile game Pokémon GO.
The augmented reality game for mobile phones Pokémon GO has taken the world by storm. With downloads on over 10 percent of all Android phones and breaking Apple’s app download record, nearly everyone has heard of the mobile game.
Niantic, Inc., the company responsible for the development of the game, has seen an incredible response in terms of popularity and reception for this free to play game. Nintendo has seen an overwhelming increase in their company val-ue, up to several billion dollars, despite only owning 33 percent of the game.
The evidence is undeniable: people love being able to catch Pokémon in real life.
While Pokémon GO is likely to continue to be a sensation across the globe, those playing at the University of Nebraska at Omaha will find themselves particularly lucky given the dense collection of Pokéstops and Gyms.
For those less familiar with the game, there are locations in the game that are connected to a geological location. Pokémon GO uses GPS tracking to follow a player in real time. This requires players to actually move to locations to collect additional resources and find more digital creatures.
Due to the game’s method of using data collected about various statues and other public art depictions to create “Pokéstops,” locations used to collect essential items to continue playing, UNO finds itself a sort of hotspot with all of its publicly displayed art.
In addition to these stops are several “Gyms” located on campus. Gyms are the locations in the game that give players to opportunity to duke it out with other players’ Pokémon. Usually set at more prominent buildings and structures, one of the on campus Gyms is UNO’s bell tower in the middle of Dodge campus.
Not only is UNO’s campus filled to the brim with Pokémon catching opportunities but Elmwood Park and the Aksarben area also serve as prime locations to go for a walk while staying on the lookout for rare Pokémon.
Elmwood Park, with around a dozen stops, presents an excellent chance for the aspiring trainer to get outside and have fun. Meanwhile, Aksarben, has a collection of restaurants and shops to browse and dine at while on the search.
One of the major benefits of Niantic’s hit creation is the new social opportunities opened up for players. Going off to college for the first time or even returning can be intimidating. Pokémon GO offers an easy way to break the ice for students trying to get out of their shell or perhaps even give a chance to reconnect with old friends and peers.
While fun to play, Pokémon GO users must be wary of their safety and surroundings while playing. Recent updates include precautionary warnings to avoid trespassing, wandering into dangerous areas, or driving while playing.