Pokemon Go has been played by teenagers for years. Once the pandemic hit, activity in the game slowed down. With restrictions loosening back up again, the game has regained traction throughout the Godwin community. 

Pokemon Go is a free application for iOS and Android smart devices. Players must move around in the real world to track and capture Pokemon. This game uses the same characters from the Pokemon card game and the early 2000’s TV show.

Pokemon Go originally debuted in 2016. The game instantly became popular. Once the COVID-19 pandemic hit, popularity of the game dropped due to the lack of people traveling outside of their homes and neighborhoods. As things began to open back up these past few months, the active users on Pokemon Go increased. 

Although Pokemon Go has many users and introduces the players to different locations, the game has also been proven to be dangerous. In July of 2016, a teenager, Jerson Lopez de Leon, was ambushed and shot while playing Pokemon Go. Lopez de Leon was sucked into the game and was unaware of his surroundings; therefore he had no ability to protect himself. 

Junior Patrick Barbier has been playing the game for 3 years. He recognizes the safety issues involved with the game, but he makes sure to be aware while playing.

“I think it could be dangerous if you’re playing while driving, but the game has implemented effective methods to combat danger,” said Barbier.

Junior Charlie Hall plays Pokemon Go almost daily. Hall agrees with Barbier’s statement about game safety. 

“When playing and driving, some players are not as aware of their surroundings as normal and can run into dangerous situations,” said Hall.

The reboot attraction to Pokemon Go has spread to numerous students at Godwin. Junior Lawrence Belcher has also joined other students in playing the game. Belcher says his favorite part of the game is the “interaction with the real world and the ability to see many different places”.

Hall was influenced to play the game by some of his friends. 

“I have been consistently playing for about a month and a half now. Some of my friends recently got me back into the game,” said Hall.

While the game has been enjoyable for Belcher and his friends, he wishes to change a few things about the game to make it more convenient. 

“[I wish the] Pokestop distance would be changed to 80 meters [instead of 40 meters],” said Belcher.

Hall typically plays the game by himself, but enjoys catching Pokemon better with his friends.

“For the most part, I play alone. Although, it is much more enjoyable when I am ‘hunting’ with my friends,” said Hall. 

Pokemon Go has allowed Barbier to meet new people and expand his friendship horizons. 

“[I know] many people that play the game as well as a few people that I met through the game,” said Barbier. Similarly, Hall has met a few players playing the game. Contrary to Hall, Belcher has the most friends on the app by a significant amount. “I have about 100 people on my friends list on the app,” said Belcher.

Hall and Barbier both have been playing Pokemon Go on and off, it has been just recently that they have consistently been playing. Belcher did not play before the pandemic.

 “The pandemic mixed with the many added changes to the game led players to playing more. Added free time this summer is what lured me back,” said Hall.  

As more people started to go back outside, the participation rose again. 

“I definitely saw a dip in players at the beginning of the pandemic. But, as more people were encouraged to go outside in the later months, the game blossomed,” said Barbier. 

Barbier’s favorite spot he’s gone to is Hollywood cemetery, but his most frequently visited spot is the much closer – Discovery Church off of Lauderdale Rd. Hall’s favorite spot is Deep Run Park.

“It has the most Pokestops and gyms. [However], my most frequent spot is probably the Discovery Library because it is close and also has a good amount of stops and gyms as well,” said Hall.

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