Pokemon trainers ventured to NKU Tuesday night to collect as many Pokemon as possible and battle their competitors with one mission in mind: to be the very best.
“Pokemon Go,” the popular app which reached 15 million downloads, uses a smartphone’s GPS and camera to create a map of the user’s surrounding location. NKU has become a hub for Pokemon players, as campus is crawling with the virtual critters. The user must physically walk around the area to make Pokemon appear. To catch them, the player aims their camera at the virtual Pokemon and with a simple flick of a Pokeball the creature is caught.
It’s official: more than 1,000 people visited campus tonight for #PokemonGoNKU. Thanks for a great event! pic.twitter.com/mnB3oOFJwq
— NKU (@nkuedu) July 27, 2016
But it’s easy for a player’s Pokeballs to diminish. “Pokestops,” or locations in the real world which the game labels as a sort of landmark, replenish supplies. A player can also receive eggs and candy to hatch and level up their Pokemon.
With 20 Pokestops at NKU, ranging from the Welcome Center to the Board of Regents Memorial Plaque, students were able to collect Pokeballs, eggs and candy. There were lures at all spots for two hours Tuesday night, making NKU the Pokemon jackpot.
Overheard on campus: “But I don’t WANT a Weedle.” We feel you. #PokemonGoNKU
— NKU (@nkuedu) July 26, 2016
“This gives me an excuse to leave my house and be more active instead of just laying around inside being lazy,” Alex Cline, a 20-year-old student from Florence, said. “I really hope to evolve my Pokemon, to level up and continue to get better.”
The game doesn’t stop at just catching Pokemon. By leveling up Pokemon, players can battle each other and defend their gyms. Players must choose which team they will represent in all gym battles: Instinct (yellow), Mystic (blue) or Valor (red).
The gyms, similar to Pokespots, are located around town at significant public areas, such as churches or parks. Players are able to leave their strongest Pokemon at the gym to defend it from opposing team members.
Playing #PokemonGO at @nkuedu and it’s kind of amazing. There’s a lot of people here.
— Sydney (@zombierific) July 26, 2016
The two gyms at NKU, located near Steely Library, were flashing neon lights, switching from yellow to blue, then red to blue; the different teams fighting hard to defend their honor.
Danielle Alexander a senior nursing major chose Team Valor because of the dominant color.
“Red is bold, encouraging and powerful, what I hope to achieve in life, but there’s nothing wrong with Mystic or Instinct,” Alexander said. “We need balance.”
Alexander had never been a huge fan of the original Pokemon shows or games, but after her roommate showed her the game, she was captivated.
“I did not know about this app, I actually thought it was a joke,” Alexander said. “I said to my roommate, ‘No way you can catch Pokemon in the real world,’ then I downloaded it and became addicted. It’s funny that I’m such a big fan now.”
The “Pokemon Go” app brought all types of fans, new and old, young and old, together at NKU. Students, alums, parents, teachers and kids were all in attendance.
Catie Hulett, a seventh grader who came with her family, was surprised by how many players were at the university. Ever since Hulett’s neighbor gave her a binder with all of the different Pokemon on the cover, she’s been fascinated by it.
“I’ve met a lot of new friends here and it’s cool that we all love Pokemon,” Hulett said. “I especially love Charizard just because he’s so intense and kind of scary.”
Catie Hulett, who’s in 7th grade says “I came to search for awesome Pokemon and support Team Mystic” #PokemonGoNKU
— Emily Osterholz (@EmilyOsterholz) July 26, 2016
University Police estimated over 1,000 people came to NKU for the first publicized Pokemon event. The first 300 in attendance even received NKU Pokeball stickers.
William Heekin, junior CIT major, thinks the most surprising thing about “Pokemon Go” has been the social and interactive part of it.
“I think Pokemon Go is the next step for Nintendo to embrace; the hand-held market,” Heekin said. “It’s such a cash grab and very good for making money. Plus, it’s a social phenomenon. Even if it doesn’t last it’s already brought together so many people. I’m baffled, I’ve made so many friends at NKU and outside of NKU just because of this game.”