If there is one thing this summer will be remembered for, it will be the day in early July when Pokémon Go swept the world.
It is a trend that has continued throughout the summer, simultaneously getting gamers off their couches and uniting a diverse demographic of Poké-players. UR has been no exception.
“I’ve definitely noticed it during RA training,” senior Shadman Islem said. “People will open the app without even thinking about it, and it sparks an instant conversation amongst the people they’re with—asking about teams, levels, what’s nearby, etc.”
Junior Anyah Wright agreed that the game had a unique ability to foster community among UR students simply based on their mutual interest.
“You don’t have to be a hardcore Pokémon fan to enjoy it,” she said. “It’s fun to go walk around with friends and you often meet new people who are doing the same thing.”
The app’s presence has even found its way into Admissions, as tours of campus easily become tours of different PokéStops.
The University’s NewsCenter has taken interest in the mobile game as well, recently featuring an update to incoming students with an interactive map of all the Poké-stops on campus.
Even with the University’s reduced summer population, Pokémon Go has been infectious among students on campus and is expected to last in its popularity as the academic year begins.
“I think it’ll definitely continue,” Wright said. “More people means more people on each team and more people battling for control of gyms.”
Islem agreed, saying, “A lot of people are excited to see what locations are PokéStops on campus and to play with their friends at school after being at home all summer.”
Although several students have voiced their belief that it will survive well into the school year, many agree that there is one serious barrier in the game’s way: winter.
“Once the weather gets colder, I think it will die down,” Islem said. “At least, people will be less willing to adventure and seek out new Pokémon.”
Junior Dominic Sarappa was less than thrilled with the prospect of people playing during the school year.
“I think it’s gonna piss me off,” he professed. “People playing in the hallways are going to get in the way, buried in their phones instead of paying attention to where they’re going.”
Then again, Poké-players’ campus commitment has been proven before, and if the game’s popularity can survive the winter months, anything could happen.
“At one point I saw someone literally standing in pouring rain to finish a battle at a gym,” Wright said. “I’m not that invested yet.”
Reckless scenarios involving Pokémon trainers have topped trends on Facebook throughout the summer, and when it comes to safety, “the answer is easy,” according to Dana Perrin, Assistant Director of Public Safety on the River Campus and Department of Public Safety Public Information Officer.
Whether you are hunting Pokémon or simply taking a stroll, “everyday, do your best to stay aware of your surroundings, avoid unfamiliar areas, and always know how to access help if needed,” he said.
The administration’s map of PokéStops can be found on the NewsCenter website.