Soo…let’s all talk about the elephant, I mean…the Pikachu in the room. Pokémon Go has swept the city, the nation, and the WORLD. In case you have no idea what I’m talking about, here is a simplified guide to the game, some things to be aware of as parents, and places to “hunt” with your kids!
WHAT IS IT? Pokémon Go is a game played on an app on a smart phone. Once downloaded, the app creates a “new reality” via the phone’s built-in capabilities. It uses the GPS and camera on a smartphone to allow users to view the space in front of them while playing a game. The game will insert Pokémon characters into the space around users, and it creates a new “augmented” reality, where the user then tries to catch the characters to level up. Within the game, there are PokeStops, which allow users to gain more Poke balls (how you catch the Pokémon characters). There are also gyms, which is a place where users battle other Pokémon characters to try to become the “master” of the gym. Have I lost you yet?
There are a TON of PokeStops throughout the city, but here are some of the more popular places to find one: Conner Prairie, the downtown canal, Broad Ripple Park, Crown Hill Cemetery (during the day, for the love of Pete!), Indianapolis Zoo is FULL of PokeStops and gyms, Craig Park in Greenwood, Greenwood Public Library, Klipsch Music Center, Fountain Square, Southside IU Campus, and the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. Places like Walmart, Taco Bell, and McDonald’s are even known for having the little pocket-sized monsters running around. Rumor has it there is a gym at the top of the monument on the Circle! Falls Perk in Pendleton even had a “Drowzee” in their shop. Coincidence?
In case you’re still planning to travel this summer, Kings Island (a PokeStop at every ride!) and Great Wolf Lodge in Ohio are both reported to be crawling with Pokémon characters, and the trend isn’t slowing down any time soon! The Pokémon Go game is doing something good: it’s bringing people together, and they are organizing hunts. Broad Ripple Park on the Monon Trail has a hunt already organized, and there is even a Pokémon Singles Night planned for late July! The game is also killing batteries the world over, so if you stop at a charging station in town, you’re likely to find more Pokémon around to hunt! Users are running out of data, and need wifi to recharge, which can be found at places such as the War Memorial, University Park, and Circle Centre Mall. If you’re planning to hunt downtown, mall parking appears to be your best bet, if you’re looking to park on the cheap.
If you’re not into the game, but your kids are, here are some things to be aware of:
1. Kids are SCALING BUILDINGS to catch their Pokémon. Characters are appearing on the rooftops of buildings, and kids are stopping at nothing to get to the top.
2. Kids are going out late at night because, “that’s when the good Pokémon come out.”
3. Encourage kids to hunt in groups—the larger, the better. Discourage hunting alone.
4. Encourage kids to be aware of their surroundings. The PokeStops are broadcasted, so it has been reported that thieves are gathering in PokeStops and stealing cell phones. It’s also been reported that children are walking into traffic because they are so engaged in the game, they become unaware of normal dangers.
5. Kids are disrespecting private property. Even if a character seems to have wandered onto the lawn of a residence, kids are still hunting them, and causing a public disruption.
6. With large groups, come large amounts of litter and trash. Encourage and remind kids that it is important to keep Indy beautiful. Obviously, the prettier the sidewalks, the more Pokémon we’ll attract. That’s how it works, right?