By Katherine Gibbs
Pokémon Go was released in the U.S. on July 6 and is available on Android and iOS devices. The game is free to play and uses location based augmented reality to make fictional Pokémon become part of our world.
The point of the game is to go outside and explore your city while also looking for Pokémon. Pokéstops are located all around the city and are often found at public places such as historical markers and monuments.
“It’s pretty cool to see other people, other members of the community getting out and enjoying and learning about the city and towns and just getting out and meeting other people,” said Jessica Krobot.
Since its release, the game has become very popular with people of all ages. “Last night there was probably about 60 people over here,” said Brandon Luna, a senior at UMHB. “There were little kids all the way up to grandparents.”
Downtown Belton has a lot of Pokéstops, especially near the courthouse and other public landmarks. It has become a hub to catch Pokémon and socialize with people who share the same enthusiasm. Players can play anytime that they want, day or night. This has led to more suspicious person calls to the Belton police department because people have been out playing at midnight and later. In response, the police department has put out some tips on social media for trainers to stay safe while playing the game. “Citizens don’t know, especially our older citizens,” said Candice Griffin, public safety social media coordinator. “They don’t have any clue what Pokémon is. We wanted to put the awareness out there.”
Players starting the game are prompted to watch their surroundings and be alert at all times. However, Luna has seen people looking at their phones and neglecting to watch for traffic and almost getting hit by cars. Griffin wants people to be safe while they play and asks that they be vigilant and don’t play while driving.
“We just want you to be aware of your surroundings, to look up from your phone every now and then and just be aware of what’s around you,” said Griffin.