Students enjoy ‘Pokémon Go’ craze, UPD emphasizes safety

Sam Fishel, Staff Reporter

Pokemon Go allows players to catch Pokemon and use their smartphone's camera to incorporate their surroundings.
Pokemon Go allows players to catch Pokemon and use their smartphone’s camera to incorporate their surroundings.

Pokémon Go has become one of the most popular mobile games in the United States this month, and players in the Charleston area are enjoying the game on Eastern’s campus.

Since its July 6 release in the U.S., Pokémon Go has been one of the most popular mobile apps in the country with more daily users than Twitter, according to Apple.

In the game, players explore their environment using an alternate reality interface that superimposes Pokémon into their immediate view using a smart phone’s camera. In addition to collecting, players are able to challenge various “gyms” throughout campus to train their Pokémon.

Junior psychology major Brian Anzures said he enjoys walking around campus in search of virtual Pokémon hiding among campus’ many buildings.

A screenshot from the game showing gyms on campus standing in front of Old Main. Other gyms include the Tarble Arts Center, Booth Library and O'Brien Field. Players vie for control of gyms by battling their Pokemon against the Pokemon left to defend the gym by the other colored team.
A screenshot from the game showing gyms on campus standing in front of Old Main. Other gyms include the Tarble Arts Center, Booth Library and O’Brien Field. Players vie for control of gyms by battling their Pokemon against the Pokemon left to defend the gym by the other colored team.

“I enjoy it because it makes me go out [and it] makes me want to explore and walk around and meet new people,” Anzures said.

He added he usually searches on his own, but will often encounter others playing the game and exchanges tips and tricks with them. He noted that the Doudna Steps are his favorite place to search.

“I love that from [one] week to another, people have been meeting other people and have been enjoying every single second of it,” Anzures said.

Police Chief Kent Martin of the University Police Department reminded players to always be aware of obstacles in their general vicinity, such as curbs, benches and low tree limbs, when they are playing the game. Though UPD has not reported any accidents related to the game, Martin says that there have been “several close calls.”

“When you are not aware of your surroundings … you may increase your odds of being victimized,” Martin said.

He added players should try to remain in well-lit areas at all times. He says this is for the safety of players and officers, should a crime need to be reported.

“I would encourage people to come out and enjoy the EIU campus as long as they can do so safely,” Officer Martin said.

 

Sam Fishel can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]