Pokémon GO gets Tecumseh hopping in the national craze

By: 
JACKIE KOCH

Tecumseh resident Richard Lindsay displays the Pokémon GO app on his smart phone.

Children and adults across the country have been spotted staring at their phone screens, wandering in public places, and exclaiming “I caught one!” Companies and landmarks have become locations where fictional cartoon creatures can be found. People are walking more and families are spending time together outside.

If you have no idea what is causing this phenomenon, you have not yet heard of Pokémon GO. Released as a cell phone app on July 6 of this year, the game is touted as a way to play a game and also get outside to exercise. Pokémon GO has quickly exploded in popularity with all ages.

Pokémon originally came into being in 1996 as a game for Nintendo Game Boy. The idea was hatched by Satoshi Tajiri, who lived in the suburbs of Tokyo as a child and enjoyed catching insects and tadpoles near his home. As an adult, he wanted to give children the same experience of catching creatures, but in an electronic game.

The game’s popularity led to a generation of “trainers” who collected trading cards and learned the lingo of Pokémon hunting. Eventually the fad ran its course, leaving fond memories of catching Pikachu, Snorlax, Charizard and Jigglypuff, among many others.

With Pokémon GO, the colorful critters have descended upon the local landscape. Game players use their smartphones to locate Pokémon, who are targets on a map that uses your phone’s GPS and camera to display a cartoon-like world. A player’s goal is to collect all the different Pokémon characters.

Free goodies to use in the game can be located at Pokéstops, and include Pokéballs to throw at the characters in order to catch them, potions to heal your Pokémon, and Pokémon eggs that require the user to walk from 2 kilometers up to 10 kilometers in order to incubate and “hatch” the egg into a full-grown creature.

A gym is where trainers stop to challenge other trainers’ Pokémon to fight theirs. The wins for your team at a gym (there are red, blue and yellow teams), lead to your team taking over the gym. 

There is much more to the game, but it can be confusing to follow unless you see it in action, and even then there is a learning curve.

Tecumseh is a hotbed of Pokémon activity, according to Tecumseh resident Richard Lindsay. The organizer of the Tecumseh Pokémon League and member of the Facebook group Pokémon GO of Tecumseh, Mich., Lindsay, whose sons were heavily involved in the original game, has embraced this new incarnation. “The whole thing’s endearing,” he said.

“If you’re a 27-or 28-year-old couple, guess what was the big thing when you were 12? Now you’ve got kids and this came out? They’re looking back and saying this is retro and cool, this reminds me of my childhood,” said Lindsay.

 

Although the activity related to this game is harmless, news outlets have reported some people have faced problems with unscrupulous players who lure them into dangerous situations. Others have been injured when concentrating on the game rather than their safety, and the placement of Pokémon sites on private property can lead to charges of trespassing.

The Tecumseh Police Department posted this caution on their Facebook page on July 12, “It seems that Pokémon Go has invaded the City of Tecumseh. While we applaud the physical activity that this game generates, parents need to talk with their children about some hidden dangers that may be present. 1. Please stay aware of your surroundings and be mindful of traffic. Pedestrians do not automatically have the right of way on public roadways. 2. While many Pokémon’s are located on public property, some are not. Please do not venture onto private property without obtaining permission from the homeowner. 3. Some people may use this game for illicit and immoral purposes. STAY AWARE - BE SAFE!”

Tecumseh Police Chief Troy Stern said that there have been no problems yet related to the game, but he felt it prudent to head off any potential issues. “There apparently are a lot of these things that can be collected on private property,” he said. “The other real issue we’ve noticed is they tend not to be cognizant of their surroundings,” he said of game players. But so far, Pokémon players have been considerate. “It sounds like everybody has been fairly respectful to anyone’s property they may be on.”

For business owners concerned about game players on their property, according to Forbes.com this game also has the potential to increase traffic to businesses, especially if paired with social media. A location deemed a Pokémon Gym or Pokéstop will draw players, and a business owner who has downloaded the game can purchase a Lure Module to drop “lures” that last for 30 minutes and direct gamers to that site to catch characters. A post on the business’ Facebook page alerting followers when lures will be dropped can bring in players on slow days. The business that offers special sales during these times can gain new customers.

For the Pokémon enthusiast, the Tecumseh Pokémon League will host a Trading Card Game Steam Siege Prerelease Tournament on July 24 at the Tecumseh Scout Cabin in Elliott Park, located on the corner of East Kilbuck and Ottawa streets, with registration starting at 11:30 a.m. Immediately after the tournament, there will be a Pokéstop Tour of downtown Tecumseh. The group hopes to have all of the stops downtown active with lures during this tour.

The League also has a website at www.tecumsehpokemonleague.com that features a Southeast Michigan Go Map where players can add known game spots, and search for locations to play.

Lindsay, who is 50, defies the stereotype that this is a game for youngsters. “My phone just buzzed, which means there is a Pokémon in the area,” he said, energetically striking out in the direction of his target.

As the Pokémon theme song lyrics say, “Gotta catch ‘em all!”

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Tecumseh Herald

 

110 E. Logan St.
P.O. Box 218
Tecumseh, MI 49286
517-423-2174
800-832-6443

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