The Pokémon Go craze is sweeping the nation, and Arlington isn’t immune.
More than two dozen Arlington residents of all ages set out on a PokéWalk along the perimeter of the reservoir to hunt virtual, exotic creatures called Pokémon. Since Pokémon Go’s release on July 6, The Niantic-made mobile app has blossomed into a global phenomenon and has already been deemed the hottest mobile game ever. It uses a phone’s GPS to turn the user’s real geographic location into a magical Pokémon and Pokémon trainer inhabited world. Many physical landmarks in Arlington, like Rindge Park or the Reservoir, are important destinations in the app called PokéStops. The idea is to motivate players to navigate the real world using “augmented reality.”
The original handheld games took the world by storm in the late 1990s, so Pokémania’s revival is fueled by those now-adult fans’ nostalgia, bringing together individuals of all ages. Because the character, or trainer, moves in the game as one walks around in real life, the player must actually travel to that location. This aspect has prompted some notes of concern in the news, but Arlington residents are confident about the benefits. Pokémon Go, many say, encourages players to actively explore their natural environment.