Pokemon GO

Ten strangers meet at midnight in a small triangular park in central Austin barely big enough to house a small mosaic and a patch of grass. The strangers were attracted by a Lure module that was placed at a Pokestop.

This is hardly a rare sight as I’ve come to discover. Adults all over Austin, and the country, are playing Pokemon Go late at night. I do it because I can’t stand the over 100 degree weather of Austin’s summer and because I happen to be awake late at night.

Pokemon Go initially felt like a real life Pokemon Safari Zone. You walk around and run into pokemon that you can only catch by throwing Pokeballs and fruit to. But once you discover good locations the game becomes something different.

It’s a unique social experience – playing Pokemon Go. Walking down N. Lamar we realized that the best place to go was wherever there was lots of Pokestops, and because our neighborhood was a deadzone, we started searching the city. We found new stops and new gyms and explored parts of the city we never would have before. I caught my first Magikarp and Psyduck on a small walking bridge above the Colorado River.

We were on foot but we saw other Pokemon Go players in cars. You can tell because there is almost always someone in the passenger seat holding a phone and they stop or slow down at every Pokestop to collect pokeballs and other goodies. N Lamar had no fewer than a dozen people walking around visiting pokestops and fighting gyms.

It’s not rare for a person on bike to stop and talk to you about where his friend said he spotted a Charmander. Or a car to stop by and ask if you’ve caught anything good, and then drive off after you’ve directed him to where you found your first Pikachu.

Pokemon Go is a wonderful Adventure. Millions of people trying to catch digital monsters, again, after 20 years.

A hundred students gather around a field at midnight. Recently added Pokestops and the 4 lures that were placed in the Quad attracted all the late night goers. Groups discuss Pokemon and complain about the number of Magikarp this area has. Except the few that desperately want that Gyarados. I am one of those few. It’s fairly quiet save for that light chatter until a figure in the dark yells out, “Valor”. Many yell “Yeah!” in response.

“Mystic!” another counters.

“Instinct!” yells the last group.

The commotion dies down and everyone continues to sit relatively quiet around the field. I sit on a bench watching the people go by and listening to the discussion when the final outburst of the night happens. “Dratini!” one yells. Other’s repeat. Everyone is now looking at their phones trying to catch their first Dragon type. Swipe. Snap… Catch.

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