It has been roughly one month since Niantic released Pokemon GO in the United States. Within days of being released, Pokemon GO became the most popular mobile game in US history, quickly amassing millions of active users. In no time at all, the augmented reality game had more users than Tinder, Twitter, and plenty of other apps.
It isn’t surprising that the game took off the way it did. The Pokemon franchise has kept a solid fan base since its release a full twenty years ago, and many of those fans were chomping at the bit for a new game after a full year of no releases in 2015 . When a new game was released that was not only free but allowed players to catch Pokemon in real life, of course it became overwhelmingly popular.
While the popularity of the game wasn’t surprising, it was certainly unexpected. Pokemon GO players are all familiar with the app crashes and server disconnects that makes the game an even mix of fun and frustration. Recent updates to the app may have even tipped the scales for some. Niantic’s removal of the tracking feature, the ban on third party trackers such as PokeVision and PokeNotify, and a few other issues have several trainers ready to call it quits
All that being said, there’s still plenty of fun to be had by those who aim to be the very best like no one ever was. In July the Library shared a blog post with ideas for day trips, and that’s exactly the sort of activity Pokemon GO inspires. Pokemon GO is great a motivator to get up and explore your community.
On one Pokemon hunting expedition I crossed the Purple People Bridge (which I had somehow never done in my nearly twenty years living here) and found myself on the American Discovery Trail. Not only did I catch five Dratini, a Magmar, and an Electabuzz, but I also spent the day on an unexpected, self-guided tour through the history of an area I’ve lived in nearly all my life.
While urban areas have proven to be the best place for hunting rare Pokemon, there are plenty of opportunities for a successful Pokemon hunt in Boone County. There’s a point in Historic Burlington where three PokeStops can be reached from one corner, and there has been an Onyx taunting me from Boone Woods for weeks. I hope to finally catch him–and plenty of other Pokemon–during the Pokemon GO Safaris the library is hosting at different Boone County Parks on Thursdays in August
Chelsea Swinford is a Youth Services Associate at the Main Library. She’s a Pokemon Professor, and hosts a Pokemon League for grades K-12 the fourth Monday of the month at the Main Library in Burlington.