Pokémon Go finds cult following on campus

March 20, 2018

Pokémon GO has a cult following on campus with more than 200 people in a designated online groupchat.

Despite Pokémon GO losing popularity two years ago, the app still has a presence on campus.

The location-based mobile game Pokémon GO arrived in app stores on July 6, 2016. Garnering millions of downloads and users, the game became a widespread addiction across the country; however, due to slow updates and interest steeply declining, it seemed that Pokémon GO was only a fad that lasted all of one summer. Now, almost two years after its release, students are keeping the game alive on campus.

“I’ve played Pokémon GO since it was released,” said Froilan Martinez, education junior. “It’s a game that rewards you for going out and exploring, and I think that has kept me motivated to keep playing even though a lot of people have stopped.”

“Pokéstops” and “gyms” are spread across an in-game map of the campus, located strategically where the most student traffic occurs. Because of the convenience, more students can play the game while making their way to classes or to the student center. The game also rewards students who play the game on a daily basis, creating an incentive to open the app at least once a day.

Rogelio Nenuz, psychology major, said he first started playing the game when it first came out because of his love of the Pokémon series growing up.

“After a while it became more about meeting other people and finding friends,” Rogelio said.

Pokémon GO was created with human interaction being a key aspect of gameplay. This is mostly done through “raids,” which allows certain boss Pokémon to be available for a limited amount of time. Raids force players to work together and use teamwork to take down high level bosses. They were introduced in an update in 2017, around the same time the second generation of Pokémon were released in the game.

Most active Pokémon GO players use the gamer-friendly group messaging app Discord to set up group chats in which members schedule when to go out and hunt Pokémon and participate in raids. The biggest public Pokémon GO discord in Wichita Falls has over 200 members.

Pokémon GO may never reach the same popularity it had at the start of it’s life, but it continues on through students that embrace the Pokémon slogan “Gotta Catch ‘Em All”.

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