NIU campus catches Pokemon Go craze

Jay Ibarra

Forget the days of seeing civilians swiping left or right on their off time to find a Tinder match, because a new app from ’90s sensation Nintendo has made a striking comeback with a swift swipe up to catch ‘em all — Pokemon GO.

The app has netted more downloads than the dating app Tinder since it’s July 6 launch, according to CNN.

Niantic released Pokemon GO in early July and sent original fans of the game on a walk down memory lane, via virtual interactive missions to acquire Pokemon, battle players at the gym and claim important items at Pokestops.

During game play, players can see their Pokemon trainer walking around town on a map, ready to catch Pokemon, find local Pokestops and track lures that are put up by nearby players to gain more Pokemon. Students around campus have been traveling in groups, putting lures up on certain areas of campus so that multiple players can catch more Pokemon. Alex Hilgendorf, 23, of Dekalb and junior psychology major Bailey Whitwell said they travel in big groups, as large as six to eight while playing the game.

While watching the map and walking, you are getting exercise, but subjecting yourself to possible danger from constant virtual interaction. You have to look up and watch out for your surroundings, as the game warns you when you first open up the app. Allana Rose, junior electrical engineer major, said she will walk her dog while hunting for Pokemon and has walked for miles straight through DeKalb on a hunt since the launch.

The game has already come with a reputation for its players getting hurt or even burglarized via the in-app GPS, according to the NY Post. Local DeKalb police officers are keeping the city safe by talking to people playing the game, making sure they are paying attention while crossing the street and staying off private property.

DeKalb Police Sergeant Scott Farrell said there have been occasional city wide complaints of trespassing during Pokemon Go gameplay. “There’s going to be extra patrols, as requested for the officers [to] make sure the people are staying off of people’s property,” Farrell said.

Though the game has caused a quick, negative reputation for itself, safe players have been known to make friends from playing the game and enjoying this experience. Hilgendorf said that because of this game, he’s seen friends he hadn’t seen in a while.

This game has brought old friends back together, old players of the game to the surface and even new. It takes you off the couch and into a virtual world, looking for your favorite Pokemon characters. It’s the app of the moment, but what happens after you’ve caught them all?