A world of adventure awaits!

Pokemon Go Logo. Picture by Pokemon Go official mobile game.

Even at Norwich University, many students, inspired by childhood memories and the logo “Go explore, go discover, go collect,” spend their free time playing Pokémon Go.

First released in July of 2016, the app is an augmented reality mobile game developed and published by Niantic for both IOS and Android phones. In collaboration with Nintendo, the purpose of the game is to locate, capture, and battle virtual monsters through mobile devices.

Pokémon Go became the world number one mobile game with over seven million downloads in less than a week and got named “Best Mobile Game” by The Game Developers Choice Awards and “Best App of the Year” by TechCrunch according to the Pokémon Go website.

Although the global gaming sensation has been out for two years, it has recently risen in popularity on Norwich University’s campus. “ Whenever I walk into class I see at least one person playing Pokémon Go,” said Kanisha Gonzalez, 20, a junior communications major, from Camden, N.J.

Pokémon Go is based on the Japanese cartoon Pokémon, originally aired in 1997. The show follows the main character, Ash Ketchum, as he catches mythical creatures, called Pokémon, that he uses to battle other people.

There are many students here at Norwich University like Marcelo Maristan, 20, a junior communications major from Lewisville, Texas, who play the game because it gives them a sense of nostalgia.

“I grew up watching Pokémon and when I was a high school senior my friends and I knew we had to play it,” Maristan said.

In Maristan’s view, keeping up one’s Pokémon collection makes players relive their childhood spent either watching the show on TV, or playing the video game with the old Nintendo Game Boy.

Pokémon played an

important role in many Norwich students’ childhood, which intrigued them to download the new mobile version of the game. By leveling up, players are able to capture more powerful Pokémon to complete their collection, called Pokédex.

Others download the game simply because they have friends who play Pokémon Go and they enjoy the group environment, like Anthony Rodriguez, 21, a senior communications major from San Antonio, Texas.

Some of the most famous Pokémon. Picture from Pokemon Go official mobile game

“It’s a really good social fad and that’s what makes it so easy for people to play Pokémon go,” Rodriguez said. “My friend and I used it (Pokémon Go) to talk and interact with new people.”

Pokémon Go introduces social and trading features that allow players to connect with each other by adding friends, sending gifts, and participating in a friendship level system that unlocks bonuses. Users can interact by collecting and trading Pokémon with other trainers nearby and earning a Candy Bonus for the Pokémon received.

“We used to have a small group of eight to ten people playing and then we were added to a group full of all the people in Northfield who play Pokémon Go,” Maristan said. “I think the biggest reason I kept playing the game was the people.”

Pokémon Go is a social game that encourages users to play with their friends when it comes to tasks like defeating a raid, which is a computer-generated Pokémon that is hard to defeat by one’s self. Through cooperative gameplay experience, the app encourages users to work with up to 20 other trainers to defeat an extremely powerful Pokémon, known as the Raid Boss.

Nathaniel Sanchez, 19, a sophomore computer security information assurance major from Dallas, Texas, said he played the game to pass time with his friends, and that the game created a sense of bonding. “I never really watched Pokémon, but playing with my friends it sparked my interest in the game,” Sanchez said.

After downloading the game, players simply have to access the app and walk outside in order to catch Pokémon and meet other trainers.

“It’s a fun game and it connects me with other people all around my area,” said Rafel Moreno-Solano, 19, a sophomore electrical engineering major from Coventry, R.I. “Playing it here (at Norwich University) it is a way to interact with people outside my normal friend group.”

Pokémon Go integrates a physical and social dynamic, and players are rewarded for exploring new areas of their town or city, as different Pokémon appear in different locations.

By keeping track of the distance walked by players, Pokémon Go encourages users to walk and explore places. “It is a good way to walk around. During fall, when it was nice out, I got to see the foliage while playing the game,” Maristan said.

Unlike most of the apps for phones, the innovative aspect of Pokémon Go is that users have to walk in order to progress in the game. Through the mobile devices, the game adapts to the actual surroundings while players can have a taste of the Pokémon world.

Prof. Willow. Picture from Pokemon Go official mobile game

“I wouldn’t say it’s a good exercise tool but it does get you to walk around rather than staying on the couch,” Sanchez said.

By walking around the neighborhood, the smartphones of the players will vibrate every time there is a Pokémon nearby. Therefore, the more a player walks, the higher the chances to encounter different Pokémon.

Moreno-Solano agreed with Sanchez and even commented that, “you shouldn’t substitute everyday exercise with the game, but it does let you walk around and will help keep you in good shape rather than you sitting down all day.”

For all those students looking for a pretext to get out their rooms and spend time with their friends in the open air, Pokémon Go can be the answer. As the Pokémon Go website suggests, “It’s time to get moving—your real-life adventures await!”

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