My wife and I swiftly turned the corner at St. Clair and Washington streets in downtown Toledo in hot pursuit of a Ghastly. The ghost-type Pokemon was nearby, though Rachel and I feared we had missed our chance at the slippery specter.
We had dawdled outside Fifth Third Field in an attempt to catch a Pikachu, to no avail.
Our spooky quarry appeared on Rachel’s Android phone, just as her digital avatar arrived at the street corner shown on the game map. Battle commenced and Ghastly appeared on top of a car outside the Pita Pit, a scene created using the mobile phone’s rear camera. A couple walking their dog went by, staring at Rachel’s excitement toward, seemingly, nothing.
I gawked behind her shoulder as she used her finger to fling a Pokeball — a spherical red and white device used to capture the pocket monsters — that hit the purple phantasm in the head. The Pokemon sucked into the ball and flashed red three times; just like that my wife was in possession of Ghastly.
RELATED ARTICLE: Pokemon Go craze takes Toledo by storm
She looked up in a moment of exhausted elation as I gazed at a mural of a black baseball player on the side of a building on St. Clair Street. “I never noticed that painting before,” I said. I’ve since learned that Moses Fleetwood Walker was the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball as a member of the Toledo Blue Stockings.
Our phones flashed again, showing that a rival team captured the Pokemon Gym centered at the Spaghetti Warehouse restaurant. Ready for more exploration and adventure in our own city, we continued on.
Pokemon Go, Nintendo’s augmented reality mobile game, is as much an exploration platform as it is a game. What started as a quick trip to the downtown farmers market became a sprawling adventure in an area of Toledo that I visit every day. The goal of Pokemon Go is to travel the real world and catch the iconic monsters with your mobile phone, but the real victory comes in exploring and observing familiar locations in a new way.
Much like its spiritual predecessor Ingress, Pokemon Go has players create an avatar that travels on a GPs-connected map. Players stumble across wild Pokemon while walking in the real world. Landmarks called PokeStops provide free items when visited. The stops are marked with a real-world picture of the object or building; most PokeStops are churches, art murals, or famous buildings.
While I commend any game that gets players out in the real world, Pokemon Go takes this a step farther. The game highlights interesting and historic landmarks I may have missed otherwise. Locations like the Erie Street Market and Moses Fleetwood Walker Square — outside Fifth Third Field — are prime Pokemon hunting locations.
Pokemon Go also brings people together in the real world. Three teams are available once a player hits Level 5: Mystic, Valor, and Instinct. As players take over gyms by placing a Pokemon at the location, they also mark the gym for their chosen team.
The only way to claim the gym for your team is to fight in a minigame akin to the handheld Pokemon games. Rachel and I noticed the Spaghetti Warehouse gym was taken over while eating lunch downtown at Tony Packo’s. Both members of Mystic, we rushed down the street to correct this error. My Kingler — a water-type Pokemon that looks like a giant crab — took over the gym, marking the building for our team.
As we walked back to the car, two teenage boys immersed in their phones were playing Pokemon Go and trying to capture their own monsters. Later on, I spoke with friends about the best locations for certain Pokemon, extolling the story of how I caught Kingler inside the Libbey Glass outlet.
Gaming bringing people together, even when in opposition, is a wonderful thing. Pokemon Go saw a rocky initial launch, but nothing so dire as to keep potential Pokemon trainers away. The game servers will stabilize and more people will get out in the real world to catch the classic monsters of a two decade old series.
So, go forth and catch em’ all. Just remember to look both ways while crossing the street, drink plenty of water, and bring more Pokeballs than you actually need. You will thank me later.
“Pokemon Go” is free to play with micro-transactions and available on Android and iOS devices.
Speed kills, but it also raises a ton of money for charity.
Speed Demos Archives and Speedruns Live held their annual Summer Games Done Quick charity marathon event over the weekend in Minneapolis. The marathon managed to raise just less than $1.3 million dollars for Doctors Without Borders, beating last year’s total of $1.2 million.
Twitch.TV live-streamed the marathon, which consisted of speed-running community members completing classic and modern games as quickly as possible. Events included four-way speedruns of Super Metroid and a player completing Castlevania: Symphony of the Night while blindfolded.
Viewers were encouraged to donate for incentives during the stream, which included choosing the games played, naming characters, and entering raffles.
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