'Pokemon Go' draws hundreds to Downtown DeKalb
Category: Community News,
'Pokemon Go' draws hundreds to downtown DeKalb
Published: Wednesday, July 13, 2016 11:57 p.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, July 14, 2016 12:42 a.m. CDT
DeKALB – A mob of hundreds charged the streets of downtown DeKalb on Tuesday in pursuit of a rare creature not visible to an unsuspecting bystander.
Since the July 6 release of the mobile app “Pokemon Go,” people worldwide are on a mission to be the very best – as no one ever was.
Surprisingly, the video game might be just the thing to get people off their couches, into the community and, perhaps, even in shape, fans have said.
In fact, for the past three nights, hundreds have gathered in downtown DeKalb to hunt Pokemon and build the most impressive collection among their friends.
DeKalb game store, The Gaming Goat, 299 E. Lincoln Highway, is taking full advantage of the hype, and has used the game to help draw large crowds to the city’s downtown.
“Once ‘Pokemon Go’ came out, everything changed,” Gaming Goat owner Phillip Henrikson said. “People hit the streets and basically picked up on their childhood dreams trying to catch ‘em all.”
Similar to a scavenger hunt, the game uses Google Maps to lead players to the Pokemon closest to them, with many businesses and historical landmarks serving as Pokestops, or bases where players can collect crucial items for their hunt. But sometimes the game leads people to wander into unfamiliar territory.
It wasn’t until Jake Jensen was moments away from hopping a fence to escape a loose dog that he fully realized he was on private property.
“I hopped the fence, and I saw the dog and the porch, and I was like, ‘It’s not leashed,’ and I booked it and the dog chased after me,” Jensen said. “I threw my phone over the next fence and just hopped it.”
“Pokemon Go” uses a device’s camera to allow players to see the animated creatures in a real environment. Since its release, the app has made about $1.6 million a day, according to reports from SensorTower.
Fans are buzzing about the game’s success in bringing people together and encouraging fitness (players have to walk a set distance to unlock certain characters), but it’s also raised concerns from law enforcement and raised the eyebrows of those on the outside looking into the game’s seemingly ubiquitous presence.
DeKalb’s Pokemon-related police calls mostly have been for loitering and reports of suspicious activity, DeKalb police officer Kelly Sullivan said.
“I would just say don’t stay in one area for a long period of time. Obviously, so long as they’re not causing a disturbance in front of businesses or public areas, that’s fine,” Sullivan said. “I guess the safety concerns the police department has is, we want people to be aware of their surroundings. If their eyes are glued to their cellphones, and they’re looking down while they’re walking, they could walk into the street.”
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