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Pokémon GO craze takes over the US and beyond

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

Dominique Basil, Bucky's Backyard Editor

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The Pokémon Company and Niantic released a game in early July that created a new obsession among people of all ages. Pokémon GO is an app about training Pokémon, joining teams, battling gyms and trying to catch them all. Pokémon GO created a great deal of competition between teams within the app. Old Pokémon fans were overjoyed once they saw their childhood game and its familiar characters. Pokémon GO did not just bring back old fans, but created new ones as well.
Some people take this game more seriously than others. People will drive around town with friends to track down and catch Pokémon together. Sometimes members of the same teams will band together and attack gyms around West Milford. Wealthier and more committed players will travel around the world just to catch region exclusive Pokémon unavailable to their native country. For example, Tauros is only obtainable in North America, while Mr. Mime is only available in Europe.
However, the adventures people have gone on to catch Pokémon have created a bit of chaos. Some people have been injured or have wound up in many other strange or dangerous predicaments, which were at times very gruesome. These events range from car crashes to very unexpected events, sometimes even leading to the deaths of other players. There was one case where 15-year-old Autumn Deiseroth, was hit by a car while walking across the highway to catch a Pokémon. She ended up in the hospital with bruises, but no major injuries. Another occurrence when people weren’t paying attention and ended up doing something stupid, was when two men fell off a cliff while looking for a Pokémon.
Sometimes criminals have lured children to certain areas with Pokémon GO. They use devices within the game called “lure modules” which lure Pokémon to a certain spot for 30 minutes, and people would go to that spot to see if they could catch a good Pokémon. Not knowing the lure was a trap, people would go there only to be jumped and robbed, which could have also led to kidnapping. One 19-year old girl was lead to a dead body, while another incident helped police to locate someone with a warrant for his arrest due to the GPS tracking in the app.
Although Pokémon GO united fans in one sense, it split them apart in another. Once someone reaches level 5, he gets to choose a team for which he fights and claims gyms. Claiming gyms means that one fights the opposing team’s Pokémon until they are all knocked out, then one put in his own Pokémon and claims it for his team. There is the wise Team Mystic (represented by the legendary bird Articuno), the powerful Team Valor (represented by the bird Moltres), and the strong-willed Team Instinct (represented by the bird Zapdos). But these teams did not create just a friendly rivalry, they created a huge competition between the three teams. People are constantly fighting over these teams to see which is the very best.
Even after many months past release of the game, the rivalry has not stopped.
Niantic and The Pokémon Company continue to improve and add more features to the app as the team rivalries continue to grow. Members of each team create memes, draw comics, and use many other ideas to promote their team as well as bash the other teams. People purchase merchandise like shirts, jackets, phone cases, along with many other items to show their team pride. All three of the teams continue to fight to be at the top.
Although Pokémon GO can be seen as having positive and negative qualities, it still managed to bring joy to all kinds of people. Do you play Pokémon GO?

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The student news site of West Milford Township High School
Pokémon GO craze takes over the US and beyond