A revitalized video game has taken Red Deer by storm, affecting a huge variety of the population with its intriguing gameplay.
Since the release of the Pokemon Go app, the City has been full of players gathering in droves to collect and battle their Pokemon.
The original Pokemon games were released in the early 1990s and have remained relatively popular through the years. The release of Pokemon Go – an interactive app for fans – has blown up globally, with Red Deer being no exception to the craze.
“I got it before it even came out. The first day I got it, I actually went out in my bare feet just to catch a Zubat – which I feel a little silly about because they are everywhere – but it was fun. I’ve had a lot of fun playing it,” said Poke-fan Cassie Hall.
“There are days when we get out of the house and go for more than one walk. We walked past a Poke-stop once, and we saw two men sitting in their truck in front of the store who were probably in their fifties, and they were playing it too.”
The game is designed to have players walking around, exploring their neighbourhoods and cities to find new Pokemon, hatch eggs and claim gyms.
Supply spots based on local landmarks – called Poke-Stops – are located around the City, drawing players to certain locations such as Bower Ponds.
According to data from SimilarWeb.com, Pokemon Go is quickly becoming one of the most downloaded and most used apps in North America.
Data suggests that Pokemon Go is closing in on Twitter in terms of downloads and useage.
“I think it’s awesome. It gets everyone out and walking, which is awesome. It’s getting everyone exercise. I’d probably be inside playing video games right now, instead of out walking around,” said Sean Hall, a huge fan of the game.
“It’s pretty crazy to see all the age groups that are out playing it, too. I’ve lived in the area around Bower Ponds for quite awhile and hadn’t been down here in a really long time. I got to come down and see what’s new and there are more things that I want to get out and do now.”
Bower Ponds is a particularly hot spot for Pokemon-hunters, due to its large number of pitstops and high rate of activity to draw in more players at a time.
In July, Bower Ponds hosted a ‘Pokemon-Go meet up’ event that brought in approximately 1,000 visitors to the area during the day.
At any given time, one can walk the paths by the river and see handfuls of players quietly working on their collections and stats.
Cody Wallace, a local fan of the game, said the energy at Bower Ponds that day was palpable and that the entire area was covered in players.
“There were so many people here that at times you would be shoulder to shoulder with the crowd. It was insane. There were people on the grass, on the paths – everywhere,” Wallace said.
“It’s gotten people out of the house who I know usually hated going outside and now they’re out walking around almost everyday. That’s great to see.”
The game is so far showing no signs of slowing down in popularity. Players are encouraged to remain aware of their surroundings and are reminded to not play while driving as it will be ticketed as distracted driving.