Unless you’ve been living underground like a Diglett for the past 48 hours, chances are pretty high that you’ve encountered Nintendo and Niantic’s new mobile phenomenon, Pokémon Go, in one form of another. The new free-to-play game rolled out to iOS and Android devices two days ago, and the game’s servers have been slammed ever since, with fledgling Pokémon trainers all over the world looking to begin their quest to catch ‘em all.
The game, which utilizes Niantic’s augmented reality software to transform the world around the player into a land inhabited the popular Nintendo creatures, demands users to keep tabs on their phone screens while hunting for Pokémon and supplies. The supplies, such as Poké Balls used for capturing the Pokémon, and eggs that can be incubated and hatched by walking designated distances, can be found around the city at various locations that the game has designated as a “PokéStop.” While my neighborhood in South Tabor was pretty dried up, downtown Portland offered block after block of goods ripe for collecting. Bars, coffee shops, churches, historical markers, sculptures, fountains, and restaurants all double as PokéStops, so a quick jaunt through the heart of the city will yield you plenty of supplies. Many of the city’s numerous historical markers have been transformed into PokéStops.
In addition to the supply stops, some locations around the city have been designated as PokéGyms. Gyms can be accessed once a trainer hits level 5. At that point, the player will decide which of three teams they wish to join, and then the teams will go to work using their captured Pokémon to defend and control the the various gyms around the city. So far, I’ve seen gyms at the downtown Voodoo Donuts location, the middle of the Burnside Bridge, and at a couple coffee shops and Thai restaurants around the Southeast.
A couple more stray observations -
• I went to Revolution Hall in the hopes of reliving my middle school Pokémon trainer days, but it was all dried up. I caught a Psyduck at the bar, but the Pokémon seem to be staying away from schools. Maybe this will dissuade students from hunting in class come September.
• On the other hand, bars seem to be perfect locations for catching Pokémon. I nabbed a Psyduck at a downtown watering hole yesterday afternoon.
• Yesterday, TriMet issued a statement on trainers blocking the doors on buses and the MAX:
Oddly enough, the bus has proved to be one of the better hunting grounds. For evidence of that, just look at the picture wild Zubat that emerged from this rider’s pants!
Once servers get stabilized, competition for control over the gyms could become pretty heated. Where else have all you trainers spotted gyms? What color team did you side with? Has anyone discovered any rare Pokémon out there? I’m planning to check out Mt. Tabor over the weekend in the hopes of tracking down some fire and rock types. Fingers crossed for a Geodude. Good luck out there! Just be sure to keep you heads up, and stay out of people’s way!