As worldwide gaming phenomenon go, there are few in history to match the Pokemon Go craze
Of course, it’s easy to notice, because rather than keeping gamers inside, Pokemon Go requires them to go outside, turning the world into a giant scavenger hunt
And they are getting outside in record numbers. By some estimates, there have been as many as 30 million downloads of the game, and that was just in the first few weeks after its July release.
The craze has hit Tampa and the rest of Florida. Crowds are going to special Pokemon Go days at amusement parks around the state, including Disney World and Busch Gardens. It’s also led to packed public spaces, including parks.
For those who are not gamers, or who don’t know anyone who is, here’s a brief look at how the
Pokemon Go game works
The game is free-to-play and can be downloaded into your smartphone. However, there are add ons to the game that can make you more successful, but cost money.
Players first create an avatar from a host of choices (hair and eye color, etc.) and once that is set, the avatar is placed on a map that corresponds to your geographical location. As the players walk through the real world, “wild” Pokemon appear on their screen.
The goal is to catch as many characters as you can, using lures picked up at specific “Pokestops,” typically located in public spaces.
Players attempting to catch the characters can either see them on a map or against a realistic background of their current location.
As you can imagine, or perhaps have noticed, this has led to a lot of gamers walking around towns and cities around the world, including Tampa.
This summer, Busch Gardens invited Pokemon Go players to the amusement park to catch Pokemon characters and enjoy game-inspired drinks and food. The event, which lasted from late July into August, drew thousands to the park.
A similar event was held at Disney World in Orlando.
Still, not all have greeted the craze with enthusiasm. There have been complaints this summer from residents around Ballast Point Park in South Tampa.
Fox News visited the park after closing time on a recent Friday night and found 100 people playing the game in the park. They reported that as many as 200 have been seen in the park after hours
Visitors to the park complained that the number of people left no open parking spaces. And a spokesman for the police department said it has led to people parking illegally at the parking, wherever they can find a space.
Still, such complaints are likely to do little to dim the game’s popularity. It has been praised for its social aspects as many people often play the game together. It also got high marks for getting people out the house and seeing sites within the city where they live.
Even as the new school year begins, expect the Pokemon Go craze to continue!