Tab Tries: Pokémon Go

I will travel across the land, searching far and wide…

addictive app Cambridge catching mobile phenomenon pokemon pokémon go pokéstop Students university

Pokémon is finally making a comeback, taking the world by storm to a degree not seen since its widespread popularity in the late ’90s.

It’s no secret that I am unashamedly a huge fan of this profoundly uncool franchise. In a post-Brexit 2016 and as a Cambridge student, this game and its lovable little critters are the last remnants of my childhood and provide solace from the grim reality of the world around us and the reading list that I’m supposed to be ploughing through.


Profoundly uncool indeed

For those living under a rock (or nose-deep in a book/on an internship/who have an aversion to awesome things) who have yet to be roped into downloading this application that has seen people across the world finding dead bodies and getting robbed at gunpoint in their quest to catch ’em all, it’s a lot of fun. I swear.

Having already eclipsed our beloved Tinder in download numbers, the app sees you attempting to catch the original 151 creatures in real time in your local area. It works so well because it takes the game back to basics with its focus on collecting, and is getting people outside, frantically walking around like lunatics in search of that elusive Pikachu.

Even the university itself has acknowledged the abundance of Pokémon since the game’s launch

As an augmented reality game, the app uses your smartphone’s GPS and clock to make Pokémon “appear” on your screen. The goal is to then throw a Pokéball and attempt to catch them. Rinse. Repeat. It might sound boring, but with so many different Pokémon to catch depending on your location and the time of day, it’s wildly addictive. There is also a competitive element in that as you level up, you can pledge allegiance to one of three teams (Team Mystic ftw) in an attempt to take over gyms around you. What’s more, the 10 year old wannabe Pokémon trainer in me can appreciate how the app makes it all feel real, or at least as real as it could be compared to the video games.

So, how does Pokémon Go work within the bubble? Well, pretty much like it does everywhere else, as my friends who are staying over the summer can attest to. You’ll probably be catching nothing but Pidgeys in the beginning, but Addenbrooke’s and Peterhouse Deer Park are just a few of the places that host Pokéstops, points of interest where you can collect items and eggs that can be hatched to find new Pokémon. Water Pokémon can be found near the River Cam, and Mill Road is a hive of different Pokémon and Pokéstops alike.


Incredible photoshop skills

But, thinking outside the box as we’re supposed to (I mean, how else did we get in in the first place?!) and using a little imagination, the possibilities that this game provides are endless. If the game is still popular come Michaelmas, which it is likely to be as the game’s developers Nintendo and Niantic have the opportunity to introduce more Pokémon from other generations, it will be interesting to see how it plays out once Cambridge’s student population returns, especially the horde of incoming freshers.

I can see the game encouraging people to visit other colleges to see what creatures lurk there, and people might even make the trek to Girton! Inter-collage rivalry might brew depending on which of the three teams (Valor, Mystic and Instinct) people join. And there’s bound to be many a college bar argument about who’s caught more Pokémon than who.

And of course, the procrastination possibilities are endless. Whether our supervisors will accept “trying to catch ’em all” as a valid excuse for a late essay is a little tenuous, but we can deal with that hurdle when it comes. Snapchat and meme potential is high and the little known Cambridge University Pokémon Society might just get a few more members…

Overall, if you have yet to get the game, it’s well worth the download. Despite being a bit of a battery hog, it’s tons of fun. Expect a lot of people with their heads down staring at their phones next term – Pokémania is back and here to stay!