Pokémon Go is proving a massive hit locally with droves of people out combing Derry’s parks and streets looking for the little monsters, local enthusiasts have said.
The international phenomenon has landed with a bang in the North West, prompting Waterside men and keen Pokémon hunters Jamie Dunn and Rory O’Brien to set up a ‘Pokémon GO Derry/L’Derry Club’ Facebook page.
Pokémon Go works by using location data from Google Maps so Pokémons can pop up anywhere in the area.
It works be letting the game user catch Pokémon in real life and in real time.
The free augmented reality mobile app became available here as of yesterday, although many have already accessed it via the versions available elsewhere.
Jamie said the game seems to be addictive and has proven a massive hit locally and internationally.
In fact, it has proved so popular that Nintendo’s shares have risen, while there has also been a sharp increase in the sale of Pikachu and other Pokémon toys.
Speaking just before its release yesterday, Jamie said: “It’s shocking - I thought I was the only one interested but it’s half the town. It has really taken off.
“Once it’s on the App site now there will be even more people on it. I have been waiting months for it myself.
“Pokémon’s been around for a long time. When I was younger I had Pokémon cards, played it on the Gameboy and the TV show is still going.
“I have been blown away by the interest here in Pokémon Go, coming home from work you see people out with their phones, looking around at the concert square and St Columb’s Park. It’s everywhere and they pop up in random places. It’s augmented reality; it’s not like ‘Grand Theft Auto’ or games like that.
“Pokémon are also elemental so if you are walking along the side of the Foyle you will get water-based Pokémon.
“It works like GPS, a little Satnav with points of interest around the town and Pokémon gyms.”
The gyms will in future allow people to go head to head in virtual battles, while there are also meet up points as well for enthusiasts.
Collecting different Pokémon eggs involves walking distances of 2kms, 5kms and 10kms and locating them, meaning an added exercise boost for those playing it.
“That’s especially true for those who are maybe sat all day with a computer,” Jamie said. “It’s gets people out walking and there’s a social side to it as well.
And Jamie also says that people should also heed the warnings issued to be careful when using Pokémon Go.
A number of organisations have highlighted that children should be accompanied with adults when searching for Pokémon, and people have also been advised to make sure they watch for traffic and other hazards when out searching.
Other warnings have also been issued to ensure sensitivities are observed in certain places when playing the game.