There are trends and there are trends. Pokémon GO, the revolutionary whirlwind augmented reality game, has taken the world by storm, and Tucson has gotten Pokémon Go fever.
You have probably seen more people out and about in Tucson in spite of the rising heat and humidity, and this new resurgence in outdoor activity is being spurred on by the latest craze—capturing the Pokémon which are scattered all throughout our city (and every other city around the world too).
The goal of the game is to capture and collect as many Pokémon as possible. Pokémon characters are digitally inserted into tons of public spaces like parks and malls, but are also making their rounds in a lot of local shops and restaurants.
Far from being just another video game or app, Pokémon GO is a free mobile game for iOS and Android devices that has people from all walks of life out walking in droves, all chasing and collecting their Pokémon. Pokémon GO has drawn hundreds of men, women, and children exploring all parts of the city, from Kitt Peak National Observatory to the University of Arizona campus and everywhere in between.
The best part of the game has got to be how much it keeps everyone on the hunt tracking down the elusive Pokémon while getting some much needed daily exercise. The more you move, the more Pokémon there are to catch.
Places like Reid Park Zoo have been swarmed with Pokémon GO gamers, and even the zoo itself is getting in on the action by hosting Pokémon GO Safari Nights on July 23rdand 24th where new Pokémon are activated every thirty minutes, leaving plenty of time to explore the zoo’s nocturnal creature exhibits and see just what it is that the animals get up to when the sun goes down.
There are a lot of local businesses keeping up with their customers’ need to catch ‘em all, and are opening up their doors to the droves of hopeful gamers walking the streets. Tucson Tamale is not only a PokeGym (a team-based game play location), but they went so far as to paint a Pokémon mural on their patio wall. A UA college student who moonlights as an Uber driver has found that people would love to have a driver take them to all of the Pokémon GO stops they can hit in an hour.
Is it a coincidence that so many of Tucson’s Pokestops happen to be local watering holes? Taking part in a bar crawl is a whole lot more fun when you’re hunting for the elusive Pokémon, and breweries like Thunder Canyon and Barrio Brewing Co. are glad to be a part of the Pokémania.
If you’re wondering whether or not Tucson’s monsoon weather will affect your Pokémon GOing, rest assured that local forecasters have deduced that the rain and lightning storms are drumming up a whole lot of “electric” Pokémon like Electabuzz and the elusive Pikachu (who is hands-down the most sought Pokémon in the state).
Until the buzz dies down, look forward to at least a few more weeks of Pokémon GO catching and people watching all around Tucson.