Gotta catch 'em all: Pokémon Go takes over Delaware
Many in the First State are joining others across the nation in putting on their walking shoes, grabbing their phones and heading out the door to look for Pokémon.
If you’ve played Nintendo’s old-school Pokémon games, the basic premise of Pokémon Go is the same. You move around an environment catching creatures in red and white orbs called Poké Balls. There’s one big difference in this new smartphone version: you have to do all the legwork.
“It’s fine with me. As long as there’s Pokémon to be caught, you get to catch them,” said Jordan Sears while walking in front of Legislative Hall in Dover. He said he'd been out hunting them for much of the afternoon.
Ian Byrd was just around the corner, walking briskly on the trail of a Pokémon.
“I got a Pinsir. I hatched an egg yesterday that had an Aerodactyl, which is pretty rare. I got a Squirtle yesterday, too,” Byrd said.
The app uses what’s called augmented reality. With a phone’s camera, it superimposes creatures onto real world.
The game has been out for about a week and it’s reportedly making millions of dollars per day in in-app purchases.
According to Tech Crunch, the game has about 21 million active users in the U.S. and that’s for a game that’s only been out a little over a week.
Local businesses are looking to capitalize on the craze. The Delaware Contemporary, the arts venue on Wilmington’s Riverfront hopes to draw people in looking for Pokemon items.
“So if you are standing near our front entrance and have the Pokemon GO app open, you’ll see the little icon on your screen that let’s you know that we’re a Poke Stop,”said Delaware Contemporary Marketing Director Rebecca Klug. “So being a Pokestop means this is where you stock up on the things that you need to level up in the game.”
The Delaware Tourism Office, the State Libraries, The Cities of Newark and Wilmington are all taking notice, too, saying that Pokemon can be found all over the state.
But all this Poke-mania isn’t without its perils. Some players have hurt themselves while walking with eyes glued to their screens. And there have been reports of robbers waiting to strike near where Pokemon appear.
So law enforcement is taking notice. New Castle County Police tweeted out a picture of a Pokemon sitting atop a car dashboard, warning folks not to play and drive.
The Dover Police Department took a more humorous approach, posting a photo of perhaps the most iconic Pokemon, Pikachu, trapped in a holding cell.
But what happens when you meet other trainers out and about? Byrd said there can be a bit of a stare down, especially when it’s another adult.
“There’s just kind of this look in the other person’s eye when you see that they’re doing the same thing,” said Byrd.
Especially if there’s a Charmander on the line.