A new phone application called “Pokemon Go” was released Friday, and now almost as many people use the app daily as Twitter.
The game uses GPS to track where players are located and scatters Pokemon, which means “pocket monsters” in Japanese, around the country. The game encourages players to "catch em’ all" by traveling around their cities searching for the Pokemon with their smart phones.
There were more than 100 people on the south side of Utah State University’s campus on Monday night at 11 p.m. They were mostly college students, but they brought their kids, their dogs and even their babies. They all have their phones out while chasing Pokemon around on skateboards, bikes and on foot.
25-year-old Elmer Acevedo from Roy, Utah was playing Pokemon Go on campus with friends that night. He said there are a lot of people on the south side of USU campus because players have set lures there to draw more Pokemon to the area.
And USU’s campus is far from the biggest hang out for Pokemon Go trainers. Roy Larrabee from Salt Lake City said there were around 700 people playing the game at City Creek shopping center on Saturday night, and other large groups gather at libraries and parks.
The first Pokemon game that came out for Nintendo was in 1996, and is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Although the hype about Pokemon has dwindled over the past few years, Acevedo said “Pokemon Go” brought the hype back, seemingly overnight.
“I think a lot of people that haven’t watched Pokemon or even thought about Pokemon in a long time are thinking this is really cool and just want to see what it’s about and trying it out with their friends,” Acevedo said.
Bronson Fife, a freshman at Utah State University, says the reason Pokemon Go is popular is simple.
“It’s every little kid’s dream that played Pokemon to become a trainer and do what you did in the games or in the show,” he said. “And so finally, they’ve brought that to a reality so us as adults - we’re living our childhood dream.”
For more on how Pokemon Go is creating friendships, click here.