Stop by almost any landmark in Effingham and you’ll see them. People glued to their phone and flicking their screens methodically. Chances are, they’re playing the overnight hit mobile game Pokémon GO. It’s an augmented reality game based on the 1990’s show Pokémon, where the characters coexist with little animals with special powers called Pokemon. According 21-year-old Altamont resident Zach Correll, the game involves walking around town.
He explained that there are locations around town, that in-game, are Pokéstops and Pokémon Gyms. Players visit these locations for in-game items and to battle their Pokémon against other players. After players reach a certain level in the game, they pick a team and the game becomes is form of capture-the-flag where players try to take over gyms for their specific team. There are three teams, Valor, Instinct , and Mystic. According to 23-year-old Dieterich resident, Hal Flint, the game encourages friendly competition.
Players actually see the Pokémon on their phone screens when they encounter them. The phone cameras capture the background, making it look like the creature is standing right in front of players.
20-year-old Matthew Krueger, of Effingham, said he plays Pokémon GO because he has been a fan of the franchise since he was young.
The virtual reality game’s release was not entirely without controversy. The company behind Pokémon GO, Niantic, came under fire recently for gaining full access to users Google Accounts when they signed up for the game. Niantic has said that requesting full access to user’s emails, personal info, and documents was an oversight and will be fixed.