Pokémon GO sees renewed peak-achu
May 5, 2023
Raids and rivalries plague our campus, not just in the retelling of momentous battles in class or between the pages of a history textbook, but also in the epic pursuit of “catching ‘em all.”
Now that the weather has taken a turn for the better, 2016 mobile game craze Pokémon GO has made a resurgence on campus seven years after its release.
When traversing campus on any given weekend, one may notice players out and about, portable chargers and phones in hand, ready to throw their virtual Poké Balls at foes.
With over seven active “gyms” or virtual training centers on campus, the College is a hub for all Pokémon GO players—or Trainers—whether they are students, community members or faculty such as Postdoctoral Fellow in Religion Jeannie Sellick.
“I joke sometimes and say ‘one of the best parts about being a professor is that you get to be where all the Pokémon GO stops are.’ Because it’s true … whenever they did all the geotagging, they put a lot on college campuses,” Sellick said.
Sellick started playing the game when it was first released but took a hiatus until lockdown in 2020. She found the game to be a way to rebuild routine and achieve tasks in a tumultuous period.
“Pokémon GO gives you a structure that I so desperately needed during the pandemic to bookend the day,” she said.
Since coming to Brunswick, Sellick has enjoyed staying active by playing the game. At one point, she ran into Brunswick residents who were on campus for a raid battle—an event in which a gym needs to be reclaimed from a boss Pokémon. She ultimately helped the group win the battle, and they gave her a Pokémon card as a token of their gratitude—one that she still keeps on her desk today.
Many students have embraced the community aspect of the game. Andrew Hoadley ’25 (@ToastyTaco13), Alex Ranganathan ’25 (@JKidding01), Taira Blakely ’25 (@TakeOB123) and Sam Angevine ’24 (@GoPackers101) are members of a group of Trainers who come together for raids.
The group played Pokémon GO all together for the first time at Farley fields on April 8 to claim the gym together. Since then, they have bonded over discussing Pokémon they find on campus and planning raids of various gyms.
“Within that group chat, it’s definitely something that we all lean into, but it’s also kind of a joke. We know that it’s a little absurd and that it was popular seven years ago, but that’s part of the appeal,” Angevine said.
With quite a few gyms up for grabs, the group has made it a mission of theirs to claim as many gyms as possible for the “red” or “Valor” team, to which most student players belong. The red team currently has a claim on most gyms around the main quad.
“It’s kind of an underground community because I think everyone is too embarrassed to say that they play the game, but the gyms are super active,” Blakely said.
The camaraderie felt by Trainers all across campus exemplifies Pokémon GO’s original intentions to get people active and build community.
“I’ve made new friends through this group chat and showing up to raids with random people,” Angevine said.
As long as the Charmander and Pikachu keep spawning and the gyms stay active, it seems Pokémon GO is here to stay on campus, both for students and community members.
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