A new Pokemon game craze is in full swing around the world, and the Western Nevada College Carson City campus has become part of the fun. That is the word from WNC students who were raised on Pokémon playing cards and games. Now, with the new Pokémon Go game, they can bring the fictional childhood friends back to life in today’s mobile world.
The Japanese role-playing game involves cards which represent creatures with different powers and abilities. Characters such as Pikachu and Charmander are once again collectibles in a free app that can be downloaded to smart phones.
“I started playing because I grew up with Pokémon,” said Diana Gurrola, a WNC student who is the treasurer/secretary for the Associated Students of Western Nevada. “I used to watch the TV show, and when I found out about it coming out, I couldn’t help but be excited for it.”
The game’s format encourages players to explore, locate and collect up to 151 Pokémon creatures, including dragons, dinosaurs, birds, eggs, trees and more. Pokémon Go utilizes the GPS program and clock from phones to determine a player’s location and to reveal Pokémon characters on their phone screen while moving from place to place. The game alerts players when they are approaching Pokémon creatures, and they capture them with Pokéballs after they appear on their phone screen. For the devout players, they can virtually battle other teams’ Pokémon.
Besides collecting a number of the creatures at WNC, players can find coveted Pokéspots to collect Pokéballs, potions and additional items on the campus.
Curiosity about the innovative technology of Pokémon Go prompted WNC Cisco Technology Instructor David Riske to download the game.
“Hearing the game hyped as augmented reality, I had to see what the latest spin was. And it is an interesting spin,” Riske said. “Using the camera the way the game does, to place the Pokémon character in your physical environment, is ingenious.”
Riske believes that this type of technology can enhance learning experiences for students in the future.
“I started playing because I grew up with Pokémon,” said Diana Gurrola, a WNC student who is the treasurer/secretary for the Associated Students of Western Nevada. “I used to watch the TV show, and when I found out about it coming out a year ago, I couldn’t help but be excited for it.”
“From a professional standpoint I can see this moving forward where an environment could be developed and students can use the same idea of the virtual to perform lab experiments,” Riske said. “Or imagine being at a museum and a similar construct exists where, using your phone, a live action scene of the Neanderthal and mammoth diorama in front of you comes to life, and you can take part. I’m a big fan of the concept of edutainment, and this use of technology could open up some really interesting avenue.”
Since the game’s release earlier this month, students, faculty and staff have been locating Pokémon characters on campus and in the surrounding area.
So far, Gurrola has collected 34 of the creatures, including a couple that are difficult to locate.
“Right now, I have found 34 different Pokémon,” she said. “My favorite ones are Pikachu, Gastly and Onix. I caught the Gastly and Onix on pure luck. They are a lot harder to find because Gastlies are night Pokémon and Onixes are supposed to be found near mountains, but for some reason I caught it near the river.”
Gurrola offered some additional insight for anyone looking to boost their Pokémon Go collection.
“Whether it’s day or night does not really affect how many Pokémon you catch; it only affects the type you might find,” Gurrola said. “The location is what matters most when finding them. Certain power-ups are also available that will lure Pokémon to your area. You can find potions and Pokéballs along with other items at Pokéstops, which are located around the city at different landmarks.
In his search for these creatures, Riske has discovered several points of special interest on campus.