By SALVADOR GUTIERREZ
Pokémon Go has taken over parks, churches, malls… and Amarillo College. Every day, groups of students and nonstudents of all ages meet at the Washington Street Campus to achieve the goal people have chased for thousands of years—to catch a Pokémon.
Pokémon Go rolled out July 6, 2016, as an app for iPhone and Android devices. It gives users the opportunity to play the popular Nintendo franchise in the real world and it has been a hit since the first day. The app has enjoyed record popularity and Apple recently revealed that the game has been the most downloaded app on the App Store–beating Twitter and Tinder on the first week released.
Many AC students are regular Pokémon Go players. Maggie Tinoco, a mass media major, said she plays the game every two or three days. “I’ve caught around 35 Pokémon by now and I am really excited about the new updates,” Tinoco said. “I really like how this new game encourages people to go out and interact with other people while doing something funny.”
Mimi Tayong is not an AC student but she comes to the Washington Street Campus every day hunting for Pokémon. “My husband and I come to AC since we found out there are more than 10 pokestops around campus. We used them to increase our level in the game, I am level 20 by now and he is level 25,” Tayong said.
Aaron Hernandez, Tayong’s husband, said that they have made new friends since they started playing. “A lot of people come to AC around the same time every day. You can see the same guys and families walking around every day. They are like neighbors to me.”
The Washington Street Campus pokestops are located around the main buildings including the Amarillo Museum of Art, the Experimental Theatre and the Engineering Building.
Players can battle users from different teams at gyms. One such gym is located in the center of campus, at the clock tower.
Many students who have enjoyed the game over the summer say they won’t give up the pastime when fall classes start. Ashley Lucero, a nursing major who plays the game on a regular basis at AC, said “I like it. It gives me a place to go and hang out with my friends.” Lucero said she is not worried that Pokémon hunting will interfere with her school work. “Honestly, the pokestops around AC shouldn’t be considered a distraction. If you are there to learn, you are going to learn,” Lucero said.
Pokémon fever should continue thanks to future updates already planned for the game. According to Pokémon Go developer, Niantic, players can look forward to the release of multiplayer mode and Pokémon trade on the next updates.