The park is a hunting ground. The prize? Rare and unique creatures, the likes of which the world has never seen before. This may sound like some grand safari, but for Point Loma’s eSports Club, it’s just another walk in the park.
So what kind of hunt would bring about a crowd of tech and game savvy individuals? The answer lies within the simple app “Pokémon GO.”
Currently in the number two spot of the United States App Store, Pokémon GO is an infectious and rewarding venture that has you going out into the real world to catch and tame virtual, wild creatures from the late 90’s craze known as Pokémon.
The game works on a GPS system and grid. If you move in the real world, your avatar in the game moves as well, hence the “GO” in the game’s title. In the game, your goal is to catch and battle creatures called Pokémon. This is achieved by walking around in real life and following a map on your phone to find the sometimes rare creatures, the rarity being already programmed into the creatures showing up within the app. With its simple interface and easy controls, the game is easy to pick up for people of all ages. Thanks to this game and its GPS integration, users are able to get a bit of exercise in a way that is rewarding and fun. But it isn’t just the allure of going outside that brought eSports out on Saturday, September 17. Pokémon GO is, in every sense of the word, social.
Josh Morse, a senior Literature Major, President of the eSports Club on campus, and one of the event organizers said, “The goal for this event was to reach out to players of a more casual side of gaming, since a lot of our club’s events are more competitive in nature. It was also the first off-campus event that we’ve had, so we wanted a chance for club members to get to know each other and expand their circles!”
The Pokémon may have been what brought these Loman gamers out to Balboa Park, but it was the social involvement that kept them out all afternoon, “I was able to meet some new people at the event because we all had something in common,” said sophomore Evan Lin, a Piano Performance major. “While we didn’t catch anything rare (besides a few starter Pokemon), the fun came from just being able to finally get out of campus and walk around with a huge group of people.”
The delight of the group was contagious, and participants couldn’t help but share in the excitement and joy. The event created a way to meet individuals that may normally go separate ways on campus. It also created an opportunity to share in the excitement of a rare Pokémon showing up on collective phones.
Morse later said, “It was a pretty diverse group. There were members from all class years and various majors represented, so it was cool to see everyone interacting together. We also had dinner together, which is one of the first solely social gathering our club has had, but I’m looking to do more since it was so much fun!”
What started as an initial “catch them all” challenge in Balboa park instead allowed individuals to step out of Point Loma and enjoy all that San Diego has to offer.