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The Pokeman Go craze hits Southern Alberta

Posted on August 15, 2016 by Westwind Weekly

By Jonathan Guignard

The Pokémon Go craze has made its way across the world including Magrath and Raymond as people of all ages have found common ground in a game that has brought Pokémon to life.

Pokémon originally was introduced to the world in 1996 as a video game for Nintendo. It gained popularity quickly and has become nostalgic among gamers.

Pokémon Go allows players to use a mobile device’s GPS capability to locate, capture, battle, and train virtual creatures, called Pokémon, who appear on the screen as if they were in the same real-world location as the player.

Merriah Girard, from Raymond, grew up playing Pokémon and says this is every 90’s kid’s dream, to catch Pokémon in real life.

“When this one came out, I was excited. I actually downloaded it before it was available in Canada and have been playing it ever since. I’ve just always loved Pokémon,” said Girard.

Girard isn’t surprised with how popular it has become, even with the younger generation who haven’t necessarily grown up playing the game.

“Because it’s a virtual game, it gets people out and walking. There’s a lot fun that goes with trying to catch the Pokémon characters,” said Girard.

She adds, it’s a great way to stay active and people have been taking advantage of it.

“It’s going to help people lose weight and get people more involved in the community. You start interacting people in the community and it’s bringing up the social level,” said Girard.

Louise Blumel Thomson from Magrath, has a five year old daughter who, before Pokémon Go, struggled to walk to the park just one and a half blocks from her house because it would make her tired.

On many occasions, Thomson would have to pick up her daughter because of her sore legs, but has seen a massive change.

“Now she asks me four times a day to go out for a walk or a bike ride because she wants to catch Pokémon. We went to the Calgary Zoo on the weekend and we walked seven kilometres,” said Thomson.

She admits her daughter still gets tired, but she is now more eager to keep going.

“She says her legs are tired, but she just really wants to walk now and can push herself to do it. It’s really built up her self-confidence,” said Thomson.

Safety has been a concern due to late night roamers trying to catch these creatures, but living in smaller communities definitely helps with that.

“I feel safer, especially in this town. People know each other, so I’m not afraid that I am going to get kidnapped or something scary like that,” laughed Girard. “It’s very family oriented here and I see a lot of families taking their kids out.”

The game was initially released in selected countries in July 2016 and has continued its popularity around the world.

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