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Pokémon GO Still Thriving At Penn State After Three Years

It’s been almost three years since Pokémon GO was released, but Penn Staters have still gotta catch ’em all.

In case you need to jog your memory, Pokémon GO is an augmented reality mobile game that sends players out into the real world to catch Pokémon — fictional animal species from the titular Nintendo video game series.

In Pokémon GO, players literally walk around to encounter and catch different characters and interact with real-world landmarks that serve functions in the game. PokéStops are often located at important buildings and landmarks, including Old Main and Atherton’s grave on Penn State’s campus. Visiting them will earn you rewards and in-game experience.

An in-game screenshot of a player located inside the HUB

College campuses like Penn State are perfect for playing Pokémon GO. They’re riddled with historical sites and important buildings that are featured in the game and walked across every day by thousands of people.

Part of Pokémon GO’s attraction is that it actually requires players to move in order to progress in the game, as Pokémon won’t appear if you stand still. This is exactly why some State College residents are still playing years after the game’s release in 2016.

“I use it as motivation to walk more and explore some interesting objects hidden in plain sight,” State College resident Sam Seidel said. “Just having a PokéStop [nearby] makes you see normal objects you’d usually just pass by.”

Some PokéStops include historical information and descriptions.

Players rave about how playing Pokémon GO has encouraged them to walk and exercise more often, and it’s led to a healthier lifestyle. GPS trackers are used in the game to track walking distances. Walking can even trigger certain boosts and quests that unlock after walking a certain distance — usually somewhere between two and 10 kilometers.

Health benefits aside, some students also use Pokémon GO to meet new friends and spend time with each other. In-game friends can even send gifts to each other that help their Pokémon grow stronger and level up.

“[Pokémon GO] is a really cool way to meet and go on walks with other people that were playing the game” graduate student Shannon Reed said. “I’ve met a lot of different people that I wouldn’t have otherwise. Every month, we do community day meet-ups at the Creamery where we walk around campus for hours playing the game together.”

Organized through their Facebook group, players at Penn State meet often to walk around campus and catch Pokémon. The group usually meets up monthly for get-togethers and then walks around campus playing the game.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State with distinction in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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