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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Pokemon craze invades campus

Photo by Infographic by Hannah Feist
Source: Pokemon Go

A Weedle peeks out from the side of the elevator on the fourth floor of Carpenter Tower. Snorlaxes, Eevees and a plethora of other colorful characters decorate the dorm doors. On a huge map, Pokestops and Gyms on and around campus are pinpointed on a sheet of paper that stretches down the freshman hallway. The phrase “CHOOSE YOUR TEAM” is emblazoned on the opposing wall with red, yellow and blue graphics pasted beneath.

Some Marquette students are hopping on the Pokemon Go bandwagon — a themed augmented reality game that caught the attention of skilled trainers and newbies alike since its release in July.

Andrew Salinas, a junior in the College of Health Sciences, is a huge Pokemon fan. He is the resident assistant for floor seven, one of two Pokemon-themed floors in Carpenter Tower.

Salinas downloaded the game the day after it was released. He tried playing it at home, but the Chicago suburbs were not the best for Pokemon catching.

“After spending like a month in the suburbs playing it, my interest in the game kind of died down,” Salinas said. “But coming to Milwaukee, I noticed that (the city is) very much full of Pokestops, Gyms and more uncommon Pokemon.”

Salinas prefers playing Pokemon on older devices. He recently purchased a Nintendo DS and bonds with a few of his residents over a love for the original game.

“Pokemon Go kind of brought (the game) back to my mind,” Salinas said. “I thought, ‘I kinda miss Pokemon.’”

Phil Parisi, a sophomore in the College of Engineering, is the resident assistant for the fourth floor in Carpenter Tower. He has been a Pokemon fan since childhood and downloaded Pokemon Go on the day it came out.

“(Pokemon Go) is a good new twist,” Parisi said. “Something that is real-world, that’s out there, (that incorporates) augmented reality.”

Augmented reality allows users to interact with a virtual universe without shutting out the real world. Virtual reality headsets, such as the Oculus Rift, create an interactive new world for users to experience what exists only inside the headset. AR games such as Pokemon Go blend reality with virtual characters and landmarks, encouraging users to get out and explore instead of disappearing into another dimension.

Parisi thinks that future use of VR will affect people’s willingness to socialize, but likes that AR games encourage users to interact with one another.

“I’ve gone Pokemon hunting with friends,” Parisi said. “We’d go around to the downtown area at home, get a portable charger and go. It’s fun.”

Despite the encouragement to get fans up and moving, it can be easy to catch creatures and tap into Pokestops while still sitting around. Buildings like the Alumni Memorial Union, McCormick Hall and Raynor Library are either Pokestops or have Pokestops right next to them, and if the app sits open on a phone for long enough, Pokemon characters will appear.

Around Milwaukee, the game craze is spurring Pokemon-themed meet-ups and shows, such as the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s “Symphonic Evolutions” concert that will take place at the Riverside Theater Sept. 30. Attendees are encouraged to join a pre-show meet-up to catch Pokemon around the city. Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra  will premiere original arrangements paired with visuals from classic Pokemon games. 

Websites such as Reddit and also draw players from all over the area to discuss the game and get together to catch Pokemon together. With a simple Google search, forums and pages specifically for Milwaukee trainers pop up, encouraging users to get together to hunt for Pokemon.

While Pokemon remains a fixture in pop culture, not everyone is on board with it. On Salinas’s floor in Carpenter, the residents tend to be lukewarm about the new game.

“Everyone’s into their own thing,” Salinas said. “But no one has come out and said, ‘I’m a huge (Pokemon) nerd.’”

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