Pokémon Go has proved to be a long-lasting craze with many unique, interesting, and sometimes dangerous stories arising from players going out into the real world to capture the titular creatures. One of the most amazing things to us here at Extra Life, however, is how people in the Extra Life community have been using the game to come together with their community and band together for the kids. The Guilds in Albany, New York and in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota both organized PokéWalks in their respective areas over the last few days.
What exactly is a PokéWalk? People have begun planning events where members of the local community can come together, Pokémon Go players or not, and enjoy a day at a park or other public area. Lures can be placed at PokéStops along the walking route to bring in the Pokémon and the community. In some cases, local businesses along the route have even gotten involved to support participants.
In New York, the Albany Guild brought people together to participate in one such PokéWalk on the 16th. Located in and around Albany's Washington Park, hundreds of people turned out to connect and catch Pokémon. By all accounts it was a huge success, even though the servers for Pokémon Go went down. According to Albany Guild president Lucas Fox, @Xeserox:
We had about 400 People show up to the event (despite servers being down for the game). We signed up 130+ people in 3 hours. We started sign ups 30 minutes before the official kick off of the event because of the number of people that showed up. And we continued sign ups 30 minutes after the event ended, because our line was still that long.
You can find images of the Albany PokéWalk on the Albany Guild page.
This was followed independently by members of the Minneapolis-St.Paul, Minnesota Guild working together with local event organisation This Is Geek to hold a PokéWalk in Edina, MN's Centennial Lakes Park on the 17th. Over 2,000 people came to the event, which was merely a test run to see how future walks might go. Guild member, event organizer, and This Is Geek Treasurer Shanna Hartzell described her experience bringing together the community:
It was a humbling experience to see well over 2000 people interacting and enjoy each others company. This was a new type of event for Minnesota as a whole. While the servers were down instead of leaving or complaining everyone was talking, sharing stories, tips and going on major nostalgia trips. I am glad that we were able to do what we love; bring amazing people together and shed more light on the good inside of the gaming community.
The pictures for that event are over on Facebook page for This Is Geek.
Pokémon Go inspires a lot of different opinions and feelings among those who play it and those who don't. However, it is undeniably cool how the app has brought people together over the last week or so that might never have met otherwise. I know there are plans for more of these kinds of events both with and independent of Extra Life, so if you think that a PokéWalk in your local area might be a possibility, go for it! Let's keep this momentum up and bring one another together for fun, friendship, and also for the kids.