Pokemon Go invades Bakersfield College

Mario Saldana, Reporter

On July 16, 2016, mobile game developer Niantic released a free-to-play game for iOS and Android users that involved one of Nintendo’s biggest franchises, called Pokémon Go: a location based game that became a huge phenomenon around the world with 231 million people playing and 1.1 billion mentions on social media destinations like Facebook and Instagram.

Pokémon games have been around since 1996, when it first released on the Nintendo Game Boy, but what has made this franchise and game so popular again all of a sudden? Since its release, it has been the most used app in 2016 with more than 130 million downloads, thereby becoming the fastest game to top the App Store and the Google Play Store.

One of many of the reasons of why Pokémon Go became so popular, especially for students here at Bakersfield College, was the social media aspect of the game, and being able to walk around the city with your friends meeting new people.

Out of 43 students that were asked around the campus if they have played Pokémon Go before, 27 students have played or still play it. Many of the them gave a small answer as to why they play it.

They believed that the app was cool and fun to play with your friends and you just want to “be the very best that no one ever was.”

They felt like the game was a great way to finally get out and go walk around, bumping into places they have never seen before or stores they have never been into. Out of those 27 students that said they have played the game, nine of them have stopped playing due recent updates have made the Pokémon themselves harder to catch, or they felt that the “hype” has died down as well as interest in the game. Due to the lack of content, the only way they would be back is if they add new generations of Pokémon into the game.

The students that haven’t played the game said they weren’t really interested in Pokémon or found the game really pointless, and had heard stories of how dangerous it could be playing the game. Francisco Frausto, a student here at BC who was a fan of Pokémon before the game, said he found Pokémon Go very enjoyable to play and always felt good to get out of the house and go walk around.

Another student here at BC, Cass Ruiz, 22, who is also a fan of Pokémon, explained how the game is not as fun here in Bakersfield as it is out of town. For instance, when in Santa Monica, she liked how people walked around playing the game because of how close the PokeStops and Pokémon lures were to each other.

While walking around cities and when visiting Culver City, Ruiz came across a group of 20 to 30 people playing the game and thought that it was an interesting thing to witness. She also told a story involving her wife that, who works at the book store, that witnessed a customer with a child playing Pokémon Go. She found it funny that the adult was the playing it rather than the child, but she understands why mostly younger adults play the game, due to the feeling of nostalgia that came from the 1990’s.

“When they were kids they were collecting Pokémon cards and watching the show, and to see it come back again in a game that involves your phone, I can see why it got popular again. It’s great to see that people are more open to say they like Pokémon unlike before the game where you might be considered a nerd.”