Our augmented local realities

lark_street and madison pokemon go pikachu

That is Lark and Delaware and Madison. And Pikachu, who apparently couldn't hold it. (Thanks, Paul.)

Said Paul to us this morning: "You should do a post for discussion of #PokemonGo in the Cap Region."

Well, as it turns out, our license to publish things on the internet (THE INTERNET!) will be revoked if we don't post something about the ongoing transformation of the physical world into a playscape for the new Pokemon Go game. (Obligatory Vox explainer.) So here is that post.

Update: There's also someone on Albany Reddit offering (claiming to offer?) "Pokémon Go Taxi" services for $40 per hour. (Insert your own Uber joke here.)

(Thanks, S)

In all seriousness... It is cool how much fun people seem to be having with this game. And given how cities such as Albany are always trying to find ways of highlighting their history and architecture and other aspects -- and prompting people to explore those things -- maybe there are some ideas to borrow here.

Following a virtual Alexander Hamilton. Seeing buildings that are no longer there. Location-activated prizes. There are a lot of possibilities.


There is also "ingress" the game. i never heard of it either until recently. A friend mentioned that pokemon go uses markers from ingress also.

We're going to look back on this divisive summer and remember how Pokemon Go brought this country back together.

It is pretty amazing to walk through Washington Park and have dozens of people of all ages and races smile at you when they see you're playing too... or offer you a piece of advice ("I saw a Jynx over by the lake!") or put down a lure (which benefits all players in the area) and see everyone congregate at one spot.

It's also interesting to see how small businesses are already using the game as a marketing device. Signboards out front saying 'come in, we're a pokestop!' or bars offering discounts if you hold their gym (similar to what foursquare has been doing for years).

Of course, there are downsides. I've seen lots of people walk out into traffic - especially in Washington Park where it's easy to let your guard down, walking over some road-like-paths which are closed to traffic, and then actual roads where you will get hit if you stop to catch a Weedle in the center of the street.

Joke from my 8 year old son -

Him: I hope there's no Pokemon Go in the bathroom!
Me: Why?
Him: Because he might Pikachu!

It's been fun/frustrating to see the world react. I have no interest in pokemon, but the evolving response in society are fascinating.

We've so far seen stories of the National Park Service and the U.S. Holocaust Museum asking people to respect their surroundings and appropriate places to play. There are stories about people being lured and robbed, people walking into traffic or getting injured in other ways.

I used to play Ingress, another "augmented reality" game from the developer. It's amusing to know all of the local spots and see all sorts of people suddenly flocking to the same places.

As a bystander and nascent old man (get off my lawn!) I just hope the novelty of posting pictures of every encounter wears off soon.

> it is pretty amazing to walk through Washington Park and have dozens
> of people of all ages and races smile at you when they see you're playing

Eh. Haven't seen many kids. *Vast* majority is millenials.

For non-players, it is a strange sight, out of "They Live" or "Black Mirror" almost. I saw a large flock of 25+ people near the Soldiers and Sailors' Monument in Washington Park yesterday, all looking at their screen. I walked my dog to the Moses fountain, and looked at another owner in disbelief, as a dozen+ people were all around the fountain, their nose on their phone too...

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