Pokémon Go’s popularity on campus has created a healthy community

Lots of students around campus play Pokemon Go. | Trevor Nolley/The Cougar

Lots of students around campus play Pokémon Go. | Trevor Nolley/The Cougar

Pokémon Go was, and is, a massively popular game. With an active player base of approximately 100 million people worldwide, it shouldn’t be a shock that it has a sizable presence at UH.

The community surrounding the game is healthy, fun and welcoming to new and old players alike, which is great for students on a college campus.

Pokémon Go players are nearly unavoidable on campus. Any time an event comes around, like a community day or a high-level raid battle, you can be certain groups of students will gather around notable locations like “The Statue of Four Lies” or “Fiesta Jarabe” in an effort to catch legendary Pokémon or fulfill some sort of in-game task.

Even beyond the group activities, students can be seen walking around campus, phones in hand, catching standard Pokémon or helping their team take gyms. Whether it’s a solo trainer or a group of friends, you’re probably surrounded by these players at any given time. One would find it difficult to overstate the breadth of the player base here at the University.

Part of what makes the community so easy to get into is how accepting it is. Graphic design junior Rylie Cohen expressed her gratification for how open, welcoming and helpful other players are, especially to relatively new players like her. They understand that everybody has to start somewhere and are more than happy to accept new players into their ranks. 

Hilton College junior Thomas Grant, a self-proclaimed life-long Pokémon fan, similarly noted how nice everybody is. In addition, he mentioned a sense of comradery among players of his team, especially when participating in raid battles and community events. This type of amicability from the players has been a major contributing factor to the allure of the game. 

Speaking of the game, it in itself has played a major role in attracting and retaining its players. Its catch, battle, train and trade gameplay loop has adequately captured the spirit of the classic Pokémon games and reformed them for the modern age. Exercise science junior Zachary Bailey said the introduction of player versus player battles in late 2018 led to him giving the game another try because it made the work put into raising a strong team lead to something greater. 

Another component to the popularity of the game on campus is UH is just a good place to play. Aside from the high levels of community engagement, the campus is home to a high concentration of points of interest, like PokéStops and gyms. Anybody looking to play wouldn’t need to venture far from their class or dorm in order to engage with these, which is obviously a convenience.

What’s likely the most attractive feature of the game is its capacity for bringing people together. Computer science junior Alejandro “Alex” Alaniz said he had given up on the game before coming to college, but upon seeing his friends play it and have a good time with each other, he decided to give it another shot. Now, he said it’s a fun hobby and a great reason to spend more time with his friends.

Pokémon Go is perfect for college students. It’s a free, low-stress game that allows one to get some exercise while meeting new people. It’s a nice reprieve from the stresses inherent to attending a university, which is probably what makes it so popular here. The fact that the players on campus are so willing to accept others with open arms is wonderful to hear, and hopefully it remains that way for the foreseeable future.

Opinion writer Kyle Dishongh is a finance junior and can be reached at [email protected]

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