This weekend, don’t bother planning to binge-watch your favorite TV shows or to finally clean the garage. No, for next two days (and likely longer) you will be glued to your smartphone, hooked on GPS-augmented reality on a quest to track down colorful Pokémon.
The classic video game turned classic animated TV series has returned with a vengeance in the form of Pokémon Go, a mobile game available free on both IOS and Android devices. So, in other words, this game is everywhere. If you’ve (literally) bumped into a Pokémon gamer on their way to a Poké Stop, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Released earlier this month by The Pokémon Company, this game encourages players to capture, battle and train Pokémon in the real world.
The good news is that you don’t have to travel far to find your Pokémon. It appears that the Pennsylvania Trails of History is crawling with these digital creatures just waiting to be caught. A recent walk around Harrisburg’s Capitol Complex, which includes The State Museum of Pennsylvania, netted four Pokémon. The game has designated the museum a Gym, a place where Level 5 gamers can pick teams, battle and spar to move up in rank. Just a word of caution, should you visit the museum in hopes of tracking down wayward Pokémon, admission fees still apply and please be aware of your surroundings. In other words, regularly shift your gaze from the smartphone to avoid bumping into objects and other visitors. This goes for all Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission sites and museums peppered along the Pennsylvania Trails of History. We welcome you to Catch ‘Em All and learn about Pennsylvania history at the same time, but let’s be safe.
The real trick is how to catch the characters, which go by names such as Jynx, Seel and Drowzee. If you grew up in the 1990s and still don’t know what I’m talking about, maybe the name Pikachu rings bell. Launching the game brings up a GPS-driven map that pinpoints your location. Aside from Gyms, the map is populated with Poké Stops. Don’t pass these spots up as Pokémon are known to frequent these stops. For example, the Pennsylvania State Archives is a Poké Stop. This afternoon, I picked up four Poké Balls outside the Archives building. For those just learning, Poké Balls are little devices used to capture Pokémon. As you walk, your avatar travels the map, sticking to the route. Once you come across a Pokémon, the app switches on your smartphone camera and a Pokémon comes into view so that it appears that the creature is in the real world. This is where you would use Poké Balls to capture said Pokémon. Capture enough Pokémon and you boost your level of experience. You also earn rewards such as candy and stardust.
We want to see how many Pokémon you’ve caught along the Pennsylvania Trails of History. Share your Pokémon triumphs on Facebook and Twitter. Tag us via “Pennsylvania Trails of History” on Facebook and @PHMC on Twitter.