Gotta Catch ’em All: NJ Crazed Over Pokemon Go
If you've been on Facebook at any point over the past few days, or you've seen people walking aimlessly through town with their smartphones leading the way, you've most likely witnessed the latest technological craze that is Pokemon Go.
New Jersey residents wasted no time getting obsessed with the app that lets them find and catch Pokemon's characters just while walking around the block, or driving to work, anywhere in the state and across the country.
The application uses maps to offer users an interactive experience wherever they may be. Pikachu could be hiding in a local schoolyard. Charizard could be on a side street leading up to the supermarket. Special supplies could be right outside the neighborhood bar.
"I went to the waterfront and there was an unusual amount of people walking around with their phones guiding them," said Keyport resident David Youssef, who's logged about 10 hours of game play since the app launched in early July. "There are herds of people walking around, catching Pokemon."
Facebook pages devoted to the app have popped up specifically for New Jersey's gamers, and special events have been scheduled for users who want to go hunting for creatures as a group.
Will Ruiz of Union created the Pokemon Go New Jersey page. He said the response has exploded over the past few days. The group already has more than 200 members.
"We're sharing our excitement, achievements, answering questions, helping new players," Ruiz said.
Sample posts from the page over the past 48 hours:
"Englewood NJ is a hot mess of all pokemon with modules everywhere...Been here for one hour."
"There's a Pikachu in Carlstadt a little bit passed Metlife Stadium"
"My area is always full of squirtles and bulbasaurs"
"Found one at the urinal at AMC in West Orange. The employees were saying there's a bunch in the theaters and people catching them before the movie starts."
Ruiz said part of the game's excitement is the journey you take. It's the only game, he said, that makes you leave the house and visit buildings and landmarks you probably would never have seen otherwise.
A group of 20 or so people were gathered in front of Pitman's police station after midnight last week, chasing a "Pokestop."
"A cop drove by blasting the theme song over his loudspeaker and we all started cheering," said Pitman resident Caitlynn Radlinger. "Getting people out of the house and bringing them together. I love it."