Since 2016,the augmented-reality game Pokemon Go has taken the world by storm, and introduced old fans and new to the animated, super-owered creatures known as Pokemon interacting with them on …
Since 2016,the augmented-reality game Pokemon Go has taken the world by storm, and introduced old fans and new to the animated, super-owered creatures known as Pokemon interacting with them on their phone screen.
Some say it’s a great method of getting people outside and active, and that couldn’t be more true at Red Clay State Historic Park, which recently served as a “Safari Zone” for Pokemon Go Community Day.
Dominic Austin, the 22-year-old seasonal interpretive ranger at Red Clay, had the initial idea and pitched it to head ranger Erin Medley.
Austin grew up playing Pokemon, as many 90s kids did, and wanted to try and incorporate its fantastical world into the historical world of Red Clay.
“When Pokemon Go came out, I played it constantly. I took some breaks here and there; but once I started working at the park, I discovered the rangers play the game too [off the clock],” Austin said.
Having to come up with an idea to bring the public to the park for an event, Austin pitched Pokemon Go Community Day to Medley.
Overall, the park is ideal for Pokemon trainers, as there are nine Poke-stops and three Pokemon gyms there. Dropping lures on each spot also ensured those in attendance would “reel in” a heap of Pokemon.
Austin’s normal duties — leading hikes and giving weapon and game demonstrations to visitors— went along well with the day’s events. He got to take the eager Pokemon trainers around the park to a multitude of Poke-stops while informing them of Cherokee culture along the way.
The event took place June 8, and attracted around 11 to 12 people for the tour despite the torrential downpour that occurred that day.
Austin encountered 15 to 20 more people who didn’t do the tour, but who were there to catch Pokemon.
It lasted three hours. It began with a tour by Austin and was followed by free roaming throughout the park to chase their favorite Pokemon.
According to a Pokemon Company Singapore press factsheet, as of March 2019, Pokemon Go downloads surpassed the one billion threshold, standing as testament to the continuing popularity of a game that skyrocketed in use originally, but was feared to have tapered off just as quickly.
In Pokemon, a trainer can carry no more than six Pokeballs, each containing one Pokemon.
When asked, Austin admitted he had a lineup of six favorites, which included Snorlax, Feraligatr, Blaziken, Ampharos, Metagross and Heracross.
“The weather dampened it a little bit, with storms off and on,” he said. “We had enough of a turnout to justify doing it again, because the people who did it really had a great time.”
The date for the next Pokemon Go Community Day will be announced through the game’s app or its Twitter. Once it’s announced, Red Clay will post about its upcoming event on the same day.
Austin said he believes Pokemon Go is so popular because it gets everyone’s adventurous spirit out and makes people want to go out and explore.
There are currently five different regions from the series represented in the game, including Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh and Alola, each bringing its own unique Pokemon to trainers’ fingertips.
He noted several people who weren’t on the tour with him, but who came to simply catch Pokemon, were asking him questions about the Cherokee dwellings and other historical points of interest at the park, which was a good factor for Red Clay.
“If you like the game, there will be free lures. You’ll also get to interact with others and maybe make new friends, plus you get to explore the park and learn about its complex history surrounding the Cherokee people,” Austin said.
Pokemon Go can be downloaded from the iTunes store. What are you waiting for? Go catch ‘em all.
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