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Students gather on campus to play Pokémon GO



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Students gathered Tuesday afternoon to play Pokemon Go throughout campus. Fuad Ponjevic Buy Photos

Jessica Tompkins, lead intern of the IU Women in Game Design group, first started playing Pokémon when she was 10 years old.

She found herself interested in the new Pokémon games Nintendo and said she was excited when they produced a mobile game, Pokémon GO.

“I felt nostalgic about it,” Tompkins said. “It’s been years since I played any of the Nintendo Pokémon games.”

With help from other members of the Women in Game Design group and the IU Media School, Tompkins set up a Pokémon GO event on Wednesday for students across campus to play the game.

The group of about 10 began at Sample Gates and made their way to Dunn Meadow where they dropped lures to attract Pokémon.

“It can be a lot more enjoyable when you interact with other people and let them know, ‘Hey, there’s this particular Pokémon right over here,’” Tompkins said.

While Tompkins usually plays the game while walking to and from classes, she said she looked forward to playing with fellow students.

Others, like graduate student Kelsey Prena, prefer to play solo. Prena said she enjoys that the game does not demand a lot of commitment or extra time outside of her daily commute to class.

Tompkins said she believes the mobile format of the game allows more people to enjoy playing it.

“This appeals to a lot of people who still want to play with Pokémon but don’t have time to sink like 60 hours or more into the next Nintendo DS version of Pokémon,” Tompkins said.

Freshman Jeremy Klein attended the event to meet new people that enjoy playing the game. He said he believes another interesting aspect of the game is that it ties in an exercise component. While he typically did not go out and exercise, once he started playing Pokémon GO he found himself spending more time outdoors.

In the game, players can collect eggs which must then be put in an incubator. Players then have to walk around with their phone anywhere from 2 to 10 kilometers — which is close to 1 to 6 miles — to hatch the eggs, Tompkins said.

Prena said she also enjoys this aspect of the game because it gets her more motivated to go out and run. She often notices her boyfriend going out biking and walking to get his kilometers.

Going out and catching Pokémon can be a rewarding experience, Tompkins said.

“You level up and you feel encouraged to keep bettering yourself,” Tompkins said.

During the event, students were able to share feedback they were getting as well as tips for the game.

The Women in Game Design group seeks to provide spaces like these where students can share experiences and knowledge and bond over games they love, like Pokémon GO, Tompkins said.

Many students, like Klein, look forward to continuing to play Pokémon GO in the future.

“It’s an incentive to find people like you and get a breath of fresh air,” Klein said.

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