Pokemon GO draws Sacramento community to Sac State


Paul Peña - The State Hornet

Reyna Flores playing Pokémon GO in the library during a study break on Wednesday, Dec. 5.

Paul Pena

Throughout the years, the Pokemon franchise has released video games, trading cards and a popular anime show, but their most recent smartphone app Pokemon GO has given fans — and people all around Sacramento — a chance to experience the Pokemon universe in their own backyard.

The game was released July of 2016 and according to Variety Magazine, the app has been downloaded roughly 800 million times.

The objective of the game is to catch as many Pokemon as possible and evolve them into bigger, stronger Pokemon. Players can see digital Pokemon characters around them in real time through the in-app camera.

When the game came out, the Sacramento community got on the hype of “catching them all.” There is still a decently sized group of dedicated game players, and Sac State is a hotspot of Pokemon Go activity.

Reyna Flores, a third-year child development major, said she first started playing the game when her older brother suggested her to play. She said that she watched a minimal amount of the anime growing up, and didn’t play with any of the cards or the video games.

“I thought the game was irrelevant and [I] had no care for it, because I was not into that stuff,” Flores said. “But after playing for a little, it had become addicting and [I] would play it more than I thought I would have.”

According to Flores, players must capture a specific amount of the same characters in order to help them evolve and become stronger. Some Pokemon are more difficult to capture than others.

Flores said whenever she went to the beach in her hometown Santa Maria, she saw players trying to catch special Pokemon that only live in areas near water.

“It’s been a while since I had played, but [I] started playing a little bit earlier in the semester,” Flores said.

Jose Luis Aguilera, third-year criminal justice major, said he saw the app trending on his phone and decided to download it. Aguilera said when he was a kid, he played with the franchise’s cards and video games, and watched the anime with his older brothers.

“Pokemon was one of my favorite shows to watch growing and playing the game brought back childhood memories,” Aguilera said.

Aguilera said he plays with the Pokemon GO app whenever he has the chance in between classes.

“Sometimes I come the library quad so that I can capture the Pokemon nearby, but they are all over campus, so it does not matter where I go,” Aguilera said.

Miguel Espinoza, a sixth-year physics major, said he started playing the game when it first came out and noticed that many people were playing the game.

Espinoza said that he watched the anime when he was a kid, but what got him playing the game was the hype he heard from his friends.

“I would go out to play the game with my friends, and who knew that I would actually make friends from it [too,]” Espinoza said. “The game became so addicting that it was hard to stop.”

Espinoza said he’s made friends around campus through Pokemon GO after starting to notice the same students playing in his favorite spots around campus.

“The hype might have died down since when it first came out, but there is still a lot of people playing,” Espinoza said.