Remember the Pokémon Go craze of 2016? The masses might have stopped playing the augmented reality game that uses the GPS feature on mobile devicesto locate, capture, battle and train virtual creatures called Pokémon, but there’s still plenty of news to report about the game’s impact on parks, physical activity and even reuniting loved ones.
(Still don’t know what we’re talking about? Click here to find out more about Pokémon Go.)
“I’ve started playing Pokémon Go again in an effort to have more physical activities,” Patrick Allan, a staff writer for Lifehacker.com, recently wrote. “I was one of those people that downloaded it the minute it came out and played hardcore for a month or two, then completely forgot about it for a long time. A lot has changed since its release, though, so it’s a little more fun now. It’s keeping me active and satisfying my craving to play games when I feel like I’m too busy to sit down and veg out for hours at a time.”
Here’s a rundown of three other recent and relevant Pokémon Go developments:
Pokémon Go developer Niantic rewarded players for picking up garbage on Earth Day, April 22. “Since the game is so good at getting people to gather in public spaces, the developer is partnering with local [non-governmental organizations] across the world to … get players to team up to clean those spaces,” TheVerge.com reported. “And the more people who show up and help, the bigger the in-game rewards will be.” A total of 68 gatherings happened around the world, and 4,000 players showed up, according to Forbes.com.
The Arlington Heights (Ill.) Park District planned to ask Niantic officials to remove Memorial Park from the game as a location in which users can visit to acquire Pokémon. Neighbors have complained to park district officials about people driving around the park in their cars while apparently using the app, according to the Chicago Daily Herald. The 135-year-old park is home to monuments, bronze markers and commemorative bricks honoring veterans. No word yet on how (or if) Niantic has responded to the park district’s request.
Allison Hines was playing Pokémon Go in Kenney Shields Park in Covington, Ky., on April 20, when she encountered Homer Howard — an 83-year-old man with dementia who wandered off from his home in Maineville, Ohio, located about 30 miles northeast of the park. Howard was reunited with his daughters later that day. “I’m very grateful for Pokémon Go,” Hines told ABC News. “My goodness. What I loved about it is, when I played it, it got me out in the community. It was a social game. Today, it saved a man’s life.”
Additionally, Florida’s Universal Orlando is reportedly adding a Pokémon Park to the KidZone section by 2020 — just in time for the theme park’s 30th anniversary.