Pokemon GO: gotta catch ‘em of all age demographics


Nellie Rivo

(Left to right) Marge, Michael and their friend Lynn playing Pokemon GO at Heritage Park.

Gone are the days when every youth with a smartphone, or several, wandered around the world playing the augmented reality game known as Pokemon GO. Though its popularity has diminished, the game still has a fanbase that includes all age groups.

Kenny Goodwin, Eric Chen, Brandon Navararro and Khoa Tra are a group of friends that play Pokemon GO on and off campus. All of them are either 16 or 17 years old.

Kenny Goodwin, also known as Prettyboykennyy plays three to four times a week and is at level 24. Friendship has been his main motivator for continuing the play the game.

“When the game had first come out in eighth grade,” stated Goodwin. “It was just all of my friends going to our local landmarks that had Pokestops and just having fun.”

Eric Chen, also known as ImEroc, is level 28 on Pokemon GO. He plays frequently on campus, as he has classes Monday through Thursday. One of his favorite things about Pokemon GO is catching Pokemon that have a really high CP and showing it off to his friends. Like Chen, Khoa Tra, also known as Quaackie, only plays on campus when he has class.

Brandon Navarro, also known as Ic14chones, is level 24 and plays everyday to get the daily catches. He finds Pokestops on campus very convenient because he is able to walk around and collect items while waiting for his next class. “One of the most memorable things is going on walks with my friends. Since we are all fans of Pokemon GO, being able to hang out and catch Pokemon was something we all enjoyed doing” said Navarro.

Pokemon GO’s demographic ranges far beyond the teenage stereotype that many have in their minds. Marge, the director of the Sno-Isle Genealogical Society, is 81 years old and an avid player of the game. For Marge, Pokemon GO and genealogy are two of her hobbies. Visitors to the Sno-Isle Genealogical Society Library, located at Heritage Park, will often find her playing the game while sitting at the front desk.

Pokemon GO has become a big part of her life, and has not only had an impact on her but those around her. It’s not uncommon to see community members walking around the park playing Pokemon GO or it’s Harry Potter counterpart, Wizards Unite. Marge has befriended many people who come by to play and have introduced them to genealogy, her other passion, through their mutual interest for Pokemon GO.

Marge, also known as Marge98036, has maxed out at level 40 on Pokemon GO. One of the main reasons why she plays Pokemon GO is because its fun and it’s a good way to meet people. One of her favorite memories was when she maxed out at level 40 a few months before her 80th birthday.

“I managed to do that without a car,” Marge explained. Marge, being 81 years old and a non driver, describes some of the ways she can reach these pokestops and the different gyms. She knows all the gyms near her home, as well as gyms and pokestops at the nearby park where she works, and when she goes to her doctor appointments she can walk to the nearby gyms.

“These are some of the logistics of being a non-driver” said Marge. One of the coolest Pokemon GO experiences that Marge can recall was when Marge’s friend traveled to Italy was able to bring her back a special Pokemon. Back then, the Pokemon Mr. Mime, was a regional Pokemon and was not available here in the U.S, it was an exclusive Pokemon that could be found in Italy.

“Till’ this day, Mr. Mime has a special place in my heart because my friend had brought that Pokemon all the way back from Italy,” said Marge.

Marge’s friend Michael also works at the Sno-Isle Genealogical Society, is 59 years old and also plays Pokemon GO. Michael, who’s level 32 , goes by the name Draycomoonlight on Pokemon GO. “That’s been my go to gamer name since 1989,” said Michael.

Michael attributes his wife and kids playing to what initially drove him to play. One of his favorite things about Pokemon GO is discovering new Pokemon, as well as being able to go outside and meet others.

“There’s a vast amount of time on your hands, especially at an older age. Pokemon GO is a way to get out and socialize,” says Michael.

“It’s a good way to go outside,” Eric Chen, a student at EdCC has a very similar input to what Michael believes. “I would say it’s suitable for everyone.”

While initially Pokemon GO may be seen as a game for children and those of a younger demographic, some cite safety concerns as a reason to restrict it to older people.

“I think that because the game requires you to walk around in the real world, younger kids won’t be able to play due to parental restrictions,” said Navarro. “For safety reasons, the game is only limited to adults.”

Pokemon GO goes beyond that two week period in 2016 when all of the teens were suddenly outside, much to the surprise of their parents. While the userbase may not be as large as it once was, the passion for the game is still strong. People of all ages and walks of life continue to use the game as a way of connecting with their community and forging lasting friendships with like-minded people.