Suddenly I have dozens of nightly visitors

Thanks to Pokemon Go! the streets of downtown Perry are becoming a busy place in the evening hours.

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The Pokemon Go! phenomenon hit Perry in the summer of 2016, attracting players, from left, Marilee Moreno, Atty Garnett, Danery Salgado and Isaac Moreno. The fad has yet to fade.

Aside from the desk clerk at the Hotel Pattee and whatever officers are on patrol for the Perry Police, no one spends more time in downtown Perry in the wee hours than I do.

The patrol officers will verify that, on most nights, the corner office of the Town Craft building is occupied by yours truly, dutifully banging out the latest posts for ThePerryNews.com. As most sports are played at night, and as my the goal as the sports side of ThePerryNews.com is to ensure the most current events are ready for your perusal either later that evening or, at worst, when you awake for your morning coffee, it is not unusual for my daily routine to keep me at the desk until 3 or 4 a.m.

You would be surprised how barren the streets of downtown Perry can become. On week nights there is no traffic to speak of after, shall we say, 10 p.m. at the very latest. The weekends see more traffic, especially on foot and most especially if a wedding or some other party is being held at the Hotel Pattee or at La Poste.

When such is the case, I enjoy watching revelers stumble and bumble down the sidewalk, sometimes taking a trip to the Crooked Rail, for which I have a nice vantage point.

However, I am usually alone save for passing vehicles. The occasional friend or acquaintance might drop by, but that is it. Until a week ago.

Suddenly the Town Craft Building has become a destination of its own — or at least the steps leading up to the building. It was not until Sunday evening that I learned why — Pokemon Go!

For those who, like me, are not exactly tech geeks, Pokemon Go! is the latest free app for Android and iOS smart phones. It was released only a week or so ago. (As the prior sentence was being written, at 1:35 a.m. Monday, a group of four men in their early 20s just stopped by, phone screens aglow. I opened the door and confirmed — surprise! — that, yes, Pokemon Go! had brought them downtown).

It is not my intention to explain it all — suffice to say that, using Bluetooth, the app brings up a virtual map of Perry (or wherever you are) with hidden Pokemon’s all over the place. The goal is to capture as many of these characters as you can. To do so, you must be at, or very near, the location the map on your phone reveals a Pokemon to be hiding at. Both the Town Craft Building and Hotel Pattee are on the list, as are many dozens or other Perry locations.

Playing the game thus means getting some exercise, which cannot possibly be a bad thing. My estimation is that two-thirds of those playing the game are doing so on bicycles, the remainder on foot or riding skateboards.

The latest free app for Android and iOS smart phones has increased the night time foot and bicycle traffic in downtown Perry at least 10-fold.
The latest free app for Android and iOS smart phones has increased the night time foot and bicycle traffic in downtown Perry at least 10-fold.

I have seen some folks in vehicles pull up and stop, and I can see the lighted screens of their phones in their cars, proof some are violating the spirit of the app and trying to play with the aid of the internal combustion engine. Doing so is, in my view, just another way of distracting drivers, and since you have to be quite near the building to effect the capture of the Pokemon hiding here, many distracted drivers have veered (albeit slowly) into the parking spaces in front of the building.

Realizing this, I am now parking on Second Street. I can only hope some idiot not paying attention does not smack a parked car or truck simply because he was trying to catch some cartoon character hidden in a virtual world in his phone. It has not happened yet, but I am almost certain it will. When it does, I will let you know.

It is now 1:52 a.m. and the foursome mentioned previously has just passed by again, no doubt looking for clues or something. Maybe I should set up a little lemonade stand and cash in …

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Just a quick note: AR apps like Pokemon Go and Ingress (which also has several locations for play in downtown Perry) don’t use Bluetooth. They use your mobile device’s GPS to find your location and 4G (or wifi, if you’re connected) to send and receive data.

    • Dan is correct. Thanks for pointing out the error. I meant (and knew) to say GPS but typed Bluetooth instead. Does that shine any light on the fact that I am not one who downloads game apps? LOL

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