Pokemon Go encouraging activity, exploration

Published 8:04 pm Wednesday, July 13, 2016

With school out for a few months, one of the most important things about summertime is encouraging children and teenagers to get out and stay active. It’s one of the reasons that sports camps and all-star baseball and softball are so popular.

Kids and adults alike now have a new source of entertainment to drive them to become more active. Nintendo and Niantic teamed up to develop the recently released Pokemon Go smartphone game.

The game, which can be downloaded as an app for iPhone and Android devices, allows people to walk around and experience the life of a Pokemon trainer. As people explore their surroundings, various creatures pop up on screen and appear to be living right before their eyes.

Pikachu, Squirtle and the like are hanging out all around Beaufort County, but players have to find them. The game encourages players to walk around town collecting Pokemon and competing against players on other teams.

Landmarks across Beaufort County represent “PokeStops” — areas where items can be collected to progress in the game — and gyms, where players and teams battle it out. A player can pick up some Pokeballs housed in the various historical markers while taking a leisurely stroll down the waterfront. Players can also waltz over to different churches and even Festival Park to battle for control of gyms.

The game has taken the entire country by storm. Nintendo’s stock skyrocketed and the app became the most downloaded of all time in Apple’s App Store. It’s popularity topped 15 million downloads as of Wednesday.

Users have to be careful while they’re exploring the county looking for Pokemon. It’s easy to get caught up staring at the phone, so be wary of traffic and other hazards when walking around. Also, playing the game while driving is dangerous and will result in a citation.

There are a lot of beautiful and historic sights in our county. As you move from one to another trying to “catch them all,” be sure to be safe and take in all the wonderful features of Beaufort County.