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Pokemon Go players swarm Lamar

By Rachel McDaniel The mobile app Pokemon Go has taken the world by storm as millions of Pokemon ‘˜trainers’ walk the streets in neighborhoods across the globe – and in Lamar County – to capture and battle Pokemon characters. Pokemon is Japanese for ‘˜pocket monsters’ and has been a worldwide phenomenon for around 20 years. For those who don’t play, Pokmon Go trainers follow a GPS grid on their phones to a ‘˜PokStop,’ an area where Pokmon Balls and other goodies are located, or a ‘˜Pokmon gym,’ a training site or place to fight opposing team’s Pokmons. The balls are thrown at characters to capture them. There are dozens of stops across Lamar County, usually at public locations or historic sites. The sites are designated by the game’s designers. Pokemon trainers who have a high enough score can form teams to battle other teams. The game also includes Pokemon eggs that must be hatched by walking from 2 to 10 kilometers. In addition to getting exercise, the game helps players learn about the history of the areas where they live. ’Downtown Milner has a few spots, including the caboose, post office and old Civil War hospital spot,’ said Penny Marie Hutson. ‘I’ve seen several today walking around while in town. There is also a local group on facebook that gives info and that my daughter is a member of.’ Trainers can place a ‘˜lure’ on a PokeStop to bring Pokemon characters to the area. In some places, criminals have used the lure to prey on players. According to the Lamar County Sheriff’s Office, no major incidents have occurred in Lamar County involving the game thus far. ’As far as playing the game and driving, that is equivalent to distracted driving,’ said Maj. Leslie Holmes. Although Pokemon Go trainers must be vigilant against attacks on the game and in real life, the mobile app is bringing together young people and helping them get more exercise. The young players – and older players such as parents and grandparents – get together to spend time catching Pokemon and while doing so, they get to meet others who play as well.

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