A wild Thunderduck appears on campus

Alert:  A giant, yellow duck has been sighted near Lake Thunderduck.

Oh, wait … it was just a Psyduck from the newest augmented reality (AR) mobile game, Pokémon: GO.

The Pokémon series has been around for 20 years. Those who first played the original game and collected cards could have children who are playing it now, so the fandom is a diverse audience. Very few game series have the same nostalgic effect that Pokémon has on the gamer mind.

It has been several months since Pokémon GO debuted, and it still has a strong presence in society. With school under way, we see students and even staff members winding around this campus hunting for Pokémon.

Richland College has over 20 PokéStops, perfect for Pokémon trainers to meet and connect with each other. PokéStops are landmarks that trainers use to get free items to use in games. Alternatively, these items can also be purchased with real money. A good way to spend a little time between classes is to set a path to pass the most PokéStops on the way to your next class.

Once the trainers get to Level 5 by catching Pokémon, they get to choose one of three teams to join: Team Mystic, Team Instinct or Team Valor. Choosing a side does not affect how the game is played, but who you can team up with. Each team has a leader associated with a color and a legendary Pokémon.

The leader of Team Mystic is Blanche, associated with the color blue and the ice bird Articuno. Team Instinct’s leader is Spark, its color is yellow and its Pokémon is the electric bird Zapdos. The Valor leader is Candela, linked with the color red and the fire bird Moltres.

The three teams fight for control over Gyms. This campus has three to claim. In this AR game you do not get the same turn-based role-playing gameplay (RPG) that the series is known for. It is a repetitive tap battle until a trainer loses all six of their chosen Pokémon Hit Points (HP). It just comes down to choosing the right type for the right fight.

Now that Pokémon Go has regained popularity, other companies are trying to make their own “GO” game. Few other franchises could match what the Pokémon Company and Niantic Inc. have done. Niantic Inc. had previous experience with the AR mobile game Ingress. The data collected from Ingress was used to create the PokéStops and Gyms.


Of course, common sense needs to come into play during this game. As an AR game, exploring the world is more dangerous then one may think. In a recent case, a Russian YouTuber named Sokolovsky was arrested for playing in church. A girl in Wyoming found a corpse when looking for a water-type Pokémon by a lake. In Texas, there have been reports of criminals using “lures” to attract Pokémon and then rob the players.