Unless you’ve had your head in the sand these past couple of weeks, you can’t have failed to notice that a new craze has hit the streets – Pokémon GO. Since its official launch on 6th July, the location-based augmented reality app has already become the biggest game in US history.
With the UK release date coinciding with the start of the six-week school holidays, parents across the country are delighted because the mobile game actually gets children out of the house – away from the TV, Xbox or other form of computer screen. Not only that but it also gives them exercise as they often end up walking miles to catch as many Pokémon – imaginary monsters of various shapes and sizes – as they can.
Pokémon GO uses real locations to encourage players to scour streets and parks in the real world. The app lets players roam a map using their smartphone’s GPS location data. When ‘near’ a Pokémon, the phone vibrates. You then take aim using the touch screen and throw a Poke Ball to try to catch it to train and battle.
Players also need to look out for PokeStops where they can collect more Poke Balls and other useful items like eggs. These are located at local landmarks such as historical monuments, significant buildings and public art installations.
Needless to say, with a high number of prominent landmarks in the region, Shakespeare’s England contains lots of places that are ‘tagged’ in the game.
Players in Leamington Spa are spoilt for choice, with PokeStops including Leamington Town Hall, the Warwickshire Justice Centre, the Lion and Unicorn crest above the Regent Hotel building on the Parade (now a TravelLodge), Napoleon III’s House in Clarendon Square, The Flames of Marble memorial sculpture outside Leamington Fire Station and the Spirit of Wendy sculpture outside the Spa Centre.
Not surprisingly, Stratford-upon-Avon is unusually full of PokeStops considering its size; known ones are the RSC Tower, Barclays Bank at the top of Bridge Street, The MAD Museum and the Swan fountain in Bancroft Gardens. Meanwhile, if you’re in Warwick you might want to head for the Old Court House in Jury Street.
Don’t forget that the game is just as popular with adults as it is with teens and younger children. So have fun, but remember that safety should always come first!