Get outside, and Poke around!

Pokemon Go, have you heard of it? Last summer the “augmented-reality cellphone game” was the talk everywhere, not only in this country, but around the world. People — adults and children — were seen walking aimlessly around neighborhoods, city streets, businesses and landmarks focused keenly on their cellphone screens — looking to track down Pokemon characters.

I found a very good description of Pokemon Go — online, of course — in a most unusual place … Rolling Stone Magazine’s website, It wasn’t on the cover (sic) of their homepage, well it may have been last year, (note: younger readers may not understand the reference), but the coverage proves how popular the game was last year. The article ‘WTF is Pokemon Go, Explained’ was dated July 11, 2016.

Rolling Stone explained Pokemon Go as “Technically, it’s a free-to-play, location-based, augmented reality, multiplayer online mobile game that also supports its own custom wearable tech. The game uses your phone’s GPS sensors to track where you are, and makes use of a stylized Google map as the primary game board. Your character moves in the game as you walk around in real life, and events and objects — known as PokeStops — are associated with specific locations in the physical world.”

What’s the point for outdoors people? Simply, the game is getting more people outdoors. And that can only be a positive thing.

What brought this topic to my attention recently was I noticed a group of people gathering, more than once, at a local park where I walk daily, Thompson Park, here in East Liverpool. It’s a beautiful city park. If you haven’t been there, please make the effort to visit. It has a lot to offer.

Anyway, the first “gathering” I’d noticed was a group of 12 or so people near what would be the middle of the park, some sitting, some standing, all staring at their cellphones, with one man walking around (he looked in charge) staring at his iPad. Several minutes later, as I walked the park’s upper loop road, I noticed the group had dispersed and they were walking around in smaller groups, gazing at their phones — still. Originally I thought maybe they were working on some sort of research project.

A few days later I saw another group of people huddled in the same area of the park. Again they scattered and were walking around the park, all with phones in hand. So curiosity was killing me, I had to ask someone what was going on. “Are you guys playing some sort of game? Pokemon?,” I asked one young man. “Yes,” he said. “There’s a big event going on and we’re trying to capture (things) in the park.”

OK, that question was answered.

I found through my research that 650 million people around the world have signed up for Pokemon Go (yes, admittedly I did last year just to see what it was about). We found a few characters “flying around our office,” and they were captured!

And what do you suppose has been the driving force behind this new-age game? Yes, MONEY! With a new release of Pokemon Go’s Legendary characters it’s reported the company is making nearly $6 million per day.

Get outside, and poke around!

(Larry Claypool is publisher/editor of Ohio Valley Outdoors Magazine, Ohio Valley Outdoor Times, and Mid-Ohio Valley Outdoor Times. This column appears in the August issue of Ohio Valley Outdoor Times. Claypool may be reached at