International mobile app craze Pokémon Go has been creating a stir quite in Cayman as users or “Pokémon trainers” scurry around island in search of elusive animated Pokémon in the 2016 reboot of the popular ‘90’s cartoon/video game series.
While Pokémon Go has not been officially rolled in the Caribbean region local gaming enthusiasts have found a way through the back door by downloading the trending app to their mobile phones using US Apple and Android accounts and setting off on their Pokémon capturing adventure.
For avid Pokémon Go players or “Pokémon trainers” Jermaine Taylor, 25, and Cary Hunte, 25, of Bodden Town, the app is a way for them to relive the popular game they grew up playing and capture Pokémons in a real time or virtual setting as opposed to sitting in front a television screen.
“I have been playing it a week and a few days and a lot of my friends playing it as well. It is a mobile version of the game Pokémon that was popular in the 90s. Essentially you walk around the island and Pokémon pop up anywhere and you can you capture them. The game uses Google maps and the locator points you to where the Pokémon is or you can use a real time image which uses the camera to show your actual surroundings and the Pokémon pops up,” Mr Hunte said.
He said the game has brought a lot of people together who did not know each other before and has re-mastered the original feel of Pokémon.
“Instead of using a controller you are using your phone and actually catching them so it is interactive,” he said.
Through the mobile application the user creates an avatar (virtual presence) and joins one of three teams and sets of to capture as many Pokémon to level up. There are special or rare Pokémons, which when captured, give players additional boosts.
As the app takes the global mobile gaming circuit by storm there have been a number of reports internationally of players being maimed after being hit by a car when they ran into open traffic as well as car crashes and deaths all as users pursue their virtual prizes.
Just this week in the US two teenaged players were reportedly shot at by a homeowner when they turned up in his yard trying to capture Pokémon.
Mr Hunte, commenting on the safety concerns, said as with everything there are good attributes and bad.
“It (playing) should be done in moderation as there are pros and cons to everything in the world. It could be definitely addictive,” he added.
Mr Taylor, who works at the Cayman Mac store, said he has captured over 13 Pokémon thus far and also pointed out that on the loading screen of the app is a visual message for users to exercise caution. The screen image depicts a man walking on bridge with him looking at a phone and a ferocious monster towering over him with the note “Remember to be alert at all times. Stay aware of your surroundings.”
He said he was excited about the game being available on island and he thinks it is more good than bad. However, he stressed that he hoped people will be more cognizant of the safety warning.
“Do not play while driving. People should go out meet people and be more friendly. Even the guys who are considered trouble makers are into and they are playing so it is reaching a lot of demographics,” he added.
Reports reaching The Cayman Reporter also pointed to players running out in the street or failing to exercise due diligence while walking on the street.
The Cayman Reporter reached out to Royal Cayman Islands Public Information Officer (RCIPS) Jacqueline Carpenter to find out if the police have been receiving similar complaints, but she said area commanders were are not aware of any complaints or incidents involving this game “yet.”
“If we get any more information that it is a problem, however, we will put out a general Public Service Announcement (PSA) on it,” she said.
However, Ms Carpenter issued a warning as she urged parents to be conscious of the risks of this game and warn their children to be mindful of their environment while playing it.
“Although there have been no incidents in Cayman yet that we are aware of, international media has reported on such incidents and there are real risks associated with playing this game if youth lose awareness of their surroundings,” she added.