Friday 28 July 2017

I found Drowzee, a chubby anteater, lolling near Connolly Station

On the go: Ronan Price playing Pokémon app on Talbot Street. Photo: Douglas O'Connor.
On the go: Ronan Price playing Pokémon app on Talbot Street. Photo: Douglas O'Connor.
Ronan Price

Ronan Price

I get strange looks all the time - but never as frequently as when playing Pokémon Go on the streets of Dublin.

Muttering "Where the hell is Jigglypuff?" and hunched over my phone like a teenage screen addict, I'm painfully aware I'm probably one of few people in the city playing right now. With the help of my US iTunes account, I downloaded Go several days before it officially goes live in Ireland.

But you'd better get used to the sight of goggle-eyed adults and children alike roaming the parks and roads of the country with their phones held up as if in a selfie frenzy. When Go becomes easily available in Ireland for iPhone and Android later this week, Irish users will succumb as tens of millions of others already have worldwide.

To those unfamiliar with the original Pokémon phenomenon, the central goal remains the capture of the titular wild creatures.

In Go's case, however, the Pokémon can be hiding anywhere from the long grass of a park to the middle of a lake to the freezer aisle of the local SuperValu. You literally have to walk (or climb or row a boat) with phone in hand as you consult a map to locate your targets and then point your camera to snare them.

But the easiest to net lurk on the streets, which was how I found Drowzee, a chubby anteater, lolling near Connolly Station.

Go automatically designates certain locations as landmarks, so you get incongruous situations where, for example, the monument to the 1974 Dublin bombings on Talbot Street is identified as a "refill stop", where you can stock up on items and meet friends.

It was then I saw her. The 30-something woman squeezed absent-mindedly through the crowds of rail commuters at Connolly - phone at arm's length in front of her.

She had the intent Pokémon gaze accompanied by a half-smile as she followed the GPS in pursuit of another creature. She raised her phone to capture the Pokémon and clenched her fist in triumph, oblivious to the ­passers-by. You're going to see scenes like that all over the country very soon.

Irish Independent

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