Do you want to be the very best, like no one ever was?
Is catching them your real test and training them your real cause?
For hundreds of young-at-heart Platte County residents, the call of Pokemon is one that cannot be ignored. A new, mobile-based game called “Pokemon Go” — released July 6 — has reignited the fiery nostalgia that many have felt for the virtual creatures, while also introducing a new generation to the characters.
The game also provides a boost to local businesses.
Pokemon Go combines the online game play with reality, allowing players to go to physical locations in their area to catch Pokemon, find powerups and battle each other for control of landmarks.
Players can find powerups — like potions to heal wounded Pokemon, Pokeballs to catch Pokemon and eggs that can hatch future creatures — at “Pokestops,” which are located at nearly every historical landmark across Platte County, as well as most churches, government buildings and parks. Gyms — for which players battle for control — are found at major landmarks, well-known churches and important government buildings.
The high presence of historical points and government buildings in downtown Platte City makes the area perfect for playing Pokemon Go.
With nine Pokestops and a gym, some business owners, like Kathy Mitchell of Platte City Flowers, have seen more people out and about in downtown.
“I’ve seen a lot of people out with their phones — mostly young kids, but some older — going up and down (Main) Street,” Mitchell said. “We have a young girl that works here, and I put (the game) on my phone and she went out and found a couple of Pokestops.”
Mitchell posted a picture on Facebook of her catching a Pokemon outside of her shop, with the caption, “While on your travels to catch all the Pokémon, come flock to the Flower Shop with the Pidgey. While you’re here, check out our Summer Blow Out tables!!”
Mitchell said she got the idea from Bee Creek Cafe & Bakery, which had posted a picture of a Raticate Pokemon with the caption, “Don’t e-Raticate your chances of catching a Pokémon in downtown! While you are here don’t forget to pick up a gift card to celebrate!”
The post also included a list of that day’s specials.
For Pokemon players in the northern half of the county, Weston, Mo. offers more than 15 Pokestops and multiple gyms in the downtown region; plus, the friendly businesses and restaurants provide an enjoyable day trip.
However, for the “Pokemon Go” player looking to amp up the game play, head to Zona Rosa. The 500,000 square feet of outdoor shopping and entertainment boasts more than 30 Pokestops and a handful of competitive gyms.
Zona Rosa provides a unique area for Pokemon players to engage with each other, according novice player Perri Sturm, of Kansas City, Mo.
“You’ll meet a bunch of people when you play the game,” Sturm said, as she played the game in a crowded area of the shopping center.
Sitting next to her, Chase Bengston, of Kansas City, Mo., said that he’ll “ask random people walking on the street if they play, and just strike up a conversation.”
Players also mention the “go” aspect of the game as a reason to play. Exploration encourages physical activity, and certain rewards are given simply for the amount of steps the player accrues while playing.
Sturm and Bengston work together at the Noodles & Company in Zona Rosa, and sometimes play the game on their lunch breaks.
“It’s a nice incentive to go outside and walk around,” Sturm said. “A lot of the games I have on my phone, I just kind of sit on the couch and play.”
And, as the famous song goes, players have the desire to “catch them all.”
“It’s really satisfying to collect all of the Pokemon in real life,” Bengston said. “To look at all of the Pokemon I’ve caught by going out to places is really cool.”