Pokémon Go walks within ISG

Photo of someone playing Pokémon Go in the Grassmarket, with Edinburgh Castle in the background.

Originally launched over two years ago, the Pokémon Go mobile game is still going strong with almost 150 million people playing monthly. Within Argyle House the numbers are a little more modest, but no less enthusiastic!

I’m lucky enough to be able to walk to work and without fail this involves me playing Pokémon Go en route. My four-mile journey to Argyle House and back has some pretty spectacular Old Town views and this free-to-play mobile game rewards you in-game and IRL for taking different routes each day.

One of my biggest motivations for leaving my desk at lunchtime is to go outside and play Pokémon Go. Fresh air and moderate exercise do wonders in preventing that 3pm slump. For me personally, even just 20 minutes of walking up and down Lothian Road has a positive effect on my health. Having being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes since a teenager the direct relationship between regular exercise and good diabetic control is one I’m always conscious of. Pokémon Go has now become an important and beneficial part of my daily routine.

Within Argyle House and Information Services Group (ISG) there are quite a few of us that now meet up regularly to go on short Pokémon Go walks together. Not only is this a welcome opportunity for relaxed chats with colleagues, it’s also much easier to battle gyms and raids in a team. On rainy days, we tend to just meet for lunch on floor H and trade Pokémon with each other all cosy inside.

Two screenshots of Pokémon Go app – a postcard from Japan and a Pokéstop from Codebase, Edinburgh.

12 months since launch the developers Niantic have added some major new features. The most significant change is a friendship system where you can send gifts and trade Pokémon. My favourite thing is sending virtual postcards from geographical locations (PokéStops) you’ve recently visited. Having Instagram friends from Japan send you daily photographs of their commute to work never gets old. Sitting at my desk I can send them a postcard from either Codebase or the old Silk nightclub, hope they are not too disappointed!

At the weekends there is a large and very active Pokémon Go community within Edinburgh. We tend to organise ourselves via Discord, an incredibly useful VoIP and IM app. It’s pretty easy to find other people in your neighbourhood and meet up for some friendly outdoor gaming sessions.

Photo of my colleague Jackie Aim playing Pokémon Go on her iPhone.

Lastly, every month there is an official Community Day where players worldwide visit large parks to catch, battle and trade rare Pokémon. Regular Edinburgh locations include Princes Street Gardens, the Meadows and the Royal Botanic Gardens. It’s not uncommon for over 200 people to attend these weekend events. On average I end up walking about eight miles in just three hours, the competition to catch the most is pretty intense! Thankfully, community members are very considerate and often provide delicious homemade brownies for sustenance!

If you’d like to join us for lunchtime Pokémon Go walks please look at our Wiki page (UoE ISG staff only):

Image credits

Copyright © Stewart Lamb Cromar, The University of Edinburgh 2018 CC BY
These works are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.