Pokémon Go catches ’em all in D.C.


A man walks towards the McKinley Building on American University campus while playing Pokemon Go. Photo credit Fletcher Peters.

Pokémon Go” has been sweeping the world’s attention and in Washington, D.C. students, professors and parents are among the millions using the app who are trying to catch ‘em all.

Players are tasked with finding Pokémon in an augmented reality with the creatures popping up on screen as they walk. The object is to catch as many Pokémon as possible, with some having more value than others.

District residents said the surge in play this week has been noticeable.

“I saw teenage boys at a park for the first time in my life,” said Aiyana Riddihough, 20, a new “Pokémon Go” user and Washington University student. “I think that’s pretty good.”

While “Pokémon Go” has encouraged players to step outside and explore their neighborhoods, it also has brought risks. The National Safety Council released on Tuesday a statement citing concerns noting people walking and driving while using the app may be putting themselves and others at risk.

“It takes people out of their environment, but also puts them in it,” said J.T. Tubbs, 21, a camp counselor at American University.

A large difference between “Pokémon Go” and other games is the freedom it presents to its users, according to Patrick Flynn, an American University adjunct instructor of film and media arts. While some applications may punish you for not checking up regularly, Pokémon Go” allows players to catch Pokémon whenever they like.


A woman at American University captures a Pokemon saying she wants to best her sons’ scores. Photo credit Fletcher Peters.

“As the game gets on and as hierarchies develop as they always seem to do, that’s when we’ll start to see what the real problems are,” said Flynn, who said with more time more issues might arise.

The future of “Pokémon Go” may change with the beginning of the school year. High school students won’t have the same amount of time to play, however, college students will return to campuses flooded with Pokémon.

“You could, theoretically, see fraternities or clubs setting up lures and using that as a way to meet people and expand their membership, in a very organic, social way,” Flynn said.

For now, “Pokémon Go” attracts users from many backgrounds. Players don’t need prior knowledge, but for those Pokémon fans the game is like a dream come true. 

“I’m obsessed,” said Dylan Kenney, 21, while catching a Pokémon on the table at a campus cafe. “I’ve played Pokémon for years, and now I can actually catch a Venonat in Starbucks.”