Local culture exploration with Pokemon Go

Back in 2016 when Niantic first released Pokemon Go, I was obsessed. I’d be up at 2am, defending my gym, making sure no one would take it. I would scour Tinder and promise dates and poke-hunts to those that joined my team. My Facebook banner was of my team logo, a catchy phrase inside it. I was obsessed. Like most people though, after 3-6 months it became tedious and repetitive and Niantic just weren’t rolling out good or interesting updates or extras fast enough. The obsession died down and sleep once more became vastly more important.


Fast forward to last night. I had cracked open a bottle of wine with my good friend who had stayed in the PoGo community. He (and the bottle of wine) convinced me to redownload the app and begin playing again. I figured what the heck, may as well. So last night I reactivated my account and we both laughed at my measly level 20 avatar. A number I had been very proud of back in the day. I had fought gyms and walked thousands of kilometers to get that level 20. Once upon a time, I was powerful. Now, level 20 won’t get you much respect and you’re pretty useless in combat and chances are your Pokemon aren’t very strong either. I had some catching up to do.

Today I have walked over 10kms and it’s not even evening. I have taken over 2 gyms alone, defeated a raid by myself and caught the raid boss Pokemon. I have gained 2 full levels, my Charizard has gained extra candies, and I’m wrecked. I think I’ll actually sleep well tonight! And all I did was walk. On these little walks to see new gyms, try out these raid thingies and to get a bit of exercise, I was astonished at how many new things I discovered about my local area. I found some fantastic art works and installations I had no idea existed. I found cute little parks, merely 15 minute walk from my house.

A platypus on a water tank near a park. Not sure who the artist is.

I couldn’t believe some of the beautiful things I was finding on this silly quest to catch imaginary animals. My intention had been to walk over to the Poke-stops, check out the gyms, and then walk back to the cool(ish) comfort of my home. I knew it was going to be super hot today (37C) so I wanted do my exploring in the cool of morning before the Australian sun got unbearable. Instead, I found a plethora of beauty and creativity and lead me to spending far longer outside and walking farther than I had anticipated.

Tiled lounge set at the local Tafe

So here I sit, in the darkness of my non-airconditioned house, avoiding the worst of the sun until it cools down a bit. While I type this I am a little embarrassed to admit I have three battery packs on charge, just to keep my phone juiced up for when I eventually leave and join my friends in the CBD for some frolicking in food festivals. Because I have no doubt that I will have Pokemon active in my pocket, vibrating constantly, and I want my phone to last the night.

Stay silly xx


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