Pokémon Go Captures City’s Attention
There is a new game in town and New Britain is capitalizing on the excitement.
Pokemon Go, a game uploaded from an iPhone, has captured the hearts of people of all ages as it requires people to walk around the City and find creatures.
Mayor Erin Stewart said she heard about it from Board of Education Vice President Nicholas Mercier and then began to notice the interest.
“There are a ton of people on Facebook playing. There is a New Britain group on Facebook devoted to this game,” said Stewart. “I drive by Fairview Cemetery and there are like 20 people congregated in front of the cemetery and I’m thinking what are they doing? and realize they are playing Pokemon.”
Mercier said he came up with a map of New Britain based off of the stops in a game called Ingress.
“That game had in it portals based off of historic monuments, pieces of interesting arts and popular hangouts. That is what they used to make Pokemon Go,” said Mercier. “Since I knew where the stops were and how popular the game was, I figured a map of the poke stops and poke gyms at downtown, Walnut Hill Park and Broad St. would be interesting to people.”
Mercier realized this would be a good way to promote the City,
“We thought we could use this as a marketing thing and it just took off,” said Stewart. “We want to encourage people that while you are searching for Pokemon, search and explore what New Britain has to offer.”
For example Grand Pizza on Main St. has a poke stop right outside, which is leading people to go in and have pizza who have never eaten there before just because they are walking by playing Pokemon.
“I’ve seen some businesses starting to capitalize on it. Giving discounts to people who are on the team that is currently controlling the gym at the location they are at. Promotions are based off of this game and it is a great idea,” said Mercier. “ Since most stops are historical monuments people are seeing parts of New Britain that they’ve never seen before. It is bringing people into these areas will change a lot of public perceptions of New Britain. Once you change that perception, a lot of people will spend more time in the City. It can do a lot of good for the City.”
Walnut Hill Park is a very popular spot for the game as hundreds of people can be found playing the game and many stay out past midnight having a good time.
“I’m kind of amazed how quickly it has become popular, but it is a great game and it is getting people out into the community,” said Mercier. “I’ve seen people as old 60 playing with people as old as 6. There is no I’m too old or I’m too young, Everybody can get in on it.”
“It is fun,” said Stewart. “I play on everyone else’s phone because I’m afraid if I downloaded it, I am going to spend all my time walking around the city trying to find something.”