At the start of this month one of the biggest smart phone crazes took place with a very popular Nintendo franchise: Pokémon. A small company by the name of Niantic took it upon themselves, with the help of Google Maps, to place Pokémon all over the world.
What does this have to do with houses in Lake Oswego?
Well a lot really: we are seeing a huge rise in foot traffic all over the neighborhood as people young and old wander around with their eyes glued to their phone, in search of these illusive little digital critters.
One major question seems to be popping up from a lot of Lake Oswego home owners: Who is doing this? And why are they putting Pokémon in my house or my back yard?
Well to answer this question I had to investigate: I downloaded the app myself and went about on my own quest to peruse catching as many Pokémon as I could in Lake Oswego (some of you probably saw me wandering around. I think the most embarrassing thing that had happened so far is that I walked into a low-hanging branch. Otherwise I’ve been pretty keen to keep an eye on my surroundings).
What I found was that, not only do Pokémon pop up just about anywhere (and randomly) but that there are a lot of little Pokémon landmarks all over our neighborhood. What once was an old piece of art, playground equipment, or even a sign that tells you to clean up after your pooch, have now become checkpoints (like geocaching) and digital combat zones (where you can compete against other players and fight your little monsters).
Another thing I have found is that Pokémon are invisible until you wander close to them. They are not tied to an exact spot, but are within a vicinity of where you are. This means that even if they are standing across the street from you, that you can engage in catching them as though they are directly in front of you.
Niantic, the company that is responsible for making this game, has made it very easy to AVOID wandering into people houses and back yards by giving your little in-game player a radius to work with, rather than expecting you to stand directly on top of were a Pokémon may be. So there really should be no excuse to have to trespass into other people’s yards. If you cannot get a Pokémon to appear from the street, chances are it won’t appear even if you trespass.
Some companies (like the Baja Fresh off of Boones Ferry Rd, or Pine Shed Ribs next to the Plaid Pantry), have had the luck of becoming poke-stops (a location point that acts as an interactive recharging station, where it is both easier to get more goodies and catch more Pokémon) and can often be found setting out lures to draw in attention from Pokémon Go players, and thus gaining a little extra business. Lures are in essence a paid bonus that you can buy from the in-game store to attach to existing poke stops, to draw more Pokemon to a location, making it easier for Pokemon Go players to hang out and catch Pokémon, rather than wander around physically.
All-in-all Pokemon Go is a very interesting, and fun, digital craze that plans to be around for a while. It provides a remarkable incentive to go on daily walks around your neighborhood, as well as goals to walk impressive distances. However, it does not encourage players to trespass! So rest assured Lake Oswego, there should be no excuse for people to wander onto your property without permission, in an effort to catch invisible critters. Though I do suggest this game for all ages!