B y Krystle S. Morey

Pokemon are running rampant around town – and so are Pokemon hunters.

David McFarren, of Whitehall, has walked several kilometers chasing Pokemon around the region. McFarren, wearing a Pokemon shirt, was on the hunt for a Pikachu last Thursday in the village of Granville.

“I’ve walked about 10 kilometers today,” he said.

David McFarren has caught more than 50 Pokemon since the app launch three weeks ago.

David McFarren has caught more than 50 Pokemon since the app launch three weeks ago.

Originally made popular by the ‘90s television show and accompanying playing cards, Pokemon is making a comeback with “Pokemon Go,” a new mobile app that has taken the world by storm.

The app, which was released just three weeks ago, has been downloaded by more than 10 million people, according to the Google Play Store.

“Pokemon Go” is a free-to-play game that uses real-world maps and landmarks, including the Slate Valley Museum and the Pember Library, locally.

Both are Pokestops, where players spin a coin to get healing potions, Pokeballs and eggs.

“Once you get the eggs, you have to walk 5 or 10 kilometers to hatch the egg,” said “Pokemon Go” player John Colegrove, of Granville.

“We have witnessed several people hunting Pokemon while enjoying the museum and playing the game on our cultural campus,” said Krista Rupe, executive director of the Slate Valley Museum.

Rupe said there was a Pokemon sitting on the front desk at the museum.

She saw more than 10 people playing the game just last Thursday.

“You can tell who is playing it because they are all walking around, looking at their phones,” Rupe said.

Colegrove walked around town from 8 a.m. until about 4 p.m. last Thursday, when storms forced him to stop the hunt and go inside.

“It gets addicting quick, so be careful,” Colegrove said.

Players create a personalized avatar – right down to hair color, skin and clothes – and are then tasked with walking around town to “catch” Pokemon. The creatures are captured with a swipe of the screen.

One goal of the game is to get gamers to go outdoors and be active.

“You can’t hatch your eggs without walking,” Colegrove said.

“If the ‘Pokemon Go’ encourages people to explore cultural places, I’m all for it,” Rupe said.

Colegrove and McFarren have caught Pokemon at Price Chopper, the Granville Police Station and near the rail trail bridge outside the Slate Valley Museum. Between the two of them, they had caught more than 90 Pokemon since downloading the game a couple of weeks ago.

The ‘Pokemon Go’ app uses players’ GPS and camera to create a virtual reality. Seen here is a screen capture of the game.

The ‘Pokemon Go’ app uses players’ GPS and camera to create a virtual reality. Seen here is a screen capture of the game.

The Granville Post Office is a Pokegym, where players can go to battle their Pokemon against other app users’ creatures.

“If you win, you get experience points,” McFarren said, which levels up players’ Pokemon.

There are different types of Pokemon, McFarren said. They are typically found near tall grass, fire, earth, rock and water. “You literally have to walk around town to track them down,” he said.

During the interview with the Sentinel, he caught a Weedle in the grass near the Station House Bed & Breakfast in Granville.

“With my job, I go all over,” Colegrove said. “…so I have caught some in Albany, Saratoga, Bennington, Whitehall… It could just pop up right on the map and you click on it and you throw a pokeball at it.”

In Whitehall, Colegrove said there are several Pokestops, including those at the firehouse and the park by the canal.

The app is attracting players of all ages. McFarren’s mother, who is 41, plays the game, he said.

“My mom is 45 and she plays it,” Colegrove said.

Both Colegrove and McFarren played Pokemon games on their Nintendo Gameboys and Game Cubes when they were younger. It’s more convenient being able to play the game on their mobile phones, the pair said, but “it drains the batteries pretty good.”

The goal of the game, Colegrove said, is just like the 1990s video games: “You’ve gotta catch ‘em all.”

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