Pokémon GO in Carlisle

Over the past five years, Pokémon GO has played a massive role in my life. However, it has picked up a new found role for me since moving to Dickinson College a few months ago. I’ve been able to play the game in such a different way from how I have before and I’d say it has only been for the better. Coming from a small town where it is harder to walk to places you need to go to, Carlisle has been a great change of pace in terms of my relationship with this game.

I have played Pokémon GO in many different places, ranging from my small hometown in Northeast Pennsylvania, cities big on tourism and history like Niagara Falls, NY, Cape May, NJ, and Hershey, PA, along with two of the biggest cities on the east coast, Philadelphia and New York City. All of them provided a different experience playing due to the amount of landmarks in the area and the amount of time that I was in said areas. Back home, there were no PokéStops (points of interest in the real world that have increased Pokémon spawns and allow you to get in-game items) in the immediate view of my home. There were also no Gyms, which act like PokéStops but also come with raid battles, allowing you to fight strong and rare Pokémon for the chance to catch them. All of the PokéStops and Gyms in my area required at least a few minutes of driving to reach, thus, Pokémon GO was a game that I could only really play to its fullest ability when I was out somewhere.

Since arriving at Dickinson, that has completely changed. From my dorm, I am able to reach two PokéStops directly from my room. There are also a lot of PokéStops and Gyms within walking distance, not only directly on campus but downtown as well. When arriving on campus, I ended up using PokéStops and Gyms to get adjusted to names of places on campus even after orientation. Walking around campus has also changed the way I play, as you gain special items the more you walk. I would once get a few miles in and get some common items at the end of every week, but now, I walk far more around campus and get far better items. This also incentives me to get out and walk around campus and see what’s happening.

At the start of November, I reached level 38 in-game, which means that I can now nominate things around me as points of interest to possibly be added as PokéStops or Gyms. This has given me a strong incentive to explore the Dickinson community and Carlisle community and find landmarks that could become PokéStops within the game. For example, some landmarks within the community that I have nominated include the “Charles Nisbet Campus of Dickinson College” sign outside the Waidner-Spahr Library, the plaque outside Denny Hall commemorating President George Washington’s stay in Carlisle on his way to put down the Whiskey Rebellion, and several signs in relation to the House Divided Project’s “Dickinson and Slavery Project”. After I nominate a place, other high level players from around the world will rate my nomination and decide whether it is an appropriate point of interest. After one gets approved, it then has a chance of being added in-game. This has really helped me to connect with the community and the history present in Carlisle and specifically at Dickinson.

This appeal in the community has also worked with meeting new people on campus. Through means such as the Dickinson GO! Discord server and a raiding group chat on Instagram, I have connected with several people on campus through Pokémon GO. We can share rare Pokémon we find through these chats, and find raid battles to do where we can obtain rare legendary Pokémon, which I often had a hard time getting back home given the fact that I would have to drive to be able to battle them. There are also Community Days, monthly events where a special Pokémon spawns for much of the day, where I have gone out with friends looking for these Pokémon.