Edmonton

Go placidly: U of A tells students to play Pokémon with care

The University of Alberta has been blessed with a campus rife with Pokémon. As one of the most populated locations in the city, it's asking obsessed students to play Pokémon Go with care.

'We decided ... we would focus on not walking into each other'

The app Pokémon Go is taking over the University of Alberta campus.

If you can't beat 'em, at least educate 'em.

That's the stance the University of Alberta is taking on Pokémon Go, the smartphone game that has become a worldwide phenomenon. 

The university has been blessed with a campus rife with Charmanders, Pikachus and Psyducks.

In fact, the U of A has the highest concentration of Pokémons in all of Edmonton.

The U of A was seeing so many people playing Pokémon Go, it created guidelines for Pokémon etiquette and safety.

That's what led U of A communications specialist Hallie Brodie to create a Pokémon etiquette guide.

"We were looking for something to do to play with the idea that there are so many people on campus who are playing," Brodie said Thursday.

"So we decided rather than focusing on how to play the game, we would focus on not walking into each other."

Edmonton police have also warned against the dangers of playing the game while driving.

At the U of A's main campus, all it takes is one quick scan of the quad to spot the hunters. 

They generally travel in groups. They come to sudden stops and stand transfixed, phones in hand.

The game isn't going away, so Brodie hopes students can use it as a way to meet new friends.

"I'm hoping that they get out of class, when they are supposed to get out of class, and use it as an opportunity to explore their campus and meet each other."

Student Aaron Raham has done just that.

After playing for more than a week, despite the game not being officially available in Canada yet, he's started to recognize some Pokémon regulars. 

Students are easy to spot roaming the campus playing the game on their phones.

"I've met some people. I think there are five gyms on campus, and there are different teams that fight for control," said Raham.

"You can see guys that are on your team that are kind of strengthening it, or other folks who are trying to take it away from your team. So (we're) kind of chatting with folks who are standing around in the same place."

Raham says he keeps his head up when playing, but is enjoying exploring his campus trying to catch 'em all.

"I like the fact that people have something to talk about," said Raham. "Something that's encouraging them to get out, and walk around a lot."

Fellow app enthusiast Ashley Linnemann agrees.

"It's a revolution really. They've managed to fix obesity like childhood obesity, they are making strides towards it. It's getting people out of the house," said Linnemann.

"And you know a lot of people say that technology brings us further apart, this is the answer of technology actually does bring people together and make us more sociable."

More sociable, and hopefully, more aware of their surroundings while hunting.

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