Sask. gamers head outdoors to capture Pokemon in expanded universe

Although not officially released in Canada, last week's global release of Pokemon Go has kept Pokemon trainers busy scouring the province in search of little monsters.

'It brings everyone together; that's the whole point of the game,' says Pokemon Go player Shea Komarychka

Pokemon Go is displayed on a cellphone in Los Angeles on Friday, July 8, 2016. Just days after being made available in the U.S., the mobile game has jumped to become the top-grossing app in the App Store. (Richard Vogel/Associated Press)

A game of nostalgia is taking Saskatchewan smartphone users by storm.

Although not officially released in Canada, last week's global release of Pokemon Go has kept Pokemon trainers busy scouring the province in search of little monsters.

"I started Pokemon when I was really young so having it out on cellphones is a pretty cool little feature to have," said Chris K.

He started a subredditt group called "Saskatoon Pokemon Go Players" to allow like-minded gamers to exchange tips and tricks.

The new augmented reality game layers gameplay onto the physical world, allowing players to find and capture Nintendo characters like Charmander and Pikachu around local neighbourhoods.

Shea Komarychka says the new Pokemon Go game gets him out of the house. (Submitted by Shea Komarychka)

"I think it's a nice thing to get people actually out in public and running around instead of being confined to their living room couch playing video games," said the 28-year-old.

He said he's met about 30 new people since downloading the game last Thursday.

"It helps with confidence for sure. Like, usually you don't walk up to somebody and say, 'Hey,'" said 23-year-old Shea Komarychka.

"It brings everyone together; that's the whole point of the game."

Komarychka said the game gets him to go outside and explore new areas of the city. 

"I walked probably 10 kilometres in one day just trying to find Pokemon," he said.

"The next day, my legs were super sore — I didn't want to do anything but then I went outside again and struggled through it."

Safety concerns

On Monday, Regina police tweeted out a warning to those hitting the Queen City streets on search for Pokemon. 

"Officer Jenny says: Catch responsibly. Don't play in the streets & #DontCatchAndDrive #PokemonGO," the tweet read.

Chris K. said he's run into this problem a lot too because a lot of the Pokestops are adjacent to roads. 

"You can actually go there and you can see people driving by and looking at their phones and performing the necessary actions at each individual stop," he said.

"I, myself, have probably seen 20 to 30 people on their phones while driving kind of thing so it's kind of dangerous."