Pokemon Go 'legitimate reason to get out of the house' Toronto gamer says

Self-proclaimed Pokemon Go addict JP Casino is travelling across Toronto trying to catch 'em all. Here's why.

Casino says he's lost 10 pounds in 2 weeks of playing the game

JP Casino created the Facebook group PokemonTO, and says he's lost 10 pounds playing the game in just two weeks. (Amanda Grant/CBC)

Pokemon Go has taken over the city. At any hour, in any part of the city, hundreds of gamers and casual players are walking with their phones in hand, trying to catch 'em all. 

Among them is JP Casino. A self-proclaimed computer nerd, Casino says he immediately took to the game, downloading the U.S. version before it was released in Canada, and launching the Pokemon Go Toronto Facebook page. 

CBC's Metro Morning followed him around downtown Toronto as he tracked the animated creatures, asking him some questions along the way. 

Where has the game taken you?

The farthest it's taken me is Pickering. There's the idea that certain Pokemon live in certain geographies and I've wanted to bump up on my electrical Pokemon so I figured let's take a trip out to Pickering close to the power station. 

Pokemon Go gamers like Casino were out early Wednesday morning, catching the sunrise over Lake Ontario as they searched for Pokemon. (Amanda Grant/CBC)

What attracts you to the game? 

There is a fair bit of nostalgia for me. I was in high school when Pokemon first came out in 1996. I love technology as well so it's a good marriage between my geekdom and my love of technology. 

Are there health benefits to the game? 

I've been meaning to get to the gym for years. But I've lost 10 pounds in the last two weeks because I've probably walked over 50, 60 kilometres. I've biked for hours and hours.

It's given people a legitimate reason to get out of the house, get exercise and interact with other human beings in the real world which is something that no video game has been able to do so far.

Casino says he's struggled with depression, but Pokemon Go has motivated him to get outside, meeting and socialising with other people, like this group of gamers hunting for a Vulpix by the Queen's Quay ferry terminal. (Amanda Grant/CBC)

Some businesses say loitering Pokemon Go players aren't welcome. How do you respond? 

They're missing a great opportunity. For as many business owners that are upset about the game, there are just as many that are trying to find a way to leverage it.

Do you think the game's novelty will wear off? 

I give it two or three months for the main buzz to die off. But it's so easy for Niantic and Nintendo to keep adding content. Their ability to add new features and new characters is unlimited. 

In two hours Wednesday morning Casino walked seven kilometres to catch Pokemon, stopping at landmarks like the CN Tower, the Rogers Centre and the Harbourfront Centre along the way. (Amanda Grant/CBC)

Interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. 

Metro Morning