Pokémon Go: Milford’s Riverwalk a hotspot for hunters, characters

MILFORD – After living in Milford for a year and a half, Nathan Wheeler said he discovered something new: The Riverwalk.

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A Nidoqueen enjoys the view from inside the new Pokemon Go game while a player was at the Milford sign in Bicentennial Park.

“I’ve never been down here before, and I don’t live far away. Within walking distance. Now, though, I’ve been up and down this whole stretch catching Pokémon,” he said.

Pokémon Go is a new, free smart-phone app that brings to life the older, 1990s Pokémon card-game using augmented reality and GPS technology.

“It’s great because I get to relive my childhood all over again. Only better. Now I can actually find the Pokémon in real life,” Mr. Wheeler, an engineering student, said.

Since the game was released July 6, players have often found themselves getting out of the house to not only catch the fictional Pokémon characters, but to get exercise in the process as some elements of the game require walking.

Even better? Mr. Wheeler is not alone in discovering new spots, according to many new-again Pokémon hunters found lurking around the downtown Milford area trying their best to “catch ‘em all.”

Others, like Nita Stack, find themselves enjoying an extra trip to their already well-traveled spots.

“I had so much fun waking around downtown yesterday. The Riverwalk was crawling with people. We all talked to each other,” she said. “This crazy little video game has a lot of potential to bring people together and get them outside.”

Due to the algorithms inside the game itself, the downtown area is somewhat of a hot spot thanks to traffic and major landmarks such as the library and the boat displays along the Riverwalk.

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Many Magicarp have been seen flopping around the Riverwalk this week inside the new Pokemon Go game.

Three Pokéstops, or places within the game where players can find free items used while catching Pokémon and preparing for battle, rest by the Milford Public Library along the Riverwalk. Another three await players just down the street by Riverfront Theatre on N. Walnut Street.

More Pokéstops can be found frequently throughout the Riverwalk area as players continue their walking tour.

“It’s cool to see some much more traffic on the Riverwalk. I walk it at lunch every day and this week I’ve seen a lot more people than usual,” David Vezmar said. “Surreal is exactly what I told [my wife]. I see families who I’m sure otherwise wouldn’t be walking around town. It’s great.”

So what do these Milford explorers do with their prized catches?

They continue walking to the nearest [fictional] gym with their highest ranking Pokémon, ready and prepared for battle. Several of these gyms can be found around town in the in-app map.

Some gyms, like those found along normal downtown walking areas, are easily accessible by most hunters. Others, such as one near Royal Farms on Rt. 113, are harder to reach by the average passer-by.

“It really makes you try hard to ‘catch ‘em all,’” Mr. Wheeler said. “This is going to be addicting and fun.”

Jennifer Antonik can be reached at mc@newszap.com

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