We join the new Pokémon Go craze sweeping the nation

Victoria Nixon finds Pokemon in Hall Place Spalding ANL-160726-190844009
Victoria Nixon finds Pokemon in Hall Place Spalding ANL-160726-190844009
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The game was only released in the UK two weeks ago, yet already ‘Pokémon Go’ is a worldwide craze – and it’s proving a massive hit in Spalding.

The game sees players track down, capture, and battle with fictional characters known as Pokémon.

It is the same concept as the main Pokémon computer games, but instead of having a character walk around the in-game landscape 
looking for Pokémon, players explore the real world to find them.

The Pokémon Go app uses Google maps to alert players to virtual Pokémon in their area, which they can then capture with a flick of a virtual Poké Ball.

It also guides them towards so-called PokéStops where they can acquire helpful items.

Ayscoughfee Hall Museum and Gardens is a hotspot for Pokémon players - or trainers as they are known - with the virtual creatures favouring the gardens and pond.

There are several PokéStops and even a Gym where players can ‘battle’ other players.

Shaun Myers, a Pokémon trainer, said: “I think the reason it is so popular is because it’s effectively an old game that’s been updated for new technology, and that’s cool.”

His friend Alex Rivers added: “It’s consumerism - and businesses benefit from having all those people visiting when playing Pokémon Go.”

I went around town on Tuesday (July 26) to ‘catch ‘em all’, as is the popular slogan, and encountered many Pokémon. I caught several high-level ‘Drowzees’ which seem to be among the most popular Pokémon hanging around the town centre.

Team leader at Spalding Library Sharman Morris said: “We get quite a few people coming here of all ages for the Pokémon hidden in the library and the Poké Balls, capsules used to catch the creatures, they can pick up here.

“I spoke to a man earlier who told me he bought a phone for the purpose of playing Pokémon Go!”

A library service spokesman added: “We welcome library visitors for many activities, so we are delighted that by following the Pokémon, new customers will be encouraged to visit and make use of the library.”

Other Pokémon I caught included a ‘Zubat’ – which I actually got outside the library – a ‘Ghastly’ outside the South Holland Centre and a ‘Caterpie’ outside Hills Department Store.

There has been some controversy surrounding the game as people have been getting into trouble for using the game inappropriately. For example, police in Spalding suspected a 
driver was drunk but on pulling him over actually realised he was playing Pokémon Go.

Baytree Nurseries Garden Centre in Weston had to remind people to be careful when playing the game as some were wondering the car park in search of Pokémon long after closing hours, while others were pulling up on the road causing traffic dangers.

However, Baytree still encourage Pokémon trainers to visit as there are a number of Pokémon to be caught on site.

While people often criticise the length of time some are drawn tostaying indoors playing computer games, many people have pointed to the potential health benefits of playing Pokémon Go.

For example, hatching a Pokémon Egg can require you to walk up to ten kilometres, not to mention all that walking to catch normal Pokémon.

I managed to walk over a kilometre in just half-an-hour.

And it’s incredible how addictive this game can be once you start playing.

While playing, at one point the game seemed to freeze on my phone and I had to reload the app. This is not the only problem players face but those behind the game are trying to fix these 
issues.

To many Pokémon will seem a brand-new craze, but this year the world of Pokémon is actually celebrating its 20th anniversary.

The anime series on children’s television and Nintendo games have been around longer than many people realise.