Pokemon Go converting fans in Cowichan Valley

Lyndsay Rusk has met more people and learned more about Duncan’s iconic landmarks in just three days than many people would in a year.

Lyndsay Rusk has met more people from the Cowichan Valley and learned more about Duncan’s iconic landmarks in just three days than many people would in a year.

Rusk, an acupuncturist with Harmony Yoga Centre who has just recently moved to Duncan, is one of many people in the city, and around the world, who have become enamoured with the new Pokemon Go sensation.

Pokemon Go is a location-based, reality-mobile game that is played on people’s personal-electronic devices, like smartphones.

Making use of GPS and the camera of compatible devices, the game allows players to capture, battle and train virtual creatures, called Pokemon, who appear on device screens as though in the real world.

The video game, which requires a lot of physical activity, sends players into the “real world” to search for the mythical digital-pocket Pokemon monsters who appear onscreen when users hold up their smartphones in various locations at certain times of the day.

Just released in July, the free Pokemon Go app has quickly become one of the most used smart-device apps ever, being downloaded by more than 40-million people worldwide so far.

Rusk said her smartphone has led her to several iconic monuments in Duncan, including Duncan City Hall, the Canada Post office on Ingram Street and some of the totem poles downtown, to capture various Pokemon characters.

She said she has met a lot of other people on the same mission all over the city.

Individuals and groups gathering at some of the landmarks and monuments with their cellphones held out have become a common sight in Duncan, and communities everywhere, in recent weeks.

“I’ve always enjoyed playing board games and sports with others, but I’ve never been much of a video-game player,” Rusk said after “capturing” some Pokemon from the post office.

“My husband, who is now 30, has been a big Pokemon fan since he was a kid and I was making fun of him at first when he started playing Pokemon Go. But it’s a lot of fun and it gets people outside and moving around, so I started playing the game as well.”

In fact, those aged 18 to 34 are by far the most likely to have downloaded the app, followed by those aged 13 to 17, according to a recent poll by Ipsos Reid.

John O’Rielly and his six-year-old daughter Sherry were among the many people, covering many age groups, who were drawn to the post office one recent sunny afternoon with their smartphones.

“My daughter wanted to play the game, and I’m actually having fun as well wandering through downtown,” he said.

“As long as it gets Sherry outside and exercising, I think it’s great.”

But the increasing popularity of the game is causing problems in some jurisdictions, with reports of accidents, trespassing on private property and people just being a public nuisance for law enforcement officials.

Sgt. Chris Swain, from the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment, said there has been no specific incident in the Valley related to Pokemon Go so far.

But he said the police are raising concerns about some of the activities of local game players.

Swain reminded people against playing the game on a smartphone and driving, which is considered distracted driving. People are subject to a $543 fine for their first offence.

He also said many players are so absorbed with the game that they are not paying attention to where they are walking, which can lead to accidents and other dangerous situations.

Swain said drivers should remember to park properly when they reach their destinations while playing Pokemon Go, and play the game with partners, particularly at night when you don’t know who you will run into at the rendezvous points.

“It’s really all about using your common sense,” Swain said.

“Keep safety foremost in your mind and pay attention to what’s going on around you.”

Rusk encouraged everyone to participate in the game, and to do it safely.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” she said.

“I’m not even sure what the object of the game is, or even how to win it. I’m just playing it for the fun of the ride.”

Just Posted

From left: Thomas Kuecks, David Lane, John Ivison, Denis Berger, Rod Gray, and James Kuecks are Cabin Fever. Catch their performance on the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre website. (Ashley Foot photo)
A&E column: Music Festival winners, CVAC awards, and Cabin Fever

The latest from the Cowichan Valley arts and entertainment community

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
Cowichan Valley MLA Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

BC Green Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

The city-owned lot at 361 St. Julien St., which has been home to a temporary homeless site for more than a year, will be sold and plans are to build a three-storey mixed-use development there, Peter de Verteuil, Duncan CAO explained at a recent council meeting. (File photo)
New development planned for homeless site in Duncan

Lot on St. Julien Street would see three-storey building

Historian and longtime Citizen columnist T.W. Paterson photographs the historical wreckage of a plane on Mount Benson. Paterson recently won an award from the British Columbia Historical Foundation. (Submitted)
Cowichan’s Tom W. Paterson wins award for historical writing

British Columbia Historical Federation hands Recognition Award to local writer

This electric school bus is the newest addition to the Cowichan Valley School District’s fleet. (Submitted)
Editorial: New electric school bus good place to start

Changing public transit like buses to electric really is important.

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

The Co-op gas station at Whiskey Creek is burning after a camper van exploded while refueling just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Exploding camper van torches Highway 4 gas station between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni

Highway traffic blocked after Whiskey Creek gas station erupts into flames

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Greater father involvement in the home leads to improved childhood development and increased marital satisfaction, says expert. (Black Press Media file photo)
Vancouver Island researcher finds lack of father involvement a drag on gender equality

Working women still taking on most child and household duties in Canada: UVic professor

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

Most Read