Pokemon proliferates in Plantagent

Mt Barker Pokemon player Melaine McQuillan found this character on the bar of Mt Barker’s bottom pub last Saturday. (Geoff Vivian)

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Mount Barker has seen a post-pandemic influx of Pokémons and Pokémon players, and the latter are mostly over 35s, a new enthusiast reports.

According to Melaine McQuillan, who took up the augmented reality game late last year, up to 100 players have battled to capture the animated creatures in Barker’s streets and buildings using a mobile phone app.

Due perhaps to the rapid proliferation of players, the Mt Barker resident said Plantagenet’s Pokémon population suddenly surged as well.

Melaine McQuillan found a new Pokemon “gym” site had been established at Mt Barker’s Catholic church. It appears in naturalistic detail on her mobile phone. (Geoff Vivian)

“We just woke one morning and there were all these extra spots,” she said.

“There’s a new one at the hospital which was previously a Poké stop — it is now a Poké gym.

“And there’s a new Poké stop at the bowling club which is funny — I don’t know if any of the oldies actually play Pokémon but I wouldn’t put it past them.”

Pokémon Go is not just for kids

Ms McQuillan, who is 46, said she suspected some players were in their 70s.

While Pokémon Go started in 2016 to encourage gaming children and youths to get up off the couch and start walking, Ms McQuillan said no local children and very few millennials seemed to be playing.

Japanese gaming enthusiasts Satoshi Tajiri and Ken Sugimori’s original Pokémon, or “pocket monsters”, were small collectable plastic figures used in a competitive role play game that began in the 1980s.

They sold the game concept to Nintendo and it continued to evolve as they added more characters.

Many 1990s parents despaired as the pocket monsters seemed to gobble up their children’s pocket money.

Now we suspect some of those same parents are secret participants.

Real and “virtual” players join Mt Barker Pokémon stoushes

Ms McQuillan said while she personally knew quite a few local players, others joined the games while visiting Mt Barker, either virtually or in person.

“Travellers take over gyms sometimes, so you get a bunch of names at all times that you can’t tell whether they’re local or not,” she said.

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