NikkiGilletteIt’s a warm, slightly overcast day at 3 p.m. in July. As I’m walking circles around Vanderveer Park, I pause every moments to swipe my phone and pick up the items as they appear in bubbles on my screen.

Those items?

Three pokeballs, a potion, and a raspberry.

And on I go with my afternoon walk.

I’m far from alone this day, as the park is filled with hundreds of people, all of them staring at their phones, befriending each other, comparing rosters, fighting over gyms, and coming up with creative strings of swear words to express their disdain for the fickle servers. There’s a few teens, but tons of college students, groups of friends in their mid 20s to late 30s, and families with their small children.

I’m sure you’re aware that I’m talking about the Pokemon Go craze that has swept the world in the last month, and the Quad-Cities is no exception. I’ve been so thrilled to see so many people playing this game, getting more exercise, and bonding over a common interest.

For many of us, this common interest goes back to our childhoods, myself included. I grew up watching Pokemon every morning with my brother before we’d go off to school, collecting the trading cards, and playing the classic games (and in Super Smash Bros., Pikachu is absolutely my character of choice!) I could not even fully express my excitement over my first Eevee evolution (Vaporeon) without squealing in delight.

But I have taken notice, as have many others, that Pokemon Go has particularly become the game of choice for adults, as events continue to pop up on social media such as “Pokemon Go Pub Crawls”, and bars advertising themselves as PokeStops and offering specials to of age patrons from food and drink deals, to simply casting lures at and around their venue all day.

I was curious to know the reasons of others as to why Pokemon Go has captivated us so much. Is it simply a nostalgia factor? Or is it something more? I interviewed a few friends who I knew frequently played the game for their thoughts, and this is what they had to say:

“I play Pokemon Go because as I was growing up that was the very first thing I was obsessed over! I had Pokemon everything  cards, blankets, shoes, toys…anything I could get my hands on! I even have a Pokemon tattoo! I think Pokemon Go is a positive thing in the community. Every time I go out to a park I see at least 2030 people, if not way more, out walking around and enjoying the weather. I’ve seen friends who I know have depression and anxiety actually

Nikki Gillette is a Quad Cities entertainer who specializes in comedy music. She has been involved in performances of multiple varieties since 2013. A seasoned lover of geek-culture, unicorns, and candy.