Pokémon GO Takes Over Baristaville

By the time the world was gripped with Pokémon Go Fever, I was pretty sure I wanted none of it. I tweeted: “I’ve made an affirmative decision to never, ever find out what Pokémon Go is. #GetOffMyLawn” … and within minutes, Baristanet editor Liz George had a laugh and asked me to write a story about how the virtual reality game has descended upon Essex County.

Who did you catch today in Montclair Center

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Curses, foiled again!

As you no doubt know (and now I do, too), Pokémon Go is an app on your phone that uses the camera, GPS and wireless connections to let you hunt for virtual Pokémon characters all over your house, your neighborhood, your city—heck, the whole world. There have been tons of stories circulating that range from weird to political to grizzly. And there are even reports of people getting some unintentional exercise.

Look who's shopping at Kings @umbamontclairnj

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Apparently, just about everyone everywhere suddenly has to #CatchEmAll.

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Montclair has tons of Poké Stops all over town (The Wellmont Theater, The Rooster on Park, the Stencil mural by Lululemon) and Gyms (Edgemont Park Memorial, Applegate Farm, Christ Church on Church Street). And calling all Pokemon fans! Montclair Center will be filled with Pokemon to hunt on Thursday, July 21 from 4-7 pm. The Montclair Center BID will bait the various Pokestops with lures throughout the district to attract as many Pokemon as possible. Various shops will also be giving some special offers to trainers that night who show pictures of their captured Pokemon and the Montclair Center BID is sponsoring a contest which encourages players to snap pictures of their Pokemon sightings within the BID district and repost on Instagram. A random winner, chosen after July 28, will receive a gift card to East Side Mags, Pokemon card decks and four single scoop ice cream cones from Chocolate Works. The prizes are courtesy of East Side Mags, Chocolate Works Montclair and the Montclair Center BID.

Montclair also has a Pokemon Go Montclair Facebook group! Join to find out who is hunting and meet up with other players.

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Montclair State University has jumped on the Pokemon bandwagon, bragging about its two dozen Poké Stops and creating with a helpful Pokemon GO Campus Map and NJ Monthly’s feed featured a confession that journalists are playing the game at work (and yes, your favorite hyperlocal in Montclair, too). And calling all Pokémon fans! Montclair Center will be filled with Pokemon to hunt on Thursday, July 21 from 4-7 pm. The Montclair Center BID will bait the various Poké stops with lures throughout the district to attract as many Pokemon as possible. Various shops will also be giving some special offers to trainers that night who show pictures of their captured Pokemon and the Montclair Center BID is sponsoring a contest which encourages players to snap pictures of their Pokémon sightings within the BID district and repost on Instagram. A random winner, chosen after July 28, will receive a gift card to East Side Mags, Pokémon card decks and four single scoop ice cream cones from Chocolate Works. The prizes are courtesy of East Side Mags, Chocolate Works Montclair and the Montclair Center BID (more details to come soon).

Of course, not everyone is happy about all the hunting. According to Maplewoodian.com, the Maplewood Police Department said, “As of this time we have not had any incidents as a result of the Pokémon Go application,” but warned citizens to take precautions against being lured into strange places or preyed upon by thieves. The game, according to the cops, “has the potential to be and has been exploited by criminals.”

What’s the best local source for Pokémon Go info? As always, I turned to Montclair’s No. 1 newsman…Stephen Colbert. On The Late Show, Colbert said the game is “revolutionizing the way people get hit by cars while using their phones,” and he introduced some brand-new (and not entirely serious…) characters for people to look for while watching his show. So now we’re looking for “Prawnquistador” while Colbert makes us laugh?

What about you? Are you walking all over Essex County and beyond looking for Pokémon characters? Has your phone led you somewhere shady, or is Pokémon Go proving to be the perfect distraction from election news? Tell us your Pokémon Go stories in the comments!

Not even Rattata can resist our #pokeball #doughnuts! #Pokemon #pokemango

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