PokemonGO in New Britain: Where to GO

By Larry Clark

Copy Editor

A gym leader at one of the pokegyms in PokemonGO. Image by Larry Clark.

A gym leader at one of the pokegyms in PokemonGO. Image by Larry Clark.

As PokemonGO sweeps the nation, cities and businesses are recognizing the potential for this game to increase their draw, even New Britain. In fact, not only millennials are playing, but kids of all ages, and even parents are excited about the game.

PokemonGO is an “Augmented Reality” or AR game that allows players to explore areas of the world around them and catch Pokemon, like the trainers from the TV show and video game.

Even Mayor Erin Stewart is excited about the prospects the game brings to New Britain.

“I have seen so many people walking around playing PokemonGO … Come visit us downtown and catch ’em all! Check out all our pokegyms and pokestops while you enjoy all that downtown NB has t offer!” Stewart posted on her facebook page, with a map of all the poke-stops and poke-gyms in the downtown area.

Like any other city, New Britain has much to offer in terms of arts and entertainment, but also in terms or historical and cultural locations. These locations translate into the game as “Poke-stops”, which are areas for players to find items.

However, with many places to stop and explore through the city, some trainers-to-be may be wondering what are the best places to explore and go to. When considering where may be the best place to catch ’em all a few factors must be considered: pokestop density (how many in each area or how close they are to each other), and poke-gym to poke-stop relativity (how close are gyms are to a decent amount of poke-stops).

A map of all the pokestops and gyms at Walnut Hill Park. Image courtesy of the Town of New Britain.

A map of all the pokestops and gyms at Walnut Hill Park. Image courtesy of the Town of New Britain.

Poke-gym’s are locations where trainers can come together to battle, the winners get to claim the location to one of three team’s that they choose in game. Trainer’s who have chosen a similar team as what was claimed for the poke-gym location, can battle to train and increase the level of their trainer.

When beginning to venture out on your poke-venture, the neighborhood immediately around you is a great place to start, but it’s easy to begin to wonder where all the trainers are going to capture and evolve their pokemon, as well as take on gyms and get their necessary items from pokestops. When it comes down to it there’s four locations in New Britain that seem to have the most poke-stops: Downtown, Little Poland, Walnut Hill Park, and Central Connecticut State University.

Downtown has a few clusters of poke-stops and poke-gyms, the main issue is that parking downtown isn’t free, which can drive trainers away. The walking distance isn’t unreasonable, but traffic is very busy downtown and the many intersections makes safety a concern when you’re trying to chase down that rare Pokemon. The game gives trainers incentive to walk around, there is an item called an “egg” that can only be hatched by walking a certain distance. These eggs hatch to provide the trainers with a Pokemon, that is often hard to find.

Little Poland has a bunch of spread out pokestops and gyms, however Sacred Heart Church on Broad St. has four poke-stops overlapping with a poke-gym. It would be easy to place a lure module and catch Pokemon and get poke-balls, while battling at the gym. Lure modules are a items that attract Pokemon to a poke-stop, and can be used by anyone in the vicinity.

Broad St. boasts many great Polish shops, delis, and bakeries as well for lunch or dinner while playing. There are more stops and gyms throughout the residential areas near Little Poland, but they are very spread out and would require a mode of transportation like a bike.

A crowd at the "Three Stops Junction" at Walnut Hill Park playing PokemonGO. Photo by Larry Clark.

A crowd at the “Three Stops Junction” at Walnut Hill Park playing PokemonGO. Photo by Larry Clark.

Walnut Hill Park seems to get the most trainers, there are a set of benches where three pokestops practically overlap.

Trainers from the Pokemon GO: New Britain facebook page have called it “The Three Pokestop Junction” it’s right by the band shell. With the app’s booming popularity the park was swarming with trainers after the concert on July 14th. On top of the three stop junction, there’s also two gyms and two stops up by the rose garden the fountain.

Walnut Hill Park also features free parking through out the park, and a paved loop for trainers to walk on to hatch their “eggs”.

“CCSU has a lot of stops but this [walnut hill] seems to have more Pokemon,” said Alex Bobman a trainer at Walnut Hill Park.

“For sure and there’s always people dropping the lure modules right here,’ said a woman with Bobman, who wished to remain anonymous.

The next big spot seems to be CCSU, which is already seeing decent amount PokemonGO trainers. Central  boasts two gyms on campus, and two more directly adjacent to campus (one being the underground deli). CCSU also features well over 20 poke-stops. The school features a high density of stops in the center of campus, by the student center circle.

Poke-stops can be found by walking the student center circle and exploring the art that is strewn across campus. Lure modules can easily be placed in two or three overlapping pokestops with plenty of benches to sit and catch pokemon with friends.

A group of millennial PokemonGO players teaching the others tips and tricks to playing the game. Photo by Larry Clark.

A group of millennial PokemonGO players teaching the older players tips and tricks to playing the game. Photo by Larry Clark.

“It’s actually really great because I feel like I’m bonding more with the kids,”said Manosinh Shields. “They’re actually educating me in this weird phenomenon and it’s  bringing us together.”

She complained that before PokemonGo, both kids and parents were distracted by their phones and were fairly unresponsive. Now they have a reason to get off the couch and interact together.

“It gets us out of the house,” Shields added, “and into the streets and hanging out.”

Pokemon originally released in the U.S. in 1998 as a game for the Game Boy in two versions: Pokemon Red and Blue. During the late 90s and early 2000s the Pokemon franchise took off, with an American Pokemon TV show for kids, trading card games, and Pokemon themed everything (from cereal to waffles). There were even multiple theatrical released Pokemon movies.

While the Pokemon craze has died down the franchise has continued to have multiple successful hand held video games and is coming up on its 17th game release this year in Pokemon Sun and Moon.