Pokémon Invade the Newark Campus

Pokémon Go is the biggest mobile game in history, and the shared campus of Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) and The Ohio State University at Newark is one of the hottest spots to catch Pikachu and friends. There are over 20 PokéStops and four Gyms located at various buildings, monuments, sculptures and other landmarks on campus. Students, staff and community members alike are getting into the action.Text Box: Pokémon Go players gather on McConnell Pointe.

"For me, it's about wish fulfillment," said Rob Knighton, senior political science major at Ohio State Newark and COTC alumnus. "Pokémon came out when I was in seventh grade. It was huge then. You were limited to what you could capture in the game, so you had to trade with friends. Now that the game is mobile, I can do all the things as a kid I wished I could do. It's a dream come true."

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If you haven't heard of it, Pokémon Go is a free mobile app available on iOS and Android smart phones. The game works by using your phone's GPS for your real-world location and augmented reality to bring up Pokémon on your screen, overlaid on top of what you see in front of you, that are caught with a Pokéball. It was released on July 8, and has since attracted just under 21 million users. Pokémon Go seems to be most popular with millennials, but young children and high school students have also been spotted on campus playing the game.

"I've been a Pokémon Master since I was 5, so being able to combine two things I love – Pokemon and Ohio State Newark – has been golden," said Ohio State Newark Admissions Counselor Caleb Young.

The game makers encourage players to "get up, get out and go," making exercise and exploration and important component of the game.

"I found a 9/11 memorial tree by Hopewell Hall that I was unaware of. It is a great opportunity for people to explore campus," said junior world politics major Kyle Williams.

Knighton said he logged 20 kilometers in about 5 days. He is finished with classes for the summer, but works on campus in the Math Learning Center. He comes in to work early to catch Pokémon and battle in the Gym. At the time of the interview he owned the Gym at The John Gilbert Reese Center, but competition is stiff and it's likely changed hands numerous times now. His goal is for other players to recognize his name, Robborino, when they are fighting at the Gyms.

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The best place on campus to play, Knighton says, is on McConnell Point because of its proximity to three PokéStops and the Gym in the Martha Grace Reese Amphitheatre. But, there are plenty more attractions to discover on campus, and we encourage the community to explore it. Some of the stops you'll encounter are:

  • Everett D. Reese Carillon: Located near Founders Hall, this 82-foot bell tower was dedicated on December 14, 1994, as a tribute to local banker and philanthropist Everett D. Reese's dedication to the community and long-standing commitment to education. The Schulmerich Carillon at its peak is capable of playing more than 2,000 pieces.
  • Abraham Lincoln statue: Abraham Lincoln is just one of many sculptures in the "The Great Contributors" collection by Gary Lee Price. Benjamin Franklin, William Shakespeare, George Washington, Claude Monet and Albert Einstein complete the collection on campus which was donated by the Thomas J. Evans' Foundation.
  • International Peace Monument: Inscribed with the words, "May peace prevail on Earth," in multiple languages, this monument is located on McConnell Pointe in the bend in the pond. It is named for William T. and Jane Cook McConnell in recognition of their philanthropic support of education. William McConnell served as the Chair for the 2012 Next Generation Challenge scholarship campaign that raised nearly $21 million.
  • The John L. and Christine Warner Library and Student Center: Opened in 2008, the Warner Center is newest academic building on campus. It features a 25,000 square foot library that is open to the public. The Warner Library houses about 45,000 print volumes, 270 serial subscriptions, 1800 videos and DVDs and 1,200 maps. The Warner Center is a hub for student activity featuring a student center, food court, learning commons and bookstore.