Moncton — As the Pokémon Go craze continues to grow, gamers in New Brunswick are stumbling upon new species of Pokémon that have so far remained hidden to players in other parts of the world.
The “augmented-reality” game, in which users explore their own cities and neighbourhoods with their smartphones in search of monsters to collect and battle, has been a hit with nostalgic 20-somethings since its release earlier this week. Local fans, however, are showing a mix of excitement and concern as they discover new species of downtrodden and hapless Pokémon roaming the province.
“I couldn’t wait to go check out some of the parks by my neighbourhood for Pokémon,” said Anthony Hammond, 26, of Miramichi. Hammond recounts how he spotted an empty refrigerator box and scanned it with his Pokémon Go app — his screen buzzed and he was notified that a wild Pokémon known as “Facetattoo” appeared.
“I grew up with Pokémon, but I had never seen that one before,” Hammond said. “I got nervous and ran away when he used his ‘throwing-used-syringes’ attack on me.”
Other fans have been voicing their concerns as well. Genevieve Léger, 21, and her friends were testing out the game during an evening stroll down Main Street in Moncton, looking for the New Brunswick-exclusive Pokémon Bilingu-Owl when they met two older men who were interested in comparing their Pokémon.
“We hadn’t been playing very long; I only had a level 3 Ratatracadie that I caught earlier that day at the Esso by using a pack of smokes I bought as bait,” she said. “They topped me pretty easily with their level 30 Fedoraking and its Friendzone attack. Then they asked us if we ‘liked to party’ and we got scared and left.”
The game also lets users meet up with other players in community areas — known in the game as “gyms” — to battle Pokémon and socialize.
Jacob Gaudet, 24, describes how his phone led him and his girlfriend, Caitlyn, to the parking lot at Angie’s strip club (another in-game gym) in Dieppe. Hoping to meet other Pokémasters, they were instead confronted by a sordid gang of reprobates who tried to rope them into illegal activities using a group of rare, higher-level Pokémon: Growop and Pornogon.
“Growop’s Blaze attack is super strong — my poor Double-Double didn’t stand a chance, and they finished us off with Pornogon’s Shake Down ability, so we lost some of our real-world cash too, which sucks.
“Next time, I think we’ll just stick with that Pokémon gym that popped up at the construction site at the old Highfield Square,” he added. “I can practise there and hopefully my Double-Double can evolve into a Triple-Triple, then I can go back and beat those jerks at Angie’s.”
Interest in the game, which is already one of the most-downloaded apps in history, shows no signs of waning — and many fans in New Brunswick are anxiously awaiting the rumoured once-a-year appearance of the mythical super Pokémon known only as “Quinzeaoût,” coveted for its Tintamarre ability, which causes noise-induced hearing loss in opponents.