PokePub Crawl works to revive popularity of Pokemon Go


Southgate senior Tyler Goudreau enjoys a drink while playing Pokemon Go at the Blue Gator Sports Pub and Grill in Mount Pleasant, Michigan on September 8, 2016. Goudreau serves as the co-president of the Mount Pleasant Trainer's Club. 

During the summer, Central Michigan University’s campus was full of wandering students as late as 2 a.m., phones held high as they swiped at their screens. Music played at Fabiano Botanical Garden as students gathered to play Pokemon Go well into the night.

Since its release in July, Pokemon Go has exploded with more than 75 million downloads. Two months later, while the popularity of the game has calmed, dedicated players are still finding ways to come together.

The phone application, which combines the animated creatures from the late-90s television show “Pokemon”, continued its viral success Thursday night with a downtown Mount Pleasant PokePub Crawl.

“During the first week that Pokemon Go came out, my Fitbit said I walked more than 30 miles,” Southgate senior Josh Simms said. “With the bar crawl, I want to make more connections. We are incorporating two great things — Pokemon and alcohol.”

Players gathers at 5 p.m. in Island Park to meet and hunt Pokemon before the crawl began. Once 7 p.m. hit, the group began their walk toward bars, each with lures set by the Mount Pleasant Trainer’s Club.
Lures — which are indicated by falling petals — are placed to attract more Pokemon to the location. The petals appear on the game's screen, driving more players to the location. The lures, which last 30 minutes, were continually placed at the bars by Mount Pleasant Trainers' Club until 9 p.m.

“I can be in a park by myself playing Pokemon Go, and someone will come up to me and tell me where they just caught a good Pokemon,” Novi senior Torri Newman said. “All these complete strangers will become a group to find it and start talking.”

The crawl was hosted by Mount Pleasant Trainer’s Club, a Pokemon-focused club at CMU. The group was looking to merge their love for Pokemon and the Mount Pleasant college-age community. The solution: an alcohol-infused Pokemon hunt.
Several businesses participated in the PokePub Crawl, including Marty's Bar, The Bird, Blue Gator, Dog Central and the Pineapple Express food cart. Marty’s Bar sold a special drink titled “The Pikachu," which was a combination of red bull, orange juice and vodka.
“Pokemon has a nostalgic feeling to it,” Simms said. “It almost felt like we were too old. But with Pokemon Go, we don't feel like that. We can drink and play Pokemon.”

The event turnout was more than expected, said Southgate senior Tyler Goudreau, with almost 20 players in attendance.
“I didn’t expect it to be so popular. We had negative comments on the event page when it was first made because people said it would be dead,” said Goudreau, Mount Pleasant Trainers’ Club co-president. “People are just excited to drink, talk and hang out with people who are just as into Pokemon as them.”