Boston churches become hotspots for Pokémon

byMark Labbe Pilot Staff

A Pokémon appears outside of the Archdiocese of Boston's Pastoral Center. Since the release of Pokémon GO, people around the nation have been frequenting local areas, including places of worship, to hunt virtual Pokémon. Pilot graphic/Mark Labbe

BRAINTREE -- In the days following its first debut in New Zealand and Australia on July 5, and then its release in the United States the following day, the mobile game Pokémon GO has become a cultural phenomenon that has rocked local communities around the world.

In the free-to-play, augmented reality game, developed by Niantic, Inc., players are tasked with tracking down and capturing Pokémon, the fictional monsters that Nintendo and The Pokémon Company made famous through countless movies, television shows, video games, and merchandise featuring the monsters.

Players use their smartphone's GPS to find the Pokémon, which appear in real-life locations, and their phone's camera to see the Pokémon. With the camera open, the monsters digitally appear in front of a real-time image of a player's surrounding, and can be captured.

Not all real-life locations have an equal number of Pokémon, however. A great number of public places, such as parks, schools, and places of worship, can act as hotspots for the monsters, and have seen large numbers of players visiting them because of that.

In the Greater Boston area, there are countless hotspots, and fans have even created maps to help keep track of them and to keep track of which Pokémon appear where in the city.

While Catholic Churches have not yet seemed to appear on these maps, replies to a Reddit post created by The Pilot have confirmed that many, if not most, churches in the Greater Boston area act as hotspots.

With the number of downloads growing every day -- only recently it was announced that since it first launched, Pokémon GO has been downloaded an estimated 75 million times worldwide -- parishioners should not be surprised to see an influx of Pokémon players wandering around with their phones.