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Engaging with Pokémon Go 

A Baptist church in Worcester saw real community interaction as it embraced the virtual reality world of Pokémon Go

Pokemon700

The release of ‘Pokémon Go’ in the UK has seen gamers take to the street to find ‘Pokémon’ characters and navigate locations around them to visit virtual reality ‘Pokéstops’ and ‘gyms’ in real locations across cities and towns. The game has become an overnight sensation, with many people out at the weekend locating the characters on a phone screen guided map.
 
On discovering that its building “The Rainbow Hill Centre” was designated as a virtual reality gym by the game, the members of Rainbow Hill Baptist Church in Worcester set up a pop up refreshment area outside the church and community centre building on Astwood Road. They also provided a free Wi-Fi connection and a place to recharge mobile phones after a draining day on mobile batteries from playing the game app.
 
Pokemon500Minister the Revd Ian Spence said it was great watching people with their phones gravitate towards the church and community building to locate the ‘gym’. It was also really good to watch the young people there teach others how to use the game on their phones.

He was impressed by the conversations that were happening. 'People were discovering fellow gamers who lived on the same street and engaging in conversations inspired by their common enjoyment of the Pokémon Go game,' he explained. 
 
A chalk tally board was left for visitors to the church ‘gym’ to show that they'd been there, with the opportunity to leave a comment to encourage neighbouring gamers. At the end of the first weekend around 50 people had left a mark to say they had visited.
  

Baptist Times, 20/07/2016
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