Pokemon craze hits Idaho

Posted at 6:26 PM, Jul 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-11 20:29:57-04

A brand-new smartphone based video game is getting people across the treasure Valley off the couch and into the outdoors in the never-ending quest to catch Pokémon.

"For the twenty-somethings, it's very nostalgic, I grew up with a game boy playing it," Pokémon trainer Matt Lieggi said.

The app doesn't just target the typical gamer. It's even encouraging grown adults to increase their daily step count like Maggie Trautman, spending her lunch breaks now walking around downtown instead of behind her desk.

"I'm like, 'Oh, I have to hurry up and go to the park for my break and walk around and catch a Pokémon!'" Trautman said.

Walking through the streets of downtown Boise for a matter of minutes will reveal dozens if not hundreds of players roaming the streets with their smartphones in hand in the quest catch 'em all.

With certain incentives only granted after the player, his physically traveled a certain distance, the game is increasing exercise and encouraging healthy lifestyles.

The new twist on the 90s classic is even getting the stamp of approval from Idaho moms, glad to see their kids separate from their Xbox and get up and moving.

"He is up, he is asking to go outside and play, and what mom says no to that?" Nicole Askew said.

Askew's seven-year-old son and husband alike both discovered a love of the new game and now play as a family.

"It's getting us up and out of the house when we would normally be spending our summer break inside," she said.

For a game that thrives by you hiding behind your smartphone, it's surprisingly social as Pokémon players need to explore the real world to catch the creatures.

"It's like this nerdy game but it's a lot of fun! You can go run into random people and just say hey are you playing? There's a Pikachu over there do you want to go catch it?" Lieggi said.

"We have run into so many strangers just today yelling out what team they are on, people are pointing and saying hey go get that one that's over there!" Askew said.

While the game gets "trainers" walking, players say they're discovering new things in their own neighborhoods they never knew existed until now.

"You start to see things and go oh my gosh I never stopped to look at this before and I didn't know this was in my city," Trautman said.