KURE BEACH – Over 300 people of all ages visited the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher on Wednesday evening with the same quest: to try and “catch ’em all.”
Armed with phones and tablets, as well as extra battery chargers, aspiring Pokemon GO trainers roamed the aquarium grounds looking for the cartoon creatures made popular in the 1990s by a Japanese television show.
According to William Wesson, a self-described “extroverted nerd” who brought two different phones to play on and who has spent time researching how the mobile game works, “water-type” Pokemon were most prevalent.
“They base it on your geographic surroundings, so since we’re near the water, there tend to be more water Pokemon, such as Squirtles, Psyducks, Staryus and Tentacools,” Wesson said, naming characters based on turtles, ducks, starfish and jellyfish. “The type of Pokemon that are popular changes depending on where you are, and those are what’s popular here.”
Some of Wesson’s friends, all of whom are part of a gaming group that meets at Cape Fear Games, wore shirts that said, “Team Mystic” on them, in reference to one of the three teams players can join in order to “battle” other Pokemon trainers. People wearing “Team Valor” (another one of the teams) shirts and other Pokemon-related attire were seen wandering around.
The NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher also added educational elements, bringing out animals for people to learn about and relating them to Pokemon. The aquarium, which dropped “lures” in order to bring in more Pokemon during Wednesday’s two-hour event, is home to eight Pokestops (where players can pick up free items) and a gym where players can battle and level up.