Strange creatures invade the BGS.... by Catherine Pennington

Pokémon invade the BGS
Pokémon Go is the latest craze. Surely everyone must have heard about it by now? It’s in the news and on our streets as people go on the hunt for Pokémon as part of the new augmented reality game that’s taken hold of the nation’s imagination and smart phones.

One lunchtime last week, my colleagues introduced me to this on their phones. It was quite an experience and I found myself spinning a 166-year-old statue of Hercules for Pokéballs, chasing an angry-looking squirrelly-thing behind a building I didn’t even know you could get behind (which actually proved to be quite a lovely patch of garden), and talking Pokémon to a group of teenagers at a football club up the road from the office. Three things I certainly wasn’t expecting to happen that day and I doubt Hercules has had this much attention since the fig leaf incident in 1883. Don’t ask.

Then we were suddenly in ‘a Lure’ and surrounded by confetti and we released pink incense and more Pokémon appeared. It was all tremendously bewildering and I laughed my socks off. Although I could have done without the ratty fellow. He was quite a bitey chap.

Roll up! Roll up! Get your Pokéballs here! The nearest BGS Pokéstops
If you don’t already know how it works, it’s a bit like a cross between Geocaching and Top Trumps. The general idea is that you hunt for Pokémon characters around you on your phone or tablet which uses your GPS and camera. Pokémon can appear in all sorts of places. You then throw balls at them to capture them. Pokémon mean points and points get you up the levels until you can go to the Pokémon Gym and go bananas. There’s probably a lot more to it than that but that’s all I know.

L to R: Pokémon at our Herriot Watt office; our Clive with a worm sporting a party hat; a Fearow on a bench.
There’s been mixed press coverage on the game as people get so engrossed in the augmented reality that they forget the actual one their living in and do silly things like get stranded on an island or walk across a motorway. Luckily, most sensible people seem to be getting out and enjoying themselves.  It’s also good exercise as there’s something to do with distance walked (you can’t cheat and drive it apparently) and the incubation of eggs that hatch into more Pokémon.

L to R: Bitey Ratty Chap after your biscuits; our Wil with an angry bird in the office; Hercules can't believe his eyes 
L to R: Party hat worm in the Geology Shop; a fuzzy thing in our library;
the bitey ratty chap in the office; party hat worm on the Cromer Sheet?!!

L to R: Angry squirelly thing on the Geological Walkway; Surprised crab on the steps outside
the James Hutton Building; An Alfred Hitchcock situation outside the William Smith Building.
There’s the knowing look across a park between groups identifying each other as fellow Pokéhunters and strangers are talking to each other over a common interest which can only be a good thing. People, who wouldn’t ordinarily do so, are coming to visit us in office hours as both the Keyworth and Edinburgh offices have Pokéstops nearby.  Folk are venturing beyond their usual places of interest and discovering pastures new, just like that patch of garden behind the building I had never seen before…