Pokemon Go mania engulfs Turkish capital
Mesut Yılmaz – ANKARAThe phenomenon of Pokemon Go, a location-based augmented reality mobile game, has finally engulfed Turkey, with hundreds of gamers gathering outside to capture, train and battle pokemons.
Groups of Pokemon fans in the capital Ankara began to contact each other on social media upon the game’s release and came together in the city’s central Güvenpark, collectively playing the game for hours every day.
The game is not yet officially available for download in Turkey but eager fans have been able to download it by connecting to other countries.
The number of gamers multiplies after work, as Pokemon fans can be seen walking streets around the city searching for pokemons.
As elsewhere, there have been reports of players even having accidents – falling over or walking into lampposts - due to focusing too much on the game.
Ali Kemal Ustali, a gamer who works at a hotel in the central Kızılay district of Ankara, said the game “lent color to life and helped make new friends.”
“Everyone who plays is so happy. It is a really nice feeling. It is important to be together in crowds because there are three groups: Blues, reds and yellows. So the more people there are, the easier it is to catch pokemons,” Ustali said.
“The game also lends color to life as a social activity. There are lots of people making friends. I have been here for three days and have met many new friends,” he added.
Some Turkish Pokemon fans have said their most important problem was their lack of phone battery, and there have been demands for the municipality to build public charging stations inside the park.
“I have been here for just two hours and 55 percent of my battery has run out. If we had an opportunity to charge our phones we would continue to play the game at night,” one gamer said.
One youth center in the neighboring province of Eşkişehir has started serving free tea and water to locals who drop by while searching for pokemons.
The Tepebaşı Municipality Youth Center posted a notice on its Twitter account, calling on Pokemon Go fans to come for free service.
“Pokemon Go mania has also engulfed our youth center. We have water and tea service for ‘Ash Ketchums’ who are tired while searching for pokemons. We also have a pokestop very close to us, so you can get a free pokeball along with a free tea every 10 minutes. We also have incense to help you easily catch pokemons if enough trainers come together,” the youth center tweeted.
Pokemon Go has become a global phenomenon since its release in the United States last week. It was the most downloaded smartphone app in the U.S. in its first three days of release, increasing Nintendo’s stock value up to nearly 60 percent in just four sessions as of July 12 despite not yet being released in Japan.
Developed by Niantic, a company founded as an internal startup at Google, the free mobile app game uses satellite location, graphics and camera to overlay cartoon monsters on real world settings, challenging players to capture and train the creatures for battles.