By Junno Arocho Esteves
A Pokemon Go avatar in St. Peter’s Square.
ROME — Pokemon Go, the location-based augmented reality game based on the popular animated cartoon, has swept across the United States and has made it here to Italy.
The most coveted Pokestop in Vatican City, however, is the least accessible one: the window of the papal apartment where Pope Francis delivers his Sunday Angelus address.
Using a mobile phone’s GPS and camera, players can catch and train virtual Pokemon as well as battle with other players at designated areas called Pokegyms.
As players walk around, they can reach designated areas in the maps called Pokestops where they can pick items, such as Pokeballs, unhatched Pokemon eggs, and other goodies.
The window of the papal apartments is one of the many Pokestops in Vatican City.
Given my schedule, I’m not one to indulge in mobile games as often as I’d like, and maybe it’s for the better since I get hooked so easily. But after seeing all the fuss online, I decided to give it try. And yes, I got hooked.
I found myself walking aimlessly through the streets of Rome stopping every so often at a Pokestop or trying to catch a rogue Pokemon for my collection.
A walk from the office to St. Peter’s Square takes no more than 2 minutes. With Pokemon Go, it took me about 5 minutes, often times bumping into tourists because I was staring at my phone.
Looking around the square, almost every tourist had a phone; I was looking for any novice Pokemon masters like myself looking for goodies at one of the many Pokestops in St. Peter’s.
One young tourist stares at her mobile phone in St. Peter’s Square. (CNS photo/ Junno Arocho Esteves)
However, going around, discreetly looking at other people’s phones, I noticed they were either texting, snapping selfies in front of the basilica or recording videos of their children scurrying across the square.
Pokemon Go might bring a lot of people back to church, but not in the way one would expect, particularly because some Pokestops are actually churches. While riding a bus near the Vatican, I passed by the Roman parish of St. Peter the Apostle. And yes, it’s a Pokestop.
Nevertheless, I came to the realization that not only was I fully engrossed in the game, I was also alienating myself.
The Roman parish of St. Peter the Apostle is one of many Pokestops in Rome.
I was (Read More)