Pokémon GO unites undergrads, alumni

Courtesy of Pokemon Go

Deep in the recesses of the many unique clubs and organizations on campus, there lies an old, forgotten art form: Pokémon GO! Made in 2016, “Pokémon GO” took the world by storm, allowing players to catch Pokémon in real life, trading and battling with nearby trainers. You may have seen their Pokémon-themed tables during club fairs or flyers posted around the school.

The club meets every Wednesday from 6-7 p.m., corresponding with in-game “raid hour” events. These events are one hour battles where a Boss Pokémon takes over a Gym. Gyms are specialized locations around the world that allow players to battle Pokemon from rival teams for control over the Gym.

“Each week hosts a unique Legendary Pokémon that appears as a boss battle in gyms across the maps. The only way to take them down is with teamwork.” said club President Brennan Ratican ’24 via email. “Our meetings always start outside of Watzek, and we will spend the hour walking around campus competing together in the various Gyms we have all over campus.”

Another event that they hold is “Community Day,”  an in-game event that happens on either Saturday or Sunday, consisting of three-hour long catching parties for a specific spotlighted Pokémon and its evolutions. 

“We gift our members with special Community Day tickets, which are in-game quests that boast higher chances of catching top-quality Pokémon. On Community Days, we either spend our meetings walking around campus catching Pokémon or we organize carpools down to the PSU Farmer’s Market,” Ratican said.

The organization’s main mode of communication is through their Discord server, which can be accessed through their Instagram page. They currently have over 150 members, including alumni and those abroad, expanding their catching reach all over the world. 

With the recent release of “Pokémon Scarlet and Violet,” two separate video game installments released at the same time, the club is hoping to host more classic game events, such as their launch party last year for the game, where they hosted an event with pizza and played the game. Their most recent event was a player versus player tournament, inspired by the classic card game, where you choose your best Pokémon and battled with your friends for potential prizes. 

Their biggest event of the year is Pokémon Day, celebrated on Feb. 27.

A member since the Fall of 2020, Ratican believes in the social aspects of the club, going on to talk about how many friends he has made in the community, and wanting to continue that legacy after he leaves. 

“Interacting with our club members is so fulfilling — whether it’s trading lucky or shiny Pokémon, battling each other, or just sharing our cool catches, this club turns a game that is typically played in isolation into a community-driven experience that we can enjoy together,” he said.

Ratican also drew attention to the importance of having a club on campus dedicated to Pokémon GO.

“On the surface, it might seem simple — just a group of people playing Pokémon GO,” Ratican said, “but this club is truly a unique experience. It’s difficult to play Pokémon GO on your own, especially because of the costs of in-game experiences. Being on a college campus allows us a lot more freedom to play this game to its true potential. We have easy access to in-game events, and paid experiences often provided by the club. We have built a true community out of this game.”

 As for the rest of the year, their final Community Days will be hosted on April 7 and April 20. 

“We hope to see you there!” Ratican said. 

If you are interested in joining the club, email pokemongo@lclark.edu or follow them @pokemongolc on Instagram, where you can also join their Discord  server for updates and more information. Gotta catch ’em all!

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