With warmer weather approaching, you might be wondering whether you should get your phone out to play some Pokémon Go on campus. It’s about time you should. Pokémon Go, developed by mobile game company Niantic in partnership with Nintendo, debuted back in 2016. In its first year, the game broke five world records, including the most downloaded mobile game, with over 130 million downloads. 

After its initial popularity died down, a smaller community of devoted players remained, catching and battling Pokémon to this day. Niantic has continued to support the game’s fans with additional features and new species of Pokémon to discover. Aside from catching Pokémon, hatching them from eggs, battling at Pokémon gyms and visiting PokéStops for items, players can now battle each other, trade Pokémon and fight legendary Pokémon in raid battles. Stony Brook’s campus allows players to catch ‘em all and get to a higher level in a faster amount of time if they grind it out. 

For Jessica Graham, a Stony Brook student and Pokémon Go player, the game got boring soon after its initial wave of popularity in 2016. 

“Summer was over and I wasn’t motivated to play it too much anymore since I was 15 with no car or way to get around to enhance game play,” Graham said. 

When she got to campus, however, she couldn’t stop playing. 

“Since mid-July, I’ve been playing nonstop,” Graham said. “I play because it’s a great way to connect to friends and stay physically active. I play all around campus all the time, but my favorite spot is in the library because you get to hit so many stops at once.” She recently joined Stony Brook’s Pokémon Go Discord server, where players can communicate about new discoveries, coordinate to complete raid battles and recruit new trainers. 

Giovanny Guayara, known as GiodudeNY in the game, is now a level 49 player. He had a similar experience, dropping the game after 2016 and revisiting it in 2018, when he said “the game started blowing up again.” As he started playing at Stony Brook, he said it brought new life into the game, merging the physical community on campus with the virtual community of players. 

“I noticed a lot of people playing, doing raids at nearby Pokémon gyms,” he said. “I made a ton of friends that semester, friends that I still talk to today.” 

Shivani Shastri, who plays on campus, said that she plays “around Roth, or near the SAC or Jasmine.” 

Main campus is definitely the best place to play because of the high number of Pokémon that appear. Playing on campus can also help you gain XP quicker. 

“Playing on campus helped me level up my trainer level very quickly,” Guayara said. “The campus has 30-plus gyms, many Pokéstops and the spawns are great around the SAC.”

In the beginning of your trainer journey, you have to choose to become a part of Team Valor, Team Mystic or Team Instinct, three groups that fight for control over gyms around the world.

 From there, you choose your Pokémon starter — Bulbasaur, Charmander or Squirtle. This immediately brings back nostalgia for veteran players, who picked from these same three Pokémon in the very first games on the GameBoy. Many 90s kids watched the Pokémon anime series growing up; seeing Jessie, James, Meowth and Wobbuffet get thrown into the sky, yelling “Team Rocket’s blasting off again!” Now, with Pokémon Go’s augmented reality features, people can see the Pokémon they’ve watched on television or trained on their DS in the palms of their hands. 

So whether you’re into catching cute Pokémon or battling raid bosses for cool legendary Pokémon, Stony Brook’s campus is definitely a great place to start playing, or to jump back into it. You’ll be able to catch a lot, and you’ll also have the opportunity to make new friends that can help you with your Pokémon journey. 

Without further ado, here are some places to check out to play while you’re here! 

The Staller Center

Here, a bunch of Pokémon will huddle around you while you play. When you’re closer to the Staller building or between Staller and Starbucks at the library, you will see that your character might be bouncing around, but don’t worry, it’s your avatar walking so you don’t have to walk as much to hatch your eggs. This is because there’s a weaker connection when you’re around the library and your GPS location will still start to wander. 

There is one gym at Staller and two by the Humanities Building, so if you’re planning on fighting in raid battles, that’s a great place to start. 

The Student Activities Center

The Student Activities Center also has a bunch of Pokémon roaming around. There’s a couple Pokéstops around here as well, so you can stock up on Pokéballs and gifts while you’re here. 

Yang Hall

Around West Side Dining, there are three Pokémon gyms: one at GLS, one at Lauterbur and one right behind West Side Dining. There are also a bunch of Pokéstops so you can stock up on Pokéballs and gifts here as well. 

Tabler Quad

The circular path around the quad has a bunch of Pokémon if you’re catching. In addition, there is one gym and a couple Pokéstops for you to spin.

Those are a few tips for playing at Stony Brook. I hope you guys and gals have a great time playing on campus! Be sure to stay safe! 


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