Early in July, ’90s kids all over the world rejoiced when the mobile game company Niantic, Inc. partnered up with classic gaming company Nintendo to bring the world of Pokémon to life with the hit mobile app Pokémon GO.
Pokéstops and Gyms are scattered all over SRU, from the swirl statue outside Swope Music Hall to Old Main. At any given time, students can be found prowling campus catching Pokémon, collecting items from Pokéstops and battling at Gyms. Members of one specific group on campus, Gamers’ Guild, are certainly very excited and happy about the augmented reality game.
Junior secondary history education major, President of the Guild and self-proclaimed King of the Nerds John Ferrara said the addition of Pokémon GO into modern culture was a great and beautiful thing, and it has made quite a difference in the gaming community as a whole.
“Everyone always tells you that you have to get out and play for an hour a day,” Ferrara said. “Now, there is something you can actually play, and it’s great.”
Sophomore exercise science major and member of Team Mystic Erica Place agreed, and said it’s very important the game was made, as it’s a great way for gamers to become more social and active.
“When I’m playing Pokémon GO, I feel comfortable going up to other people who are playing and striking up conversation,” Place said. “It’s another fun way to get out and make new friends.”
Place also said that the creation and the consistent popularity of the app reminded her of Gamers’ Guild and her time with the group.
When she first began at Slippery Rock, she discovered the Guild but was afraid to approach them in fear of not knowing enough, or not being welcome. To her pleasant surprise, the Guild welcomed her with open arms, and she now serves as secretary on the executive board.
Current and past members of Gamers’ Guild, including frequent gamer and member of Team Instinct LeMarr Terry, all seem to agree that the Guild has developed into a community or a family.
“It’s a great place where you can just get together, enjoy yourself, and be proud and happy to be a nerd,” Terry said with a smile.
The Guild isn’t all about Pokémon GO, although it plays a big part in outings that the members have outside of their regular weekly meetings. Ferrara said that typically, a group of Guild members will decide to go on a Pokémon hunt at dinner, or while they’re sitting in their rooms.
“At dinner, someone will just say, ‘Hey, who wants to come hunt some Pokémon with me’ and a group will just go out and hunt,” Ferrara said.
Gamers’ Guild members have a wide range of majors, from exercise science to secondary history education to digital media and production. Place said that because of the group, many of her friends don’t share her major, and that’s not a bad thing.
On Wednesday nights, you can find members of the Guild on the second floor of the Smith Student Center, as well as upstairs in some of the meeting rooms, playing Dungeons and Dragons, Settlers of Catan and even Monopoly and The Game Of Life.
“Just look for the large gathering of nerds,” Ferrara said.