Youth get spiritual call as temples turn Poke Spots

Published: 15th July 2016 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th July 2016 10:01 AM   |  A+A-

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Youngsters using Pokemon App in front of Parthasarathy temple. (R Satish Babu | EPS)

CHENNAI: Prayers and Pokemon Go are words rarely uttered in the same sentence. But in Chennai, the game may be encouraging youngsters to be more spiritual!

Twenty five-year-old Balaji Jagannathan hasn’t been to a temple in two years. But the IT professional said with a laugh, “I’ve visited 15 of them in the past two days, all in an effort to up my level in the game!”

For those new to the Pokemania that has taken over the world – the app uses the GPS on your phone to clock and decide which Pokemon (or pocket monsters) appear in the game. Even though the game has not been officially launched in India, enthusiastic players have begun downloading the app from various sources on the Internet.

Using real world locations or ‘Poke Spots,’ the objective of the game is to lure and catch as many Pokemon that you can find. That’s where high traffic areas like temples and churches come in – although just to be clear, these virtual creatures can be lured to the entrance so those praying inside won’t be disturbed.

Some of the places of worship that double up as Poke Spots as part of this augmented reality game include Kapaleeswarar temple in Mylapore and Munishwara temple in Nungambakkam. Even idols and statues are Poke Spots. Shilpa Natarajan recalled from her most recent jaunt, “I had never noticed the Lankan elephant statue at the Savera Hotel parking lot until it became a Poke Spot.”

Interestingly the characters are also dressed the part. So if you’re playing by Marina Beach – a squid or sea horse type might appear, whereas if you are driving by Anna Nagar Tower Park it’s more likely you’ll spot bugs and grasshoppers.

Yes, the entire city is wired in augmented reality. Play it to believe it. And of course, it doesn’t stop there. Once you as the ‘human trainer’ capture enough of these monsters, you get to battle other players in spaces known as ‘gyms.’

Guess where these are located on the map: colleges, railway stations and performance venues. That’s means a virtual battle anywhere from Chennai Central to Music Academy!

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