GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Thousands of Pokémon GO fans are getting ready to 'catch them all' during a mass hunting party in Rosa Parks Circle Friday night.
The new web-based app is sweeping West Michigan, bringing complete strangers together in search of a common goal. Users we spoke to say it's a great way to spend time with friends while making new ones in the city.
"Folks just start to hang out and share, and connect in ways that we don't usually do," said Pokémon Go fan, Alex Beecroft. "Folks are usually shy, introverted types of people and this gets us out around town meeting strangers you never would."
Anyone with a smartphone can play. Pokémon Go uses Google Maps as you wander through the streets of any city catching imaginary exotic animals called Pokémon. It's a take-off from the popular 90's card game that's still around today. It's an augmented reality game where the characters immerse themselves into your world, popping into view right on your cell phone. The object of the game is to collect as many Pokémon as you can while receiving medals and achievements as you walk throughout the city. And the heavy foot traffic is catching the eye of local businesses, some even giving discounts to those who play the game.
"Definitely, I was here all day yesterday and had at least 20-25 people come in because of our sign, and they made sure to inform me that's why they came in," Jon Merritt said, manager of City Sen Lounge.
The Downtown GR Late Night Pokémon Hunt is scheduled for Friday, July 15th at 10:30 p.m. Thousands of people are expected to flock Rosa Parks Circle for the massive public gathering.