Leeds hooked on world’s new gaming craze

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You’ve got to catch ’em all. And that’s what thousands of players across Leeds and the region have been out trying to do after the latest gaming craze took the world by storm.

The new Pokémon GO mobile game is part of a Japanese franchise which focuses on an animated world, filled with hundreds of wild cartoon creatures called Pokémon.

Now heritage sites, shopping centres and streets have been swarmed by fans who have been hunting for their favourite creatures using smartphones since its release last week.

The free-to-play augmented reality game lets players catch digital Pokémon characters by finding them using GPS location data on their phones.

Demand for the new game delayed its release in the UK after a server crash.

Its release has revived the craze for Nintendo’s Pokémon franchise, which rose to popularity when millions of people played the first instalment on the Game Boy console in the late 1990s.

And its franchise soon expanded to include a number of sequels, a trading card game, merchandise and movies.

People playing new game can scan their surroundings using mobile devices to try and find Wild Pokémon, before throwing a Pokéball to catch them if they’re lucky.

Many players have already reported catching a haul of rare creatures in West Yorkshire, at designated Pokéstops - where users are directed to find new Pokémon. Mobile cameras on devices act as a special lense, which shows the creatures and lets users hone in on them.

And people have already been posting on social media about their searches for Pokémon across region since the game’s release last week.

Registered Pokéstops include cathedrals, town halls, galleries and sites recognised by civic societies, encouraging people to learn as they play.

Lucy Kate said: “@shaw_mollie just confessed she drove to Brighouse from Illingworth tonight just to try catch some 
Pokemon, she didn’t find any.”

Mr Bearded Bear said: “Just being in Asda and all over Batley and Huddersfield hunting #pokemon”

In Wakefield, Trinity Walk Shopping Centre and The Hepworth Art Gallery both have Pokéstops for people to chance their luck.

And in Leeds, users can take part in a special Pokémon pub crawl gathering, which is being organised on Friday July 29.