Screenshots from the Pokemon Go cellphone game. The first three were taken in Hope's Memorial Park.

Pokemon Go fever grips Hope

The free cellphone game comes to town and players of all ages are playing it.

A Volkswagen minivan cruises through the downtown last Friday evening. As its driver goes from street to street, its passenger intently stares into her cell phone.

A group of teenage boys and girls cycle and skateboard through the downtown. They too are on their cell phones roaming street by street.

A 50-year-old man walks by Memorial Park, seeing the teenagers.

“Are you playing Pokémon too?” he asks.

Welcome to Pokémon Go, the new craze gripping Hope.

The free cellphone game, which requires players to roam around town in order to catch and battle virtual creatures, has gripped residents of Hope, transcending age, race and gender.

“I’m a Reddit user, and I saw a bunch of posts for this Pokémon Go game,” said Ferdinand Alcos, the 50-year-old Hope resident. “I thought it was just a handheld game and a stupid fad.”

At his age, Alcos admits he felt out of place playing the game, but he thoroughly enjoys it.

“I kept seeing that people were walking around the streets with it, so I had to look it up,” said Alcos. “It’s something new. It’s the kid in me.”

Alcos has never had an interest in Pokémon in his life, until now.

“My kids watched it, so I’m only familiar with the name Pikachu,” he said. “But I like this idea and it’s addictive.”

Read the full story in the July 21 edition of The Hope Standard.