Northern Ireland news

Orange Hall and INLA mural among Pokémon Go locations

Brendan Hughes
11 July, 2016 13:33

AN Orange Hall and an INLA mural are among the locations people are being encouraged to visit in hit new smartphone game Pokémon Go.

Pokémon Go requires users to try to catch popular characters like Pikachu at real-world locations using your phone camera.

Millions have already downloaded the game, which last week debuted at the top of gaming charts in the US and will soon be released in Japan.

It is not yet available in Ireland or Britain, but some mobile phone users have found a workaround by changing the region of their device to the US or Australia.

And already users in the north have discovered some of the unexpected locations that crop up in-game.

One gamer found that Ballynafeigh Orange Hall in south Belfast came up as a location to collect pokéballs, the items used to catch Pokémon.

Another discovered that registered as a 'pokéstop' was a mural on Bishop Street in Derry of INLA man and hunger striker Patsy O'Hara.

The app uses augmented reality where the Pokémon characters are shown in real-life locations through your smartphone's camera.

Locations used in the game are supposed to be linked to local landmarks.

However, developer Niantic imported these from an earlier game, Ingress, where many locations were created and tagged by players.

It has led to players finding a range of unexpected places tagged as in-game locations, from a strip club to a scientology building.

The discovery of the Orange hall location led to bemused conversation online ahead of the Twelfth of July.

One gamer wrote on Facebook: "Apparently I've to bring my Charmander round to help light the bonnie," in reference to the popular fire-type Pokémon.

Shares in Japanese gaming company Nintendo jumped by nearly a quarter on Monday following the rapid success of Pokémon Go.

The game was downloaded onto more US Android smartphones than the dating application Tinder within a day of its launch, according to data from Similar Web.

It has already generated global headlines, from armed robbers using it to lure gamers into a trap to a person discovering a dead body in a river while searching for a Pokémon.

The Pokémon franchise first gained popularity due to the original games released in the 1990s for the Nintendo handheld console Game Boy.

11 July, 2016 13:33 Northern Ireland news