How Pokemon GO caught Fraser Coast’s imagination
NIANTIC Labs' Pokemon GO has finally allowed the Ash and Mistys of the world to live in a Pokemon world.
The game, which allows regular people to catch 'em all, dropped late last week, and has quickly become one of the world's most popular apps.
While Pokemon was best known in the late 1990s as Game Boy games Red, Blue and Yellow, and an accompanying TV show, the launch of the augmented reality masterpiece has given Fraser Coast fans the chance to live out long-held dreams.
For Nikenbah mum Kristy Burckhardt, it is an opportunity to pass the love she had for Pokemon to her kids Ethan and Nate.
"I just went onto the app out curiosity, but once I got the gist of it the kids have been involved too. We had a chat about it and it's taken on from there," she said.
"It's pretty cool."
Up to 40 people set themselves up at the roundabout near Wetside Water Park on Sunday night, and more are expected to converge at the spot again tonight.
The location is home to three Pokestops, where users can replenish their poke ball stocks (which are used to catch Pokemon), and users drop lures which attract various Pokemon to the location for 30 minutes at a time.
A few weeks off from work has allowed Kristy time to fully explore the Fraser Coast with her family, which has included trips to Dayman Park, Urangan Pier and various sections of the Esplanade.
She also started a Facebook page, Pokemon GO - Hervey Bay Trainers Group, which was just shy of 200 members at 5pm.
It is one of several groups on the social networking site, with pages dedicated to Maryborough, Fraser Coast and Wide Bay.
"I made it because there was a Fraser Coast one, a Wide Bay one, and most likely I'm not going to travel to Maryborough or Bargara to catch them, so I made it for people in Hervey Bay to share what they've seen and caught," she said.
"It's getting people off the couch, out walking and in the sun. I think a lot of people are realising how much extra exercise they're doing.
"It's a game but there's also good health benefits as the popularity continues.
"It's getting people talking too. If you're out and about, it's pretty obvious they're looking for Pokemon and you say hello, see how they're going and what they've caught."