Amy Perry, Production/News Assistant Editor
USAG Fort Lee
In the last week, a new augmented reality game for smartphones has flooded social media streams – from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram. Pokémon Go is the talk of the town.
The free game – released July 9 – reportedly has more daily users than Twitter. It involves hunting for the little creatures while walking or driving.
Even on Fort Lee, hunters can find new pets, Pokéstops and Pokémon gyms to progress in their game. Once the application is downloaded for an Android or Apple product, users will see various points of interest to collect items or engage in battles for experience and ownership of a gym.
However, anyone playing this game – or any game that sends them wandering around – should be aware of where they are going and what they are trying to do.
“Playing these types of games can pose a serious safety concern if people aren’t paying attention to their surroundings,” said Maj. Joe Tull, Post Provost Marshal. “Also, it’s against Fort Lee policy to use a phone while driving, even if you’re not talking on it. You can get ticketed for that.”
Additionally, walking around with a phone in the air can appear like someone is taking photographs on the installation, Tull said. Some locations here – like those that support infrastructure, high-risk target locations, key command posts and headquarters buildings, arms and ammunition storage areas, medical facilities, or restricted sites that includes training areas or communications equipment – are off-limits for photography and require pre-authorization for anyone who wants to take a photo.
However, unofficial or personal photography is authorized for residents, personnel and other DOD-identification cardholders at recreational activities and facilities, family housing areas, military billets, official military functions, and events open to the general public. For more information on the Fort Lee photography policy, visit http://www.lee.army.mil/about/policy.letters.aspx.
“If you’re walking around and it seems like you’re taking photos, you may be reported to PMO and an officer may ask for your phone to see if any photos have been taken,” Tull said. “We do get calls when people are seen taking photos of training or restricted areas.”
Tull also said community members should be aware of their actions while playing these games.
“If you’re walking behind the commissary, main exchange or one of the banks, for example, that could look suspicious because people aren’t expected in those areas,” he said. “You may get stopped and questioned in these instances.”
For those who keep in mind these safety and security issues, there are special spots on the installation where people can find Pokémon battles and items to collect. While there are a smattering of Pokéstops scattered around the installation – near the post office, Anzio Annie, the Ordnance Bridge and the railcar on the Ordnance Campus – the best spot to grab several at once is near the Petersburg National Battlefield entrance on Fort Lee and close to the Quartermaster Museum and Army Women’s Museum. There are at least two Pokéstops and one gym near the battlefield and nine Pokéstops and a gym near the museums.
Additionally, there are three other gyms scattered around the installation. One is at Memorial Chapel on Sisisky. However, the other two are in locations that are either public infrastructure or a barracks facility, which is limited to Marines in ordnance training. Players should avoid venturing into those areas.
Collected a rare Pokémon? Share it on the Traveller Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ftleetraveller.
Pokéballs are not endless – practice your aim and try not to lose your ability to capture more Pokémon.
Need more Pokéballs? Visit Pokéstops and click on the icon when it turns into a bullseye. Spin the bullseye and you’ll get a variety of items, including Pokéballs, revive potions, incense and experience.
Capturing a Pokémon more than once gives you items to upgrade the creature with – vital if you want to take on a gym held by an opposing team.
Got an egg and you’re not sure what to do? Click on the Pokéball in the bottom center, then on the Pokémon icon. Click out the eggs portion at the top to see what eggs you have waiting to hatch. Click on one to incubate it, and remember, you have to walk to unlock them – just don’t stare at your phone while doing it!