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FEATURE: Pokemon Go! still going strong in Stourbridge and Kidderminster

Dozens of Pokemon Go! players descended on Stourbridge’s Mary Stevens Park to hunt elusive digital creatures as part of a worldwide community day.

The legendary smartphone game, launched two years ago to huge fanfare and quickly becoming one of the most downloaded mobile apps in history, continues to entertain hundreds of local players daily.

Earlier this year around 200 regular players from Stourbridge and Kidderminster joined forces to celebrate the worldwide release of rare Pokemon. Together they spent three hours circling the park to hunt down rare “shiny” versions of the elusive ‘dratini’, a lizard-like Pokemon monster.

Stew Evans, from Wollaston, co-organised the gathering. He’s an admin for a closed Facebook group of around 400 players in Stourbridge.

“There’s nothing negative about it. I have made friends of all ages, we meet up regularly, join in raids on gyms around the town. There’s an element of the game where you have to walk a distance to hatch eggs for new Pokemon so it’s great exercise.

“For me and lots of players it’s about nostalgia, going back to the original Pokemon games and cards.”

Paula Sutton, a player from Kidderminster, said it was a wonderful event and a great chance to meet up with other enthusiasts. “We regularly chat online but this was an opportunity to get to know other players from a bit further afield and spend a lovely morning together.”

View this short video from the event:

Oscar Haynes, aged 12, from Kidderminster, was one of the younger players at the event. He has returned to the game recently after taking a break, encouraged by his dad Richard.

Speaking at the event, Oscar said: “It’s really good fun. I’ve caught three shiny dratinis – they were all quite weak but I’ve evolved the strongest one into a green dragon.”

Top rated player Angie Basterfield, who’s achieved the highest level 40, has been playing for 18 months. “I’m not your typical Pokemon Go player. I’m 55, I’ve got grown up children, grandchildren, and a full time job.

“I joined up with my children and my then 11 year old grandson – they all stopped playing and I just carried on. I love the social side of it, I’ve got new friends of all ages, I walk miles, and I just love it.”

Angie baked a wonderful communal cake for the event, while also designing some gorgeous dratini themed cupcakes.

According to Pokemon Go research, around four of five users who signed up to the mobile game in 2016 have since given up trying to “catch ’em all.”

Developer Niantic has kept loyal players hooked through a series of new features and by introducing new monsters and community events.

Both Stourbridge and Kidderminster have strong communal groups, many of them belonging to elite groups who enjoy a faux rivalry, taking control of gyms by working together in teams.

If all of this is doubledutch to you, then visit the Pokemon Go website, where you’ll find a series of tutorials about the game and information about community events.

In this short youtube video, learn how to catch wild pokemon:


Check out your local Facebook groups, which you will find by searching for Pokemon Go and your town name. All welcome new members.

Learn the lingo – Click here to learn what a gym battle is, how to get a curveball bonus, what to do if a Pokemon faints and why a golden razz berry can seduce even the most powerful Pokemon!



Jane Haynes
Former newspaper journalist and news editor, turned public sector PR, now studying for a Master's in multiplatform journalism. Wyrelife is a new, local investigative news website for Kidderminster, Bewdley, Stourport and Wyre Forest. My aim is to hold people and organisations to account to try to make my little bit of England a better informed, better place.