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The Pokémon hunters were out in full force this weekend — scanning parks, city streets, shopping centers and other landmarks for the elusive creatures with names like Oddish, Venonat, Staryu and Vulpix.

Pokemon Go fans show up in cosplay in Bellevue
Pokemon Go fans in cosplay in Bellevue. Photo by Alysse Bryson.

In my own family, the craze hit epic proportions with my son demanding nearly every second to play the addictive augmented reality game. At one point, while playing in a soccer tournament, he yelled to me on the sidelines, asking if I’d caught any new Pokémon. (I had just caught a Pidgey).

Later, I asked him if he could go one minute without mentioning Pokémon Go, a presumably simple task that he could not accomplish. Shortly thereafter, my wife uttered under her breath: “I hate Pokémon Go.”

Perhaps one of the craziest scenes occurred in Bellevue where hundreds of Pokémon Go players descended on the Downtown Park throughout the weekend.

One of those in attendance was GeekWire senior sales geek — and Pokémon Go fanatic — Alysse Bryson who participated in the Pokémon hunting with her 19 year-old son. Her descriptions of the scene (see below) put the Pokémon phenomenon in full perspective. (Also, check out the video above, captured by MarkTube).

Pokemon Go players took over Bellevue City park this weekend
Pokemon Go players took over Bellevue Downtown Park this past weekend. Photo: Alysse Bryson.

Here’s the description of the wild scene from Bryson:

On our first trip of the weekend out, we arrived at the downtown Bellevue park. There were hundreds and hundreds of teenagers roaming the park in packs, with the glow from their phones serving as (the) only light. I had my phone out and ready to go.

I was currently at a level four and I really wanted to get to a five so I could choose a gym. (Go Team Red.) You could hear a soft hum of people talking quietly to each other. And, then out of nowhere, someone  — usually far off — would yell “Squirtle” and masses of teenagers would go running to catch it. We stayed about 45 minutes and I made it to level six and caught the following: Squirtle, Psyduck, Goldeen, Tauros, Onix, Clefairy, and the biggest deal of the night, a Kabuto.

I will say the funniest part of the night was when the sprinklers came on and teens scattered in all directions. My son did point out one woman who was clearly older than me so I wouldn’t feel like the oldest person there. I also noticed a set of parents sitting on a bench, but outside of that it was pretty much all teenagers and young adults.

The next day Alysse returned to the Bellevue park with her son and two younger friends, armed with battery packs, chargers and water bottles.

Seeing it in the daylight was a totally different experience…. Lots of families and strollers walking the outer edge sidewalk that circles the park. I also noticed there were a lot of people there in cosplay, which I don’t think ever really needs to have a reason. On this trip out I made it to a level eight plus collected a Haunter, Gastly, Staryu, Tentacruel and a few duplicates of things I already had.

I learned how to give things to the Professor and to incubate several eggs. In the end, seeing loads of people in the park on a sunny Saturday afternoon yelling things like “Squirtle” and running to all sides of the park doesn’t really seem like a bad thing. Kids being social and moving around, not just planted in front of a screen, not moving. I’m willing to bet multiple people have fallen or nearly fallen into the water river foundation that runs through part of the park. (I say this from personal experience, ahem) Go Team Red!

Nintendo, whose U.S. arm is located in Redmond, should be loving all of this new attention. But, as GeekWire reporter Nat Levy reports this morning, things aren’t as sunny as you’d imagine. See story: Nintendo stock fizzles after company cites limited financial benefit from Pokémon Go

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