The Most: Pokémon Go Sign Countdown!

August 4, 2016- Sara Barton

It’s the mobile app heard around the world as Pokémon Go sky-rockets into a global phenomenon. The game has not only brought joy to the public; it’s increased the shares of Nintendo (even though it’s created by the company Niantic), encouraged fitness, and now local businesses are jumping on the bandwagon.

There are several ways businesses can use Pokémon Go to increase customer traffic. The most popular is checking if your establishments is located near a Gym or Pokéstop then catering to local foot traffic. The second, is to purchase Lure Modules and host a Bar-Crawl/Meet-up. The Village Pourhouse hosts Pokémon Go Parties on Friday nights.

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Yelp has also made it easier for players; by adding a filter that identifies businesses within nearby Pokéstops. (available on the app and Yelp.com)  It’s called “Pokéstop Nearby” and Yelp users can also identify a business in the vicinity of a Pokéstop by checking in to the location and answering a question that will make note of the nearby Pokéstop. (1)

Before July 20, 2016, businesses could apply to become a Pokéstop or Gym. However, due to the overwhelming number of requests, Niantic isn’t currently accepting anymore applications. (2)

Furthermore, in an effort to attract customers Pokémon Go has brought out the artistic side of many local NYC establishments. While this SBR correspondent was testing out the latest tips and hacks; I discovered some very creative restaurant, bar and business signs.

Presenting: [Drum Roll]…

The Most: Pokémon Go Sign Countdown! 

5) The Most: Sarcastic  [Osteria Del Principe, 27 E. 23 St]

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This sign is sarcastic and funny. Whether it was born out of frustration or the staff wanted to crack a joke about this latest trend. All I can say is; I got a good laugh. Yes, Osteria Del Principe does have a good wine selection.

4) The Most: Helpful [Ampersand, 294 E. 3rd Ave]

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If you ever needed help finding a Pokéstop; this sign is it!  It’s direct and to the point. It’s referring to the Pokéstop: TAMA- Tree Planting by Mayor Abraham Beame (located on 23rd & 3rd ave). It’s the 1st of 75 trees that were donated to beautify the community.

The Ampersand is a bar/restaurant located near SVA’s and Baruch’s college campuses. Plus, it’s a short walk from Madison Square Park. Universities and college campuses are popular Pokéstops. These buildings are known to be hot spots for catching certain Pokemon. After following up on a tip, I caught a Vulpix at the Baruch Campus Library Pokéstop.

A few universities have even gotten in on the action. NYU Alumi  posted an article on their website listing its campuses Pokéstops and the university is even hosting Pokétours to attract prospective students.

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If you plan on catching Pokémon around these college campuses; the Ampersand is a nice place to take a break and grab drinks or something to eat.

3) The Most: Witty [Amsterdam Billiards, 110 E. 11st]

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This sign was created by the talented staff at Amsterdam Billiards. Their signs are known to showcase various pop-culture references (ex. Futurama, Garfield, Peanuts, and The Simpsons) making witty banter involving: pool, alcohol and good times. Amsterdam Billiards is located 1/2 block from the Village Pourhouse. It’s a shrewd business strategy, considering that the Village Pourhouse hosts Pokémon Go parties on Fridays. Can you catch the pun?  (Hint: It’s Pokémon’s famous catch phrase.)

2) The Most: Crafty (literally) [Nanoosh, 111 University Place]

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The sign is courtesy of Nanoosh. The restaurant is a great venue from Union Square, NYU, and Washington Square Park, (which each have lures, gyms and several Pokéstop in between.) It’s obvious it was a labor of love. Instead of Pikachu being drawn from chalk, this one is made out of fabric and is an homage to the short film, “Pikachu’s Vacation” (1999).

2) The Most: 可愛い  (Cute) – This one is a tie!
[Milk Bar Chelsea 220 E. 8th Ave] & [Nanoosh 111 University Place]

Milk Bar and Nanoosh both tie for this category. The 1st two signs at are Milk Bar’s new Chelsea location; which isn’t too far from the High-line(a great place to catch grass Pokémon) and is close to the SVA Silas and Beatrice Theater (also a Pokéstop). These signs appeared within a less than 2.5 weeks after the app was released; welcoming tired and hungry Pokémon trainers. The chalk drawings are incredibly adorable and will put a smile on anyone’s face.

1) The Most: Savvy [Spruce, 228 E. 8th Ave]

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Spruce’s sign works on a variety of levels. It’s a florist and gardening shop, hence making Bell-Sprout the perfect mascot. Pokémon Go players know that Grass Pokémon will appear in their natural habits, such as: plants, lush fields, and parks. (I caught two Bulbasaurs’ on the High-line.) The artist did a great job. Bell-Sprout is beautifully drawn. Nevertheless, what makes this sign #1 is, that it doesn’t matter if the owner plans to put a Lure Module or is hinting that their establishment is a place to catch Bell-Sprout’s. It’s simply a clever ode to Pokémon and a comic observation of the cultural impact of Pokémon Go.

 

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Pokémon Go Terminology:

Lure Module:  is a purchasable item that attracts wild Pokémon. It’s attached to a Pokéstop of your choosing (several establishments use these to increase business!). They attract a wide variety and large number of  Pokémon. However, they only work for a limited period of time. 

Pokéstop: provide’s players with free items, such as: Eggs, Poké Balls, Potions and can be equipped with items called lure modules. Pokéstops can include: Universities/Colleges, Famous & Historic Landmarks, Church’s, Parks, Trees, Art Sculptures/Murals, Local Businesses and much more. 

Poké-Gym/Gym: are locations where a player can battle the Pokémon belonging to rival teams. The other purpose of Gyms is to train the player’s own Pokémon by getting into a fight with the Pokémon assigned by other members in the same team.

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Sources: 

(1) http://www.ign.com/articles/2016/07/15/pokemon-go-yelp-now-identifies-businesses-with-nearby-pokestops

(2) http://blog.qsronline.com/how-to-turn-your-restaurant-into-a-pokestop-in-pokemon-go/

 

Kart in the Park hits Washington Sq.

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June 30, 2016- Sara Barton

As journalists it’s our job to chase after a scoop, yet sometimes the stories find us. I was passing through Washington Sq. Park; when I spotted something out of the ordinary. A group of people playing Nintendo’s Mario Kart 64 (N64 version) next to the large fountain near the Washington Sq. Arch.

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Retro video games are making a comeback. The hunger for childhood nostalgia has lead to the creation of bar & arcade chain, Barcade, the low key LES joint, Two-Bits Retro Arcade, Modern Pinball NYC; and the meetup group Retro Game Night NYC (just to name a few). It’s a fitting tribute, since these classic games made their debut in dive bars during the 1970’s.

Retro Game Night NYC, (sponsored by Video Games NY), hosts their events mainly at the East Village’s, Bar None and uses the original gaming systems (N64, Sega Genesis, NES, among a few others). Nevertheless, aside from being alfresco and child-friendly; this set up is ingenious. Mario Kart 64 was broadcast via a projector/film screen, the game is hosted on raspberry pi (a small emulator), which is powered by a cell-phone battery. It’s a light and compact system; talk about mobility!

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Teaching the younger generation

Welcome to Kart in Park, found by Nico Martiny, who simply wanted to spread joy and whimsy. “Who wouldn’t want to play video games outside?”, as he playfully put it. Kart in the Park has hosted 5 events and is planning on expanding to Madison Square Park and Bryant Park. Nico hopes to feature other classic games, such as: the N64’s beloved Super Smash Bros. and The Simpsons Arcade.  

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It’s been 20 years since the N64 was released and video game technology has come a long way. The N64 lacks the fluidity and cruise control of the Nintendo Wii. However, Kart in the Park is about the experience. I played alongside a variety of players and we had a blast. At the end of the night, having fun is what really matters.

Kart in the Park’s schedule can be found on their FB page.