The augmented reality mobile game Pokémon Go took over the world when it was released in July 2016. Since then, thousands in the Chapel Hill area have remained active players, even building a regional community of gamers through a GroupMe chat called POGO UNC.
Jhon Cimmino, a UNC graduate student of physics, said that he has been playing Pokémon Go since it was created. When he moved to Chapel Hill, he was excited to be welcomed into a group of avid and welcoming players. Cimmino said he has played in other Pokémon Go groups in the state, but no other group was as positive and helpful as the Chapel Hill group.
“This community is really unique,” Cimmino said. “I think a lot of it is being in a college town. People come to this type of area because they care about the community, they want to be super social, they want to meet new people.”
The group was started in 2016 when the game was first released, through a Facebook group page that consisted solely of students. Since then, the community of Chapel Hill POGO members has expanded across media platforms and now includes a large network of students, faculty, professors and locals who chat daily and meet frequently to master the game.
“I think the group was created after a certain affinity for the game ... that’s more about Pokémon in general than just (Pokémon) Go,” Zero Eure, one of the group’s administrators, said. “It’s fun to be able to communicate about the game live as it’s happening and nowadays people have the means to do that so easily.”