Sitting in the parking lot at McDonough Park at dusk, my husband has taken off over the hill toward the pond. I’ve locked myself in the car because it’s creepy and dark outside, plus the heels I’m wearing from our date are not appropriate to walk around in. A white hot rage fills me as I stare at my phone. It isn’t working. The obnoxious Wartortle will not stay in the Poké Ball. I have yet to capture a Wartortle and this encounter has become personal. My husband comes running back up the hill, also in dress clothes, and demands we move the car because the Hitmonlee ran away.

Pokémon Go has overtaken the Mid-Ohio Valley. Those who played the game when they were young, and people with a competitive streak and no Pokémon experience (that would be me) alike are loving the game. On any given evening, the Parkersburg City Park is overflowing with people walking around searching for Pokémon (that place is Magmar City, in case you were curious) and Front Street in Marietta is a hot bed for Poké Stops. Aside from festivals in the parks, this is the most activity some of these places have seen in years.

Pokémon Go quickly eclipsed Tinder in users and downloads within the first week with 5.16% of Android users using Pokémon Go and only 2% using Tinder. However, the real shock came when it passed Twitter for daily users. On average, mobile device users are spending more time catching Pokémon than snapping and tweeting – possibly engaging with people more than ever before. According to a survey on Forbes, Pokémon Go is changing the way people work and socialize. Respondents claim that they have bonded with coworkers and now have shared lunch breaks to catch Pokémon.

Businesses across the United States are capitalizing on the phenomenon. In the Mid-Ohio Valley, several businesses are encouraging patrons to play the game. Silver Linings in Marietta is offering various Pokémon Go specials that involve taking a screen shot of the Pokémon in the store. Players were treated to discounts and lures for playing a game they love. The Marietta Brewing Company is another local business who supports the game. They are located in a unique place that allows patrons to reach two different Poké Stops while eating or enjoying the local brews. Additionally, they have been known to drop lures and treat their customers.

One of the benefits of Pokémon Go is the physical aspect of the game. To hatch eggs, players must meet certain distance goals. Sure, there are hacks to get around this, but there is something gratifying about walking until something hatches. Consider pairing Pokémon Go with another app like Charity Miles or Woof Trax. Charity Miles allows runners and walkers to earn money for various charities by just logging in and carrying their phones during their walk. Woof Trax works in the same manner, but it benefits shelters across the United States.

The Mid-Ohio Valley has some great places to walk, raise money and hatch those eggs. According to players in Marietta, the river front, Front Street and Harmar Village are great places to find Pokémon. With the river, there are more water type Pokémon available on the river. This is also the case for Point Park in Parkersburg – players are finding Magikarp and Goldeen more frequently here. While at Point Park, Market Street is a must stop. There are several gyms and Poké Stops down the street and all within walking distance.

And, if you too are looking for the elusive Hitmonlee, try out McDonough Park. I hope you have better luck and less stress. In the meantime, I’ll be camped out looking for that Wartortle. Happy Catching!