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Still on the Go – Players in Kuwait continue hunting for Pokemon

Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat
Photos by Yasser Al-Zayyat

Catching ’em all is the goal of any Pokemon Go player, but the wildly popular game app sweeping the world is also causing injuries and accidents. A Senegalese man in his early 20s was injured after falling from the stairs of a building while playing Pokemon Go in Khaitan. The man sustained injuries and was hospitalized. Another player, 28-year-old Anas Abozina, told Kuwait Times how his joy of finding a rare Pokemon led to a car accident. “After I was fed up trying to catch a good monster, I found Vulpix in front of me while driving near Arabella Complex. I hit the brakes by mistake and stopped in the middle of the road, causing the vehicle behind me to ram into my car,” he explained.

As a distraction, however, it’s not as dangerous as people driving and texting or worse, driving and Snapchatting. Few of the diehard Pokemon fans in Kuwait are deterred by the random accidents. “Players in Kuwait will never stop until they catch them all,” Abdullah Amer, a 15-year-old player told Kuwait Times, adding he has reached the max level of 40. Amer said that he was able to catch Pokemon characters by using the Pokevision, Poke Radar and Pokewhere applications. “Those apps helped me a lot to discover the places of rare Pokemon. You’ll not only be able to find locations to look for Pokemon, but can also filter your search so it only displays areas where your Pokemon of choice can be found,” he enthused. But he warned some of these apps do not work anymore since the new Pokemon Go update.

For 32-year-old Miri Gerges, Pokemon Go is an addiction. “I play Pokemon Go a lot with my 10-year- old son inside my home, at restaurants, and while walking by the seaside. But I always run out of balls,” she said. Many religious institutions in Arab countries have issued fatwas against Pokemon Go, but Suhaib Ayad, an avid player, is unperturbed. “It is just a warning, and not a binding edict,” he said. Ayad, 22, said that there is nothing haram about playing a game if the players do not enter mosques or private places.

Talal Al-Sharaa, 16, explained that it is common to find Pokemon near mosques. “The database of the game depends on the most crowded places, as mosques are on Fridays,” he explained. He added that players can catch Pokemon from a distance of five meters without entering a place. Sharaa said his elder sister drives him around Kuwait to catch as many monsters as he can, but he also hunts them on the streets.

Many players agree that the most common places to find Pokemon are mosques and restaurants. “When we were children, they told us that the Pokemon cartoon is haram and we should stop watching it. Now in this game, you find them in mosques!” exclaimed 25-year-old Hamza Farouq. He is a newbie, but he was surprised by the number of Pokemon inside mosques around him in Salmiya that he could catch.

Meanwhile, many players said that this game allows them to communicate with people whom they would’ve had no chance of meeting without playing the game. Nasser Al-Busari, 19, said that he competes with a lot of people and has even met some of them. “In the quest to catch the 66 Pokemon creatures, you have to walk a lot too. I have lost a few kilos in weight, but this is more fun than exercising or dieting,” he added.

By Faten Omar

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