As the online saying goes, “if it exists, there’s a subreddit for it.” PokemonGo is no exception.
The mobile game has captured the hearts, minds, and precious time of longtime fans and the general public alike. PokemonGo’s community on the popular message board site Reddit is 793,778 strong, and is brimming with tips, tricks, fan art, and friendly rivalry.
More specifically, there’s a PokemonGo “subreddit”, or a designated community and posting space within the site, specifically for the Washington D.C. region. /r/PokemonGo_DC is a microcosm of the bigger PokemonGo subreddit, and is tailored towards players in the greater D.C. area. Thread topics include the best places to go Pokemon hunting, scheduling in-real-life meetups, and where different Pokemon “nests” are.
The subreddit, moderated by Reddit user /u/QualitySteak of Columbia Heights (Team Instinct), /u/musicmastermsh of Riggs Park (Team Mystic), and Ajjaxx of Chinatown (Team Mystic), is 2,754 members strong and continues to grow.
Josh, one of the moderators, says that the PokemonGo online community started booming with a subreddit called /r/TheSilphRoad, which is still widely popular today.
“There were a whole series of (subreddits) that popped up when the game was first announced before release. /r/TheSilphRoad was originally created as a trading network when Pokemon trading was thought to be an in-game feature. It ended up not being a feature, but the community still survived. The regular Washington D.C. subreddit started being populated with PokemonGo-related posts, so I helped create the /r/SilphRoadDC subreddit, and decided to join forces with the guy who created /r/PokemonGo_DC, and that’s how the sub came to be!”
While Josh is a moderator, he says that much of the community is “largely self-organized,” and has no problems organizing successful meet-ups – even in inclement weather.
Even though the sub is close-knit, the community sticks to its true Washington nature by drawing party lines and participating in cut-throat competition.
“About 40 percent of the D.C. community is Mystic, and about 35 percent is Valor, I’d say. The rest are Instinct. In all honesty, every gym downtown is pretty insane,” said Josh. “You’re lucky if you get to hold onto it for 10 minutes – in-between the time you’re placing your Pokemon in the gym, the gym has been taken by another team. Gym sniping is so common, it’s almost not even worth it. Because of the location, the Washington Monument is the most popular gym I’d say, and the MLK Memorial gym is the biggest and best gym.”
Despite “partisan” divide, there seems to be an overall consensus of the best hunting grounds.
“The FDR Memorial is the best place for 100 miles. That place has close to the entire Pokedex,” said Josh. “There’s good stuff on the Mall, the Reflecting Pool, the Tidal Basin and even the MLK Memorial. But FDR is awesome, honestly. Everything is there. There’s no ‘adventure’ to it – just go to FDR.”
Despite the competitive nature of the game, Josh said that the community that transcends both the real and online worlds is the most rewarding part for him and other users.
“A couple of weeks right after release, I was in Atlantic City walking around boardwalk, and more than half the people there were playing PokemonGo and were being just as dorky as I was being,” Josh said. “It’s the first time in a long time that I felt like I was a part of a big cultural phenomenon. I think that’s the best part.”