Downtown Tempe burst to the seams on Friday, July 15 when fans of the new app "Pokemon Go" came out in full force to catch the pocket monsters and meet new people.
Critical Threat Comics & Games hosted a singles night for fans of the new game. About 1,700 people gave notice they would be in attendance in the event's Facebook page, and about 100 people were there to start the first walk of the night up Mill Avenue.
Ace Campbell, the event organizer, said she started a Facebook page for the night earlier in the week and invited 12 friends. By the time they invited friends, who also invited friends, the group had grown to over 5,000 invites, she said.
Campbell said she saw clusters of people forming on Mill Avenue throughout the week playing the new game, and thought it would be a good way to foster new relationships.
"It would be a great way to meet singles and connect that way," she said. "I am so excited there's so many people participating."
Campbell said it was the largest "Pokemon Go" event she had seen on Facebook.
The walk started at 7 p.m. on Forest Avenue and University Drive. Participants walked up Mill Avenue to Tempe Beach Park in waves until 2 a.m.
Participant Micah Selfridge said the game is a great way to meet people and get some exercise for the day.
"I'm just trying to find someone," he said. "It gets me out of the house."
Exercise was a common theme of the night — the path from the comic book store to Tempe Town Lake was an even mile there and an even mile back. Participants who stayed for more than one wave of the walk ended up walking several miles.
Participant Erik Vallejo said playing the game makes exercising more fun than going to the gym or going out for a run.
"I just want to get out of the house," he said.
While many came to meet a special someone, others came to the event just to socialize and catch new Pokemon.
ASU psychology sophomore Jesus Romero came out to socialize with the other participants and catch new Pokemon.
Coming together with other fans of the game provided a feeling of togetherness, Romero said.
"I think it's pretty cool," he said. "I feel there's like a sense of community here."
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