A 14-year-old Pokemon video game champion from Stony Brook says he is “surprised” by how popular the new Pokemon Go smartphone app is, and that he thinks the craze is so widespread among kids because it appeals to their “sense of adventure” about capturing Pokemon “in the wild.”
“You’re going off to catch Pokemon in different places in your town,” says Mihrab Samad of the app that has users venturing outdoors to seek the colorful, animated Pokemon creatures with names such as Goldeen and Starmie.
He says he thinks Pokemon Go appeals to young adults because of the nostalgia — Pokemon was first popular in the United States in the 1990s, when they were kids.
Mihrab, a rising sophomore at Ward Melville High School, earlier this month placed second in his age division for playing the Pokemon video game on a Nintendo 3DS at the U.S. National Championships in Columbus, Ohio. He’ll be heading to the 2016 World Championships in San Francisco in August.
While Mihrab spends about four hours a day playing Pokemon on a gaming device, he has ventured outside to play Pokemon Go himself, capturing about 50 creatures so far at places such as the Stony Brook University campus and Port Jefferson village.
Mihrab got interested in Pokemon in 2014. He’d been playing competitive soccer, was injured and needed hip replacement. He transferred his competitive spirit to playing the Pokemon video game. “The game really helped see him through it emotionally,” says his mom, Sabrina Chowdhury.