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Pokemon ‘No’ at S.C. State House as pokestops disappear

A tour through Gamecock country with Pokemon Go

Ben Breiner, staff writer at The State Newspaper, takes us on a tour through Williams-Brice Stadium, The State House and other Gamecock spots with the new Pokemon Go game.
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Ben Breiner, staff writer at The State Newspaper, takes us on a tour through Williams-Brice Stadium, The State House and other Gamecock spots with the new Pokemon Go game.

South Carolina’s State House has gone from Pokemon Go to Pokemon No.

Users of the popular Pokemon Go virtual reality game are upset the game’s “pokestops” appear to have been removed from the S.C. State House’s grounds, forcing players to hunt Pikachu and Jigglypuff elsewhere.

The State House gained a reputation as a Pokemon Go hot spot after the game was launched earlier this month. As recently as last Saturday, a “Pokemon Go Walk” around the State House was organized on Facebook.

Lindsay Haile said she found several pokestops at the State House while playing there Thursday night.

“Then, today, my friend’s brother came busting in, saying all the pokestops were gone,” Haile said.

When Haile went to the State House to check out the disappearance, around a dozen pokestops she previously had found on the grounds were gone, along with a gym where players competed against each other.

James Posey Jr., who works near the State House and often walked its grounds at lunch, playing the game, said he was able to find only one pokestop Friday, near the Women of the Confederacy memorial. He said he was disappointed someone apparently had the pokestops removed, adding they had become a popular spot to congregate.

“It’s rare to have people from so many different races and cultures coming together without alcohol being involved,” he said.

The S.C. Department of Administration and state Department of Public Safety said Friday they had not requested the game’s developer remove the pokestops.

An attempt to get comment from Niantic, the developer, was unsuccessful Friday.

However, Niantic has removed pokestops from other locations after property owners complained Pokemon Go players were trespassing or the location was deemed inappropriate. For example, one pokestop led players to collect Pokemon at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

Haile said other downtown pokestops remain in place, adding Pokemon still could be located at the State House. But without pokestops – where players can load up on pokeballs and set “lures” to attract the digital creatures – the State House might no longer be the hangout for players it once was.

“It’s very irritating if somebody was bothered by it,” Haile said. “If it brings people to your State House, just let it happen.”

Friday afternoon, SC Governor Nikki Haley tweeted asking for any restrictions to be lifted.

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