Frogner Park draws Pokémon crowds

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Oslo’s Frogner Park, with its vast collection of sculptures by Norwegian artist Gustav Vigeland, has emerged as a magnet for players of the new mobile phone game Pokémon Go. The park has been full of people walking around with their mobile phones in hand this week, arguably paying more attention to their screens than the statues on display.

The statues in Oslo's Frogner Park may not be getting as much attention as Pokémon figures summer. PHOTO: newsinenglish.no

The statues in Oslo’s Frogner Park may not be getting as much attention as Pokémon figures summer. PHOTO: newsinenglish.no

It’s hard not to notice the Pokémon Go players in the park, despite all the throngs of tourists at this time of year as well. “In the Frogner Park, lots of people also come around 10pm, and those who hold out the longest are often there until around five o’clock in the morning,” Benjamin Joranger Berg, age 16, told newspaper Aftenposten. “Then another contingent takes over, around 8am.”

They’re all trying to capture as many Pokémon figures as they can in a game that blends information about the real world with various virtual effects. Players capture, fight and train the figures showing up on their mobile phone screen, with the use of the phone’s GPS and camera, as if they were found in the real world.

Aftenposten reported that “elite players” Deniz Akkøk, age 23,  and Runar Svendsen, age 27, agree that the waterfront AkerBrygge and Tjuvholmen areas of Oslo are also attracting hordes of Pokémon players, as well as the heart of downtown between the National Theater and Parliament and along the Aker River that flows through the capital.

Berg said the most “valuable” figures seem to pop up around the Middle Ages Park and the area around Gamlebyen (the oldest part of Oslo on the city’s east side), while some sought-after figures have been found at Holmenkollen. Svendsen and Akkøk have walked for hundreds of miles since the game unofficially debuted in Oslo last week, and that’s what’s also drawing support from sports organizations like Skiforeningen and Den Norske Turistforening. They support all projects that get people off the sofa and moving around outdoors.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund