Mayhem, hysteria and excitement were gaining currency on the square in front of the main entrance to the National Palace of Culture in the center of Sofia today, when hundreds of smart phone enthusiasts searched for virtual Pokémon figures. A crowd of mostly young guys stared at their phones, trying to find “stores” and other virtual items. The average age of those assembled here might have been 14. But a few people in their fifties were seen as well, who probably increased it to 15.
Mitko and Martin, both 16 years old, proudly said, they had collected lots of items already, but they were in for more. A gentleman in his early thirties, who was standing in the crowd with his shiny phone, had already been part of this the day before. He had searched Pokémons until 02:00 a.m. at Borisova Gradina, with a break in between, since his smart phone battery had given up. Dani, 11-years old, who owns a brand new Samsung “S7 Edge Plus”, said something about 300 Pokémon figures he wanted to collect. When his mother insisted they had to go home, he was not exactly happy.
A few meters down the road, on Patriarch Ephtimi, people seemed to be searching for something as well, using heavy equipment. Maybe they wanted Pokémons too, or maybe truffles, gold or oil. “Patriarcha”, which is how locals call that street, has looked better. That’s for sure.
Bulgaria is not the first country to be hit by the Pokémon virus. A virtual imbecility? Probably. But at least “Pokémon Go” players move and burn calories while staring at their screens.
By Imanuel Marcus