A Pokémon Go Tour of Manchester

PrintE-mail Written by Kieron Moore

You’re visiting Manchester, perhaps to take in some of the city’s varied culture, perhaps because you’re a busy professional commuting to the office, or perhaps to attend the Starburst Film Festival, which runs from 26th to 28th August and will be bringing you a celebration of all things sci-fi, fantasy and horror.

Either way, you’re undoubtedly interested in learning about the city’s Pokémon community, so we’re here to prepare you for your visit. Armed with nothing but a fruit-themed smartphone, a portable charger for said phone, and our trusty Squirtle, we took a trip around the city and carried out what could inaccurately be described as 'academic research' into Manchester’s Poké-population.

Your trip will most likely begin at Manchester Piccadilly, the city’s main transport hub. Here we encountered three of the Pokémon types which are most common around Manchester – a Drowzee, a Zubat, and a Pidgey. At least, we think that’s a Pidgey.

One of the most popular public green spaces in Manchester, Piccadilly Gardens is a short stroll from the station and has been a big gathering point for Pokémon Go players, who’ve encountered rare monsters such as Kabuto and Venemoth there. We weren’t so lucky, but we did encounter this inquisitive Poliwag and this adorably happy Paras, which we picked up in the spirit of “Gotta catch ‘em all”. Just like visitors to the Starburst Film Festival will want to catch all the films, from genre classics such as Mad Max II, Galaxy Quest and Battletruck to new features such as Frankenstein Created Bikers and Mania, as well as a range of independent shorts.

We then encountered this Dragonair in the artsy Northern Quarter. We didn’t catch it, though, as it kept breaking free. Watch yourselves here – you can easily run out of Pokeballs, or out of change in the overpriced bars. The legendary Salutation pub, just by where the Starburst Film Festival is being held and where we’ll be hanging out in the evenings, is much more reasonably priced.

Next on our trip, we stopped by Starburst's headquarters, where we found a Seel hanging out with our Stormtrooper, and where the team were busy preparing for the Starburst Film Festival – putting the hard work in to make sure the screenings of new episodes of Red Dwarf, Inside No. 9 and Thunderbirds 1965 run smoothly.

Because of all the canals running through the city, Manchester has a high population of water Pokemon, and players will find their inventories quickly filling up with Psyducks, Staryus and Shellders. This Dratini is enjoying hanging out in the iconic Canal St.

Manchester has been the home of many famous figures, including Anthony Burgess, Emmeline Pankhurst, and Morrissey, as well as the founder of modern computing, Alan Turing. Here’s a Magicarp flapping around on Turing’s lap. Another famous Mancunian is Red Dwarf creator Doug Naylor, who’s just one of many big names appearing at the Starburst Film Festival – also in attendance will be The League of Gentlemen’s Steve Pemberton, Doctor Who writer Toby Whithouse, and James Bond director John Glen.

This is Oxford Road, which runs through the centre of the city. Many Pokémon Go players have found it to be a hotspot for rare Pokémon. We found nothing. But…

After a little walk down Oxford Road, we turned off and found ourselves here – the students’ union building of Manchester Metropolitan University, which will be entirely taken over by the Starburst Film Festival this weekend (yes, this has been our destination all along – bet you didn’t see that coming!). As well as the screenings and talks we’ll be holding across the building’s three floors, there are bars, coffee shops, and dealer spaces throughout, and on-site accommodation just across the road.

It would be a really great selling point if we’d found a rare Pokemon at the union building, but, erm, here’s a Rattata.

Tickets for the Starburst Film Festival can be bought here. 

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