Despite claims that Nintendo’s Pokemon Go game sweeping the world is a “brainwashing conspiracy”, thousands of fans continue to play it in Portugal, stopping traffic in Gaia, and prompting police to issue safety warnings. But a church in Barreiro woke up this week to discover it was a “gymnasium” for accomplished players. Young parish priest Tiago Veloso has decided to milk the sudden notoriety for all it is worth.
Writing on social media, he has said: “The real and best trainer is inside. Come and visit him.”
For now, fans group outside the church, battling with their invisible warriors, eyes and fingers focussed on mobile phones, while Veloso exhorts them jokingly to ‘defend the church’.
“I know I have parishioners of 60 and older playing outside, because I have caught quite a few of them at it,” he told reporters. “At least they are outside and getting sunshine and air,” he added, stressing he is not a fan of the game himself.