The Pokemon Go craze seemed to be transcending the ages as Hawke's Bay children, parents and possibly grandparents joined a near global outing by taking to the streets of Napier in search of the elusive avatars on Saturday.

At least 300 are estimated to have gone in and out of the hunt, which started with a group transfixed to their mobile phones in Clive Square about midday - the Napier Pokemon GO Walk Facebook recording late yesterday that 362 "went".

Napier gamer and diploma of engineering student Brendan Nikolaison, an early convert after New Zealand, Australia and the US led the gradual global release of the new game on July 6, was among those who were still at it as night fell.

It was a bit of a break from study, and a chance to get out and meet people, which doubters will see as the good spin compared with gamers couch-surfing on games at home all day.


He wasn't surprised by the numbers, but aged "25 or 26", he was surprised that he was somewhere about the middle of the age range.

"There were kids aged 10 or 11, and parents aged 45 or 46," he said.

"It was great."

He agreed there were elements of orienteering, while one observer reckoned it was a modern-form of "hashing", the practice of Hash House Harriers said to have been established almost 80 years ago and still visible from time to time on the streets of Napier, and when its practitioners in running shorts settle for their stops in bars around the city.

Several thousand are estimated to have taken to walks around the country, including Auckland where an attempt to make it "official" at the Domain was abandoned. They still came, although it had been announced the "event" will be held next month.

Those who stretched the limits encountered some frustration as servers crashed with players across the globe complaining they were unable to access the game, or that it was regularly freezing.

It happened as millions joined in their first weekend with the hit mobile app, with 26 countries, including Britain, only just brought into the phenomenon.

According to one report, hacking group PoodleCorp claimed responsibility, saying it had taken down the Pokemon Go servers in a denial-of-service attack.