A Pokemon GO hotspot where local players became "zombies" in search of rare monsters has seemingly been shut down by the game's developers, a cause of celebration for local residents but of mourning for avid gamers.
Rhodes, in the west of Sydney, became an early favourite spot for hardcore fans due to its high concentration of Pokestop points -- or item pickup locations -- and the tendency for rare and powerful Pokemon to appear there. Peg Paterson Park, a small and usually quiet playground bordered by tall apartment buildings in a residential area, became overrun with hundreds of players each night, with local residents starting a campaign against the game due to the mess, damage and noise left behind by players. Pokemon hunters even blocked traffic and roads in search of their monsters.
"It looked like the scene from World War Z with zombies about to breach and climb over the wall," Wang told The Huffington Post Australia last month, referencing the Brad Pitt-starring zombie film.
But after a campaign which has included local council writing to game developers Niantic, a dedicated residents' Facebook group and local petitioning, it appears the Rhodes Pokemon paradise is no more. Residents told HuffPost Australia that the three Pokestops in Peg Paterson have all disappeared in recent days, pleasing the local community who complained about the noise and mess.
"All removed today it seems," Sunghoon Choi told us on Monday night, a time when the park would normally be full of players eagerly laughing and enjoying the game.
"It's quiet now. No people at the park."
"I'm glad it's quiet again and no idiots screaming at night," Wang told HuffPost Australia.
It appears the game's developers responded to the complaints of council and residents, removing the points after the issues came to their attention. Niantic have fielded many complaints from around the world of Pokestops in inappropriate locations, including the NSW Government asking for a Sydney war memorial to be removed from the list of gameplay spots.
However, while Rhodes residents are relishing the peace and quiet, many players are upset at the changes.
"RIP Rhodes", wrote many people on various Sydney Pokemon Facebook groups, as players shared tips of what might become the "Rhodes 2.0" or "new Rhodes" as a hotspot for Pokemon.
As a tip for players out there, Circular Quay is often full of lures and a range of strong Pokemon, while ex-Rhodes fans have seemingly adopted Paul Keating Park at Bankstown as their new home.