The Pokémon Go craze is sweeping the nation….but you may be sitting there, on the other side of the screen thinking, “What is it and why should I care?!” Here’s the deal: The game is actually promoting fitness and community in a time when we need it most.
You probably remember Pokémon (which means “pocket monster”) as being a card game kids played in groups back in the late 90’s, that accompanied a Saturday morning cartoon of the same name. It actually all began with a game created for Nintendo Game Boy back in 1995. Today, Pokémon Go is a free mobile app. You can use real money to buy in-game currency, but you don’t have to. The game is actually more fun if you have to use your time and energy in order to get further in the game (because it means you physically have to go out into the world and interact with other people to advance).
How does it work?
The game uses your phone’s GPS for your real-world location, drops an avatar of yourself onto a map of your area, and then shows you where to go to catch Pokémon. Unlike with most online games, you have to physically go to the location in order to “catch” the Pokémon. Your collection of little monsters is stored away in a Pokédex, where you can break them out later at your local “gym” to battle them against other, real-live people’s collections. (The players are referred to as trainers, by the way.)
What are gyms and Pokéstops?
Once you get to level five in the game, you’ll have access to gyms where you can battle other trainers, one-on-one, using your collection of Pokémon. (Geek out time: Each Pokémon has a “CP” designation, or combat power designation. The higher the CP, the stronger it will be in battle.) A blue diamond marker on your map, however, will indicate a Pokéstop. These are places where you can interact with other trainers or pick up other items important to your game.
How do I get started?
Download the app, open it and sign up with either your Google account or a Pokémon Trainer Club account. You’ll get a brief how-to tutorial before three Pokémon pop up on your map. Swipe your finger across the screen to throw a Pokéball at one of them (which will capture the creature). Practice makes perfect! After this, you’ll be able to explore the app. Look for blowing leaves, which indicate hidden Pokémon. Here’s a hint: Highly populated areas tend to have more Pokémon and Pokéstops.
There have been news reports of people getting into trouble all for the sake of Pokémon. A couple in Toledo, Ohio were arrested for breaking and entering into the zoo, after jumping the fence to play the game inside. There have also been several reports of people being lured into unsafe areas and robbed, all under the guise of Pokémon would be at the scene of the crime. The best way to avoid criminal activity is to use common sense when playing. Don’t go to unfamiliar, isolated places at 2:00 a.m. for example… On the whole, the game is harmless fun, so don’t be scared.
Pokémon Go combines gaming, physical activity and making friends, so you can see why it’s so contagious. With so much negativity in the world today, why not join in on something positive? Happy hunting! As the game says, “Gotta catch ‘em all!”
Our friends at The Roman Guy created a neat video of How Pokémon Go has taken over Rome. Check Out the video below!