New “Pokémon Go” Game Explained: What, Why, and How to Play

Pokémon Go Game
Photo: Brendon Thorne / Stringer /Getty Images
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Unless you’ve been living under a Geodude, it’s doubtful you’re unaware that the new Pokemon app called Pokémon Go is the hottest thing on the net right now. However, if you thought capturing all 729 of the creatures—with more coming in November—was a daunting task in the mainline games, figuring out how to do it in the real world may be even more challenging. If your search of “how to get Pokémon Go game on iPhone” is leaving you feeling like you got hit with Confuse Ray, don’t worry because we’ll explain how to acquire and use the new Pokémon game on your mobile device.

What Is Pokémon Go?

Pokémon Go is a new mobile game based on the massive Nintendo franchise that allows players to use their phone’s camera and GPS functions to find Pokémon in the real world. Players will have to travel to the exact spot shown on the app in order to pinpoint the Pokémon’s exact location. Only then can they make an attempt to catch it using a digital Poké Ball.

Pokémon Go is classified as what’s called an “augmented reality” game, which is when digital input (whether it be visual, audio or GPS data) is used to “interact” with the real world. This is different from virtual reality, which replaces the real world entirely and has a variety of useful applications outside of games and mobile apps. However, it’s safe to say that Pokémon Go is the most famous and popular use of this kind of technology yet.

Why Play Pokémon Go?

Want to jump on the bandwagon? Pokémon Go allows anyone who has ever played a Pokémon game or watched the anime to do the one thing that wasn’t possible before: catch wild Pokémon in the real world. Of course it’s not exactly the same as if Pokémon were real, but it’s close enough. The game has also proven to have positive mental and physical aspects, such as the health benefits that come from walking to where the map says new Pokémon are waiting and the opportunity to meet other players when you get there.

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The app has already proven notable not only for the amount of users it has, but the stories coming out of people using it to explore. That said, not every story is positive, with some attempting to find Pokémon in restricted areas like Police Stations and at least one instance of someone using the app to rob people. When using the app, be mindful of your surroundings and consider factors like the time of day, traffic and the neighborhood. Your personal well-being is not worth a digital Metagross.

How to Download Pokémon Go

For starters, the new Pokémon app is currently only available in the U.S., New Zealand and Australia until they figure out how to deal with the number of users overloading the server, so those elsewhere will have to wait. If you’re lucky enough to live in one of these countries, simply download the Pokémon APK from the Google Play Store if you own an Android device or get the game on the Apple Store if using iOS.

How to Play Pokémon Go

Following installation, the game will instruct a new player to create their avatar, which includes their skin, eye color, hair color and clothing. Players are given a starter Pokémon to begin the game with, with the choices being the same as the original “generation one” games: Bulbasaur, Squirtle and Charmander. The player can walk away from all three starters and try to not choose, but the Pokémon will eventually relocate to where you currently are. However, if you do this process four times, a fourth option for your starter Pokémon appears: franchise mascot Pikachu.

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Pokémon are found in the world based on where would be most logical; for example, a grass-type would more likely found in a park. To capture one upon location, the player must “throw” a Poké Ball at the right time and with the right amount of strength. A well-executed catch awards stardust and candy, which are used to strengthen and help a Pokémon evolve.

Certain beneficial locations, such as Pokémon Gyms and Poké Stops can be found using the game’s map, as well. These are usually located at major real-world landmarks like tourist attractions, religious buildings, government offices and other famous sites. Poké Stops are used to acquire Poké Balls and other items which will recharge and provide you with other handouts. As for Pokémon Gyms, these are locations where you can battle against other players, though you must reach level five before you are able to use them. Before accessing a gym, you must choose one of three teams; if that gym is controlled by a member of one of the other two teams, you can battle the leader and lower their “prestige.” Getting their prestige to zero will allow you to take over the gym and assign a Pokémon as a guard.

 
 
 
 

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