CAUTION: POKÉMON GO’ERS AT PLAY

Never have I seen a game do what Pokémon GO is doing right now in our world. Let me paint a picture for you…

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Last Saturday, my wife and I were in Rockville Square, Maryland, a hub for people and shops, and we decided to go on a walk to hunt some new Pokémon. We found a huge amount of items and Pokémon to catch on every street corner. As we meandered around looking at our phones, we slowly saw other people and groups all walking to the exact same places, on their phones, and we realized they were playing the same game, hunting for Pokémon, interacting with this augmented reality. I was surprised at how many people were there to find virtual creatures and ended up bonding in a half-real life, half-online way. It was a truly surreal moment to see everyone gather in this part of the city like that.

To break it down, Pokémon GO is an augmented reality game in which the game tracks your location and has placed various things to interact with throughout every inch of the real world. You will be brought to real places of significance. Without even trying, this app with have you walking around for an hour and visiting places in your city that you’ve never been before. Pokémon Go is broken down into three key elements, catching and training Pokémon, finding Pokéstops and battling at Poké Gyms.

File_001Catching and Training Pokémon

To catch Pokémon, you have to go looking for them. It’s fairly random, but more populated places will help you find more Pokémon. When you find a Pokémon, your camera will come on and the Pokémon will appear to be in the real world, and it’s pretty awesome. There are items like Incense and Lure to attract Pokémon to you. Also catch as many as you can of all Pokémon, you’ll need them to strengthen your Pokémon. For more tips to actually train your Pokémon and evolve them, click here.

Poké Stops

You’ll find these at various places of interest: memorials, gazebos, or gas stations. Get close enough to the Stop to snag the items there. You’ll need all the items you can get, and there are often Pokémon lurking by, so hunting for Poké Stops is an easy way to progress quickly.

Poké Gyms

After your beginning hours in the game, you choose one of three teams, Mystic (Blue), Yellow (Instinct), or Valor (Red). The gyms are fighting grounds for the different teams and here, you battle to gain control of the Poké Gym and territory for your specific team. There seems to be no overall goal for now or major purpose for controlling the Gyms except bragging rights (if you have nerdy friends who, they probably have already posted some memes about the teams).

Overall the game is pretty fun, it isn’t perfect, and the server issues and long load times can be really rough sometimes. Down the road other features could be added, says CEO John Hanke. It might be a while before new features come, but that’s reasonable because the game is less than a week old. If you want to casually run around and catch some Pokémon or become crazy with powerful Pokémon, this game will satisfy your needs while enjoying some fresh air and good exercise. But please, be aware of your surroundings, be safe and don’t get in trouble. Get ready to walk more than you ever have while awkwardly bumping into other people playing the game, download the app and GO. “Gotta catch em’ all,” right?