There’s a new “Pokémon” game, y’all! It’s called “Pokémon GO,” and it’s exclusively on smartphones worldwide (both iPhone and Android).
But this isn’t your momma’s “Pokémon” game. In “Pokémon GO,” you’ll venture out into the world, using your phone’s GPS and camera to capture (virtual) live Pokémon.
Sounds crazy, right? It looks crazier!
The idea with “Pokémon GO” is to explore your world, find “Pokémon,” and collect them with little capsules (“Pokéballs”). But you know that already, don’t you, Pokéfan? Of course you do.
The meat and potatoes of this game is that collection aspect, but there are other bits as well. For instance! See all the little stuff in the image above, on the right? The floating concentric circles and what have you? Those are “Pokéstops,” or as we call them in human reality “places of interest.” Basically, various notable landmarks in your general are get incorporated into the world of “Pokémon GO.”
In the case of my morning walk to the subway, for instance, a local church became a “Pokéstop,” where I was given free “Pokéballs” just for tapping an icon and acknowledging the church’s existence. How existential! I was then alerted after crossing the street that a wild Pokémon was nearby, so I found it and threw “Pokéballs” at it until I captured it.
Beyond these local landmarks and running into the occasional wild “Pokémon,” various areas near your location become “gyms.” In the world of “Pokémon GO,” these gyms are where you’ll battle other trainers (you, the player, are a “trainer”) with your captured Pokémon.”
As you can see above, the closest gym to Tech Insider’s lavish midtown headquarters is in Madison Square Park. And since we’re in the middle of Manhattan, there are tons of little landmarks all over the place to snag some new “Pokéballs.”
I’m not yet a “level 5” trainer, so I can’t battle at gyms just yet. How do you level up? Simple! Engage with the game. Stop at “Pokéstops” and capture Pokémon and all the stuff you’re already doing.
In the (admittedly very limited) time I’ve spent with the game so far, it feels like a pretty incredible way to explore your town/city all while playing a video game of sorts. There are some clear red flags, like the game not shouting “HEY YOU’RE ABOUT TO CROSS A STREET MAYBE LOOK UP FROM YOUR PHONE,” but assuredly that stuff will shake out over time.
Since “Pokémon GO” is a free-to-play game, there are (of course) instances of “microtransactions” — ways to buy more balls for catching Pokémon and what have you. The other side of that coin is that the game is totally free. Give it a shot!
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