When you first start playing “Pokémon GO” — an augmented reality experience that lets you find and collect Pokémon in the world around you — you’ll notice it looks a lot like gamified version of Google Maps.
If you’re playing in an urban area, the first thing you’ll see are a lot of blue and purple stands on the side of the roads, which represent local shops and other cool destinations in your area.
Those are called “pokéstops,” and they’re essential to the game. They’re also the easiest places to find and catch lots of Pokémon if you’re just getting started and haven’t collected any special items yet.
First, you’ll need to physically get up and walk toward one of these pokéstops, just like you would a destination on Google Maps. Once you reach the pokéstop, the stand will transform into a larger, more enticing graphic.
Once you’re close enough to the pokéstop, tap on the blue circle and you’ll be taken to another screen. If you swipe the circle, goodies will pop out that you can tap to collect, like pokéballs.
Once you’ve used the pokéstop, you won’t be able to return and shake it down for more goodies for a few minutes.
Another thing you should look out for are purple and blue pokéstops that look like they’re raining. Those are special pokéstops. It means they have a “lure module” attached to them, which — as the name suggests — lure pokémon to the destination.
So not only will you be able to collect goodies from these pokéstops if you visit them, but you’ll probably find a few pokémon hanging out by them that you’ll want to catch.
You can see a pokémon hanging out by one of the special pokéstops below on the left:
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