Last week, a large Pokemon was unleashed near Central Park. Within minutes, hundreds of people flocked to the park in the quest for capture. One of these people happened to be Justin Bieber, but no one noticed. All eyes remained fixated on the electric glow of handheld devices that alerted players to the promise of a rare Vaporen sighting. If the Biebs can show up at a major American landmark, in the bright light of day and not get swarmed with Bieber Fever, it’s safe to say America has found a new obsession. So, what the heck is Pokemon Go?
For those of you that are in-the-know about Pokemon Go, we know that you know. But for the rest of us still wondering what the deal is with the obsessive craze, we’ve rounded up some talking points for the next Pokemon Go conversation that’s more than destined to rear its pretty Pikachu head. Here’s everything you need to know about Pokemon Go.
It’s kind of like if Google Maps and Nintendo had a baby.
Players are shown virtual Pokemon characters in real-world locations, so it basically feels like you are walking directly inside the Pokemon game. Similar to Google Maps, it maps out your actual surroundings while placing the Pokemon in your real world. Then, it’s up to you to explore, capture Pokemon, evolve them, and raise their levels to make them stronger–kind of like a self-improvement workshop, except the only thing evolving is a Pokemon.
Wondering what the point is?
Umm…duh: The point is to capture all of the Pokemon, kind of like an old-school stamp collection.This tremendous feat, however, is nearly impossible to accomplish because some Pokemon are really rare and super hard to capture–specifically these dudes: Snorlax, Lapras, Porygon, and, of course, Vaporen (the Pokemon formerly responsible for stealing Justin Bieber’s limelight).
A Pokemon “Gym” is not a Pokemon at a 24-Hour Fitness, although it might be.
Once you’ve reached level 5 by collecting enough points, that’s when the real Pokemon battles begin. A gym is a location where you pit your Pokemon in battle against other trainers. You choose a team (Instinct, Mystic, or Valor) and look to win that gym in your team’s honor. Gyms are assigned to local landmarks, places of interest, large monuments, and even your local Post Office.
Don’t take the Pokemon road less traveled. It’ll make all the difference.
Pokemon Go is operated by artificial intelligence, not to be confused with your own internal navigating system known as your actual intelligence. Sometimes Pokemons awkwardly appear in unlikely places: off the edge of a cliff, in a strangers kitchen, in front of a mugger, and, yes, perhaps most inappropriately, at Auschwitz (true story). If all of your friends walked off a cliff playing Pokemon Go, would you?
Still wondering what the point is?
It’s kind of revolutionary in the gaming world because it’s moved a generation of fledgling couch potatoes into the great outdoors. Also, the game encourages people to play in large social groups, and has even been responsible for acting as an interactive icebreaker for Pokemon love connections. Pokemon Go is the new dating app. So, maybe a freshly fit bod and the prospect of a blossoming Pokemon fling will make the hunt for the mythical Mew (a yet-to-be-released Pokemon) worth all of that precious time.