What the heck is Pokémon?
It´s a videogame created by Satoshi Tajiri and the illustrator Ken Sugimori, and released by Nintendo in 1996. «Pokémon» comes from «pocket monster». There are currently 729 Pokémon, of all shapes and colors – Pikachu is the most famous of them all. Pokémon Go is the latest release of the franchise, which uses augmented reality. You’re a coach of these monsters (the Pokémon) and have to go outdoors to hunt them. Of course you´ll find enemies, allies and resources (some paid) along the way to accomplish your hunting mission.
How do I play?
You download the game on your mobile (it’s free), choose your avatar (a character) and go out to hunt the Pokémon that shows up along your way. And immediately you will see some little monsters in your own room. Do not panic. You aim your mobile towards him and throw the ball (a “pokeball), that is your tool to hunt the monsters. Once the ball captures him, you wait until it is done (sometimes they escape the ball; so better wait to guarantee the hunt is over).
Next step is to go outside and see Pokémon around in monuments, squares, public places. Go for them! The more Pokémon you hunt, more points you earn and, naturally, you level up. When you reach level 5, you can enter the “gym” to practice with other Pokémon trainers.
A little trick to advance in the game is to use the technique of the «curve ball » which gives the pokeball the effect of a curve ball just like in baseball. You can do this by, when throwing the ball, keeping pressure on it while you make it spin quickly. Then you throw it furiously! Attention because you get the effect when you spin the ball clockwise but toss it to the left (or the other way around). The pokeball will make the curve and eventually go towards the right direction. Capturing a Pokémon with the curve ball will give you additional experience points.
Ah, if you run out of pokeballs (they are not infinite), you can get some more at the pokestops. You should spin the stop and some balls will be given to you.
Should I feel ridiculous for enjoying the game?
Not at all! Pokémon Go is one of the most entertaining ways to exercise without even realizing you are doing it. As a nurse I have recommended a thousand times walking to lower blood pressure, improve circulation, lose weight… The only way to collect Pokémon is walking a minimum of 0.5 kilometers, so you will walk and you will have a reward for it. Also, you will not be alone because you will be part of a community of more than 100 million people worldwide. The daily use of Pokémon Go has surpassed that of the most popular apps, such as WhatsApp, Instagram and Snapchat, and social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. It has also been ranked first in turnover in the app stores of nearly everywhere.
Is it a good game?
Besides all hype and the sweet nostalgia, the game isn´t all finished and has some bugs. It means that options are limited, there are not so many actions you can take within the game, and no social feed. According to Niantic, the developer, there are features missing. Besides, depending when and where you are, servers can´t take it and go down.
Is it dangerous?
Not if you are a responsible person. You shouldn´t play it when driving (of course!) or if you’re doing some activity that requires full concentration. However it´s true that you can be distracted and get lost around town. In the United States the Pokémon hunt took a player to find a dead body. It is so surreal that this article wonders why Pokémon players will keep finding dead bodies along their hunting.
Additionally you should keep an eye on the personal information you are automatically opening through your Google account.
How to play without running out of battery?
It’s true that the game consumes a lot of battery (and a lot of data). If you do not have an unlimited plan or a lot of available mobile data, you may fall short. However, you can save some battery with resources from the game itself.
Go to Setttings > Battery Saver. Activate it. With this when turning the mobile device down, the screen will be black. Also it deactivates the augmented reality camera – when showing the monster, you won´t see your reality but only the virtual one.