An Adult Guide to Pokémon Go

If you been outdoors in the last few days and noticed more teenagers than normal staring at the screens of their phones, they’re not Tweeting, Texting, or snapchatting…they’re wandering around trying to capture imaginary Japanese monsters with crazy names. It’s a cartoon fantasy smartphone game that in some cases has sent teens to hospitals as well as dead body filled rivers! It’s also caused Nintendo’s stock to spike by about ten BILLION dollars and is now about to surpass Twitter in terms of daily active Android users. This is Pokémon Go’s America, and we’re all living in it, whether we like it or not.

As a member of today’s society, you have reason — nay, a responsibility — to learn the basics.

The Pokémon are a group of wackadoo cartoon creatures dreamed up in what must have been a very wild acid trip for some Japanese animator. They are monsters, pocket monsters, if you will. But it doesn’t really matter what they are; they could be tokens, or prizes, or anything else. You’ll be able to get by with these basic facts: there are supposedly 151 Pokémon and you have to catch them all. You catch them with a terrifying, solitary confinement trap called a Poké Ball.

To play Pokémon Go, you must walk out the door. The game uses the GPS of your phone to overlay itself onto the real world. It’s kind of like walking around a tricked-out version of Google Maps: As you walk around your real world, you’ll walk through the game as well. Walls will become magical, strangers beside you will become your mortal enemies, and Pokémon will “appear” at your feet, depending on where you are and the time of day. All the while, you must keep your eye on your goal: capturing all the Pokémon.

These monsters appear on the map as you walk around your environment. When you see one, you sorta bump into it by tapping it a bunch. Then things get interesting. When you engage a Pokémon, the game uses your camera to superimpose the Pokémon on whatever scene you’re in. You must then attack it with your Poké Balls. You catch the Pokémon by flicking the Poké Ball at it with your finger.

As you walk around the Pokémon game, you will see these blue things sticking out of the ground. They are called PokéStops. And they’re the key to doing well in the game. When you tap the PokéStop a picture of where you are pops up. Then you swipe across the picture to spin it, and then stuff you want like Poké Balls fall out of the PokéStop. You tap to collect the stuff, which you can then use it to get better at accomplishing your main goal: capturing all the Pokémon.

To truly catch ‘em all, you’ll need to spend a lot of time walking around. At PokéStops, especially ones with lures, you’ll likely encounter other people looking for the same Pokémon, or for the same power-ups. It’s a cool part of a game played outside.

I am told the game gets better and more interactive as you go on.

Being an adult it’s hard. Basic tasks, like walking down the street, aren’t as easy as they used to be. But at least now you’ll be able to beat up little kids’ Pikachus as you trudge along from point A to point B.