Nintendo has finally released the smartphone Pokémon game that people who play Pokémon games have been waiting for with bated breath.
Yesterday Pokémon Go hit the various app stores for Android and iOS phones, bringing the creatures into the real world, kind of, through the magic of smartphone technology. In Pokémon Go, the whole actual world we live in is filled with pokémon to catch and, uh, train, maybe. The part of the game that’s not about catching seems kind of thin right now.
It works with technology called “augmented reality.” Pokémon Go tracks you as you walk around your neighborhood, or wherever, using your phone’s GPS capabilities, and occasionally you’ll discover pokémon out in the world. The game uses your phone’s camera to show whatever’s in front of you on your phone screen, but the screen also shows the pokémon you’re about to snag—intermixing the game with the real world around you.
Once you have your pokémon, you can take them to real-world locations that double as Pokémon Gyms, where you can participate with other players in the larger competition of Pokémon Go: two teams, taking over as many gyms as they can, apparently. In other Pokémon games, you’d be making your captured animals fight other people’s captured animals, but it doesn’t seem like Nintendo has that in this version yet. Still, the game’s free on iTunes and the Google Play Store, so while it’s a bit thin right now, at least it doesn’t cost anything.
Probably the biggest upshot of Pokémon Go is that it’ll encourage us all to go for a walk, which is great! So long as we don’t walk directly into traffic while trying to catch a Pikachu, that is.