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What’s the fuss about Pokémon GO?

Your Facebook feed was once a haven for kitten memes and political drama. Now it’s completely been taken over by Pokémon. News feeds have been hijacked by Pokémon players getting off their chairs and going out into the sunshine and rubbing your face in it. The culprit is the new Pokémon GO game that is not even out in India yet. But it’s still a runaway sensation. So what’s all the fuss about?

What are Pokémon?

Created in 1995 by Satoshi Tajiri, Pokémon are little cute and cuddly creatures which humans (aka Pokémon Trainers) capture into little balls. Then these little prisoners are trained for battles. The most iconic of the Pokémon is Pikachu, achieving Justin Bieber levels of fame. Gracing millions of websites, memes and merchandise, the famous cute yellow cat-like creature with a lightening tail is a mainstay in pop culture. Pokémon players either love or hate Pikachu with a vengeance.

Nintendo initially launched Pokémon, which was perfect for the GameBoy. The game was a hit, and till today Pokémon games sell like hot cakes. Plus, the Pokemon phenomenon has transcended to Trading Cards, Anime TV Shows and a lot more. Now, in a move of pure genius, Pokémon has spectacularly launched on mobile in the form of Pokémon GO.

What is Pokémon Go?

In 2014, Google released an April Fools joke called Pokémon Challenge, which featured a version of Google Maps where you search for Pokémon and capture. Today, the smartphone — with sales going through the roof — becomes the de facto portable gaming device of choice. It’s the perfect environment for Pokémon Trainers and Pokémon to thrive. And thus Pokémon GO was born, out of a joke.

Pokémon GO essentially goes where no game has tread before, into the territory of apps like FourSquare. It brings gaming into the physical world. The premise is simple. You walk around the city and capture hidden Pokémon using a Poké Ball. Once added to your collection, the little creatures take part in arenas to train and fight each other.

Why is Pokémon GO so much of fun?

Pokémon GO actually makes you get up off your derriere and lets you go explore your city. The interface is like an overhead map, where you walk about and find potential Pokémon to capture. When you find one, just tap on it and the map opens your camera into an Augmented Reality view. Here you see your Pokémon out and about in the real world. If you’ve seen pesky kids poking their noses in your window or ambling around near your yard or in the street staring at their phone, you now know what they are up to.

Pokémon GO is one of the best fitness apps . Casually you can just walk around to spots near you. However, the game has a certain daring element to it. Pokémon have been known to surface in the weirdest of places: they show up in toilets, terraces, cinemas, slum areas and even on the boss’s head.

There is a danger to it too, as the quest for Pokémon has you staring at your mobile screen; which could lead you anywhere. Usually, it’s at the discomfort of other people as those shameless Pokémon could appear anywhere. Not to mention, if you don’t watch where you walk, you could end up in a pretty rough part of town. As long as you’re careful, there’s a lot of fun to be had.

Get your own game

India has not got Pokémon GO as yet. It’s not even out in Pokémon’s home country Japan. The best way to get it is if you are an Android user. You can download the APK, which is the Android file, from anywhere online. Since Pokémon GO is free to play, it’s not piracy. Though you will need to watch where you download your APK from. If the file asks for too many permissions; look again elsewhere.

Once downloaded enable developer services in your settings. A quick Google search will give you step-by-step instructions. Then enable Android to install APK from unknown sources from the developer menu.

If you have downloaded the APK file on your computer, simply transfer it onto your phone. Once installed, the game works perfectly, except the monument detection is not active. You can still find and capture Pokémon and take part in battles though.

Unfortunately iOS users have it a little different. You’ll have to log out of the app store and sign up with USA as your country and give a fake address (look up zip codes online). Do not add a credit card as the game is free. Simply download and you’re good to go. Since all the data is saved on a cloud, you won’t lose your history if the game is launched in India.

Finding rare Pokémon

Depending on where you live, you may come across the usual Pokémon suspects. However, you need to get your hands on those rare and legendary creatures. Not much is known about the mechanics of these, however, some feel that there are Pokémon nests that spawn these rare creatures. If you do find a rare one, chances are you are near a nest. Plus, other factors contribute to their appearance: water bodies, time, green areas and more.

As your Pokémon Hunter status goes up, the rare ones will come to you. You could also purchase a lure, which increases the appearance of Pokémon for a certain radius for a short time. Some guides state that rare Pokémon are drawn to groups of people, so you can organise hunts to increase your chances. The best way is to keep exploring your neighbourhood and city. You never know where you may find a hidden gem.

The author is a freelance writer

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Printable version | May 6, 2021 9:28:24 AM |

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