(CNN)So everyone is shuffling around furiously swiping at their phones and bragging about their Vaporeon and you’re just sitting here like “What’s a Pokball?”
It’s okay. You’re in the trust tree. All of your Pokmon questions will be answered in time.
Long story short, Pokmon GO is a phone game that’s taking over people’s lives.
It’s an “augmented reality” game that uses real-world aspects and overlays the magical, slightly deranged world of Pokmon in a thinly-veiled ploy to get people out of their houses and exercising for once.
More on that later. Let’s start from the very beginning.
What even is a Pokmon? Please help me, I am so lost. My friends would disown me if they knew of my ignorance.
What do you do with them?
The game gives you a limited amount of Pokballs. You can trap wild Pokmon by throwing balls at them using a flicking motion with your finger. It’s extremely frustrating. Sometimes they try to resist, other times they go quietly into that good night and you are rewarded points and other goodies.
While the Pokhoarding aspect is certainly enough to keep you in the game for hours like a kawaii FitBit, you can actually use your Pokmon to fight other people’s Pokmon and earn all sorts of other items and bragging rights.
Points and Pokballs. You are losing me, friend.
Pokmon: Little creatures you can capture
Pokball: The things you throw to catch the Pokmon. They are available at Pokstops and more will be provided to you as your character gets more powerful.
Pokstop: Geotagged locations, i.e. a landmark or destination, where you can get Pokballs and other treats.
Pokmon gyms: Where you can battle your Pokmon with other Pokmon to earn control over different gyms, as well as other prizes. These are geotagged like Pokstops.
Eggs: Unhatched Pokmon, which you can incubate by walking.
Evolve: Through some hard work, your Pokmon can become even more powerful Pokmon.
Candies, stardust, potions: Extras you can earn in the game that can evolve Pokmon or be used during battles
Pokmon trainer: That’s you!
Okay so you have an avatar, which is basically you if you were a sexy animated Pokmon trainer. Your little guy or gal gets experience points when you do stuff, which makes them a more powerful Pokmon trainer and allows them to “level up.”
Here’s the important part: To get more Pokballs, you walk to different “Pokstops.”
Pokstops are usually at interesting places around your city or community. Let’s say you were walking down Main Street, Whereverville. You might find a Pokstop at a popular store, landmark, work of art or other point of interest. There are several in the CNN Center in downtown Atlanta alone. Don’t be jealous.
The ideal gameplay strategy is to walk around, trying to cover a lot of ground to get to different Pokstops and come across different Pokmon who might be hiding in your path.
That sounds dangerously close to exercise.
As mentioned before, Pokmon GO is clearly nothing more than a ploy by Big Video Game to get you up and moving around. There are several incentives in the game that prove this, and the most blatant are “eggs,” which are unhatched Pokmon you can acquire at Pokstops. In order to hatch the eggs, you have to walk to “incubate” them; 5 kilometers, 10 kilometers, etc. How transparent is that?
It works, though. Here’s the search frequency of the query “5km in miles” from Google Trends.
That spike is July, when Pokmon GO was released in the U.S. Coincidence? Probably not. People are just planning their Pokmon GO strategies and learning about the metric system.
In fact, loads of players have reported alarming increases in their physical activity.
I still harbor reservations and/or I am resistant to change. Is this game scary?
While response to the game has been overwhelmingly positive with people trading stories of friendships and discoveries made, Pokmon GO has had its share of literal pitfalls. A girl found a dead body while playing
, a group of teenagers used the app’s in-game features
to lure people close and rob them, and police departments have even issued mildly bemused warnings to players reminding them to do basic things like look both ways before crossing the street.
The nature of the game also means you may be tempted to loiter and tresspass a little. How far are you willing to go for a Pokmon? Kayaking in a fountain
? Sneaking in a neighbor’s backyard? It’s happened. One guy has even made a few dubious friends after his home — a refurbished church — was designated a Pokmon Gym. We’ll save you a question: A gym is a place where you can take your Pokmon and fight them with other nearby people’s Pokmon.
Anyway, this poor guy now has people parked in front of his house at all hours, tapping on their phones like lunatics in a quest to be the very best. (That’s a Pokmon reference. You wouldn’t get it.)
This seems complex. Next you’re going to tell me it gets even MORE complex.
It does. Really, there’s so much else going on. Playing the game will net you things like potions and stardust and candy and then there’s the issue of evolving Pokmon and trading them, and there are plans to release a companion wrist device
that alerts players of nearby Pokmon even without a phone in hand. Oh, and there are teams. There’s no need to get into that. You learned what a Pokmon was today, and that’s enough.
When will this go away?
So far the game is a phenomenon. Nintendo’s stock has skyrocketed
. The app is already netting more downloads
than the dating app Tinder, and is on pace to outperform Twitter in daily active users. It hasn’t even been released in most of the world
Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/11/health/pokemon-go-guide-trnd/index.html