Have you seen an increasing number of people looking at their phones, aimlessly pacing down the road and bumping into walls? Well, it’s not the next stage of the techno-rapture, it’s all down to a brand new game that’s getting users outside for once. If you’ve been anywhere near the internet over the weekend, you’ve probably seen people obsessively chatting about ‘Pokémon Go’, and if you’ve been wondering what it is, allow us to fill in the blanks.
The mobile app that has been flooding Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and even the news uses your GPS to create a real-life map on your phone and displays where those sneaky Pokémon are hiding. All you have to do is wander the streets, happen upon one of the critters and collect them. You can even take pictures of the Pokémon in your natural habitat using your camera and refill your Pokéballs by walking to places of note (or sometimes just your local Odeon) that have a podium, clicking on the target and spinning the image of the landmark – you might even learn a thing or two about the local area as some podiums have little factoids for your trouble.
And if hoarding Pokémon isn’t enough, you can visit gyms which can be found at larger landmarks (like the Thames Magistrate Court of all places) to go to battle with the AI.
Pretty simple, huh? Well, it’s not quite as straight forward as it sounds.
The app isn’t actually available in the UK yet so all those giggling pedestrians that are sprinting and stopping every 30 seconds and causing a lot of aggravation to the normals trying to get to work have gamed the system with one very simple trick. You can download the app created by Niantic for free by creating a New Zealand iTunes account. We did it by using these instructions. But, be warned, the UK release was delayed because the US and Australian releases were so popular they made the game stop working properly which we’ve experienced ourselves, and there’s nothing more disappointing than having a Magikarp within reach only for the app to crash.
But it’s not just loading times and bugs that are becoming issues, the app has also allegedly had some other news-worthy outcomes too. According to reports, nine people in the US have been mugged by three people who used the app to locate distracted users. A girl in Wyomming found a dead body while using the app. And everyone’s phones are dying a lot quicker as it drains your battery like no other app we’ve seen before.
All that aside, it is ridiculously fun and there’s nothing like bumping into other 'Pokémon Go' players on the streets, even if it is outside your front door at 10pm at night or while you’re queuing to snap up your Pokémon while on the South Bank. It’s also a great way to clock up the step counter, learn a thing or two about your local area and play a video game away from your sofa.
So get ready to become addicted because there are 133 types of Pokemon available and a standard pack can hold 250, and you know what they say – gotta catch ‘em all!
Like Pokémon? There's going to be a Pokémon party at The Macbeth on July 31. Yep. Find out more on their Facebook page.