An idiot’s guide to Pokémon Go

Because you’re a grown man and don’t want to catch them all but want to be in the know.

Meryl D'Souza July 12, 2016

You’ve heard people taking about Pokémon Go. You probably thought it wasn’t a big deal and the chatter would die out soon enough, but suddenly it’s all you’re seeing all over your newsfeed.

And it’s only getting worse. Websites, celebrities and people of all ages all around you are talking about it and you have no idea what this thing is. Don’t worry we've got your back. Here’s everything you need to know about Pokémon Go

What is Pokémon Go?

In simple terms: it’s a smartphone gaming app for both Android and iPhone.

If you want to sound like a know-it-all: Pokémon Go is an augmented reality game based on the Pokémon franchise that ruled (and in some cases ruined) most millennials’ childhood it the late ‘90s.

How does it work?

Pokémon Go, uses your GPS and clock to detect your location on the in-game map. The app uses geographic markers to determine Pokémon habitat and decides which Pokémon appear around you. Which essentially means water-type Pokémon should appear near water.

So what is the objective then?

Well, you collect Pokémon and go to “PokéStops” to pick up items that will help you capture more Pokémon.

That’s it?

No, not really. There are also gym leaders and other trainers whom you can fight for fame, glory, and loot. You can even customize your in-game character’s look and name. It’s a fight for territory in your city.

Sounds tiring

It is, but the game requires players to travel around quite a bit before they catch Pokémon. Like Ash Ketchum – the protagonist in the Pokémon TV show that started it all – you’re going to have to travel far and wide to become the very best, like no one ever was. 

That’s a good thing, right? People walking around. It’s a form of exercise.

Well yes it is, but there are better gaming apps dedicated to the workout cause. With Pokémon Go, you’ll only be walking and worse still, you will have to stare at your screen the whole time. 

Isn’t that dangerous?

Umm… yes. 

Any reported problems?

Sadly, yes. When compared to people finding dead bodies and robbers laying traps for innocent players in the West, mishaps in the UAE are not as severe. Still the onus to endanger themselves or those around them falls on players.  

Dead bodies? Accidents? Why would they make such a ridiculous game?

It might seem preposterous, but the Pokémon franchise is a juggernaut that’s generated more than $40 billion worldwide over the past two decades.

If it’s such a big deal, why did a Pokémon game take so long?

Because the Pokémon game franchise belongs to Nintendo – the creators of Super Mario, Donkey Kong and the like. Up until now, Nintendo wanted its game franchises exclusively for consoles made by the company.

So what’s with the sudden change of heart?

Their last console, the Nintendo Wii U, is the worst selling console in the Japanese company’s history. 

Have things changed with this game?

Apparently they have. Since the launch last week, Nintendo’s stock is up by 10%.

So we can blame Nintendo for this Internet craze?

Well, Nintendo and Niantic.

What is Niantic?

Niantic is a company that develops augmented reality mobile games. The company’s CEO is John Hanke – a former Vice President of Product Management for Google's "Geo" division. Hanke was also one of the founders of Keyhole – the company that Google bought to get Google Earth rolling.

Wait so there are more augmented reality games?

Nice of you to finally wake up. Of course there are. The biggest one, Ingress, belongs to Niantic as well – although Pokémon Go will overtake that and any others in the coming weeks.

What more should I know about the game?

The game will drain your phone’s battery life and probably use a huge amount of your data.

No, I meant like insider stuff, tips that would make it seem like I actually play the game.

Aside from actually playing the game you could use this hack to get on everyone’s good side. When the game starts, there’s a way to get hold of fan-favourite Pokémon, Pikachu. Here’s how you do it: