pokemon goIn the past few days, how could you help but notice knots of pedestrians seeming to wander aimlessly around neighborhoods with downcast eyes fixed on smartphones. You know by now they’re neither lost nor phone zombies. They, like millions (no exaggeration!) of others have been captivated by a quest to capture beloved Pokémon, like the character Pikachu.

What’s all the fuss about? Z’Scoop’s Pokémon Go primer will help in shedding light on the phenom.

First of all, Pokémon Go is a location-based augmented reality game employing  GPS and cameras on mobile devices that invites players to experience real time adventures in search of Pokémon creatures.

Pokémon Go was developed by the San Francisco-based Niantic mobile game company and released as a free-to-play app for Apple and Android devices on July 6th, 2016. In less than a month, the game was downloaded an estimated 75 million times, surpassing many of the mobile market’s top apps. It’s one of the most impressive “overnight sensations” on mobile devices to date.

pokestarterBegin playing Pokémon Go by creating an account through the app to record your progress and achievements in the game. When you first log into the online world of Pokémon, a character named Professor Willow will welcome you by suggesting you customize your character’s appearance and enter a unique name. He will introduce the game by offering you a selection of classic starter Pokémon to choose from and capture so you can start your journey to catching them all! Charmander, Squirtle, and Bulbasaur are the standard starters, but if you walk away from this option after they reappear four times, a fourth Pokémon will emerge alongside them – the famous and beloved Pikachu.

how to playTo capture Pokémon, first enter the capture phase by tapping it when it appears on your map. Then flick a Pokéball at it and hope it doesn’t escape. Pokémon with higher CP (Combat Power) are harder to catch and are stronger in battle. To restock on Pokéballs and other items, visit Pokéstops in your area. Local landmarks like public artwork, libraries, churches, parks, some storefronts and more usually identify Pokéstops. You can see their exact location around you on your in-game map.

If you catch several of the same Pokémon, Professor Willow will trade them for candy, which can be used to power up your Pokémon or evolve them into more powerful forms. Catch and evolve them all to fill up the Pokédex of discoverable types and become a true Pokémon master!

pokeggsAnother way to discover new Pokémon, aside from capturing them in the wild, is to hatch them from eggs found at Pokéstops. To hatch eggs, put them inside of Incubators and travel 2km, 5km, or 10km (whichever distance is specified beneath the egg) while the game is running on your mobile device. The GPS functionality will track the distance you’ve traveled and log it. This feature is especially motivating to get gamers up and moving! Keep in mind that 10km eggs are more likely to hatch rare Pokémon that are difficult to find in the wild.

factionsOnce you’ve amassed enough experience to reach level 5, you will be able to choose to battle for one of three teams and access gyms throughout the game. There’s team Instinct, depicted by yellow, electricity, and gut instincts — team Mystic, depicted by blue, ice, and wisdom — and team Valor, depicted by red, fire, and strength. Help your team conquer the most gyms by battling with your strongest Pokémon and defending it against trainers from opposing teams. When Pokémon are hurt in battle, you can use the Revive and Potion items from Pokéstops to heal them back into fighting form. The higher your level, the stronger the Pokémon you encounter will be, so continue progressing in the game to become a valuable asset to your team!

pokegymSince the launch of Pokémon Go, several local brick and mortar businesses have seized the opportunity to use the game to their advantage. The simplest and probably one of the most common ways is the game’s Lure Module item. The Lure Module attracts Pokémon to that location for a period of time, drawing players into their stores to catch rare and unique Pokémon while grabbing a bite to eat or enjoying a drink.

Another practice has been using Player levels as well or offering discounts to players who catch a Pokémon in a store. Some retailers have set up “sandwich board” signs announcing which team is currently in control of the local gym and offering discounts to team members.

Pokémon game developer Niantic has stated that there will be sponsored locations arriving soon sparking new revenue streams in addition to in-app purchases and power-ups.

pokestop businessNo doubt about it. Pokémon Go has much of the U.S. up on its collective feet by encouraging people to get outside and explore. It’s proven to be a fun way to physically get people together, and who knew it would become a boost for local businesses as well.


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