Global gaming phenomenon Pokémon Go has taken over this summer and is rapidly driving kids (and plenty of grown-ups) insane.
Still not up to speed? Here’s everything you need to know — from Abra to Drowzee.
Reboots, revivals, and remakes are all over TV and cinema screens at the moment (Cold Feet, Star Trek, Ghostbusters, to name a few), but by far the most successful comeback of the year has been on smartphone screens.
Pokémon Go is a new mobile version of the game originally developed for Game Boy (remember those grey hand-held gaming devices?) in 1995.
Since launching initially in the US, the app has overtaken the notoriously addictive Candy Crush to become the biggest mobile game ever, with 21m daily active users in the US alone.
But Pokémon Go isn’t about mindlessly matching trios of treats, oblivious to what’s going on around you. The game uses augmented reality (AR), so your surroundings become part of the action. The aim is to catch as many of the 100-plus Pokémon as you can.
The little animal-like characters, who have names such as Squirtle, Pidgey and Drowzee, appear at random as you walk (or run, or bike, or bus — basically any transport method that doesn’t disrupt your GPS signal) around, and you have to ‘throw’ a Pokéball at them by swiping the screen to catch them.
To replenish your stock of Pokéballs and collect other useful items you have to visit Pokéstops, which are highlighted on the map and give you interesting facts about the local area at the same time.
The app itself is free to download and play, but you can acquire additional items by buying PokéCoins with real world money.
Catch enough Pokémon and you’ll gain XP (experience points) and progress through the levels, then, when you reach level five, you can visit ‘gyms’, at significant landmarks, to train your Pokémon and pitch them in battle against other trainers.
At its simplest, Pokémon Go is a fun pursuit that is getting people active in a way not normally associated with computer games.
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