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Here’s Absolutely Everything You Need to Know About Pokémon GO

If you haven’t already heard, there’s been a new craze sweeping the nation: Pokémon GO. Kids and adults alike are ferociously downloading the app and heading outside to catch the famed “pocket monsters” in real time, in the real world.

We’re not gonna lie, it’s making us all kinds of nostalgic to see these beloved creatures make a serious comeback, but the real benefit of the game is how it encourages players to get outside and meet new people. Forget about the Xbox, your kids will be dying to actually run around the neighborhood this summer trying to “catch ’em all.”

Image source: Heather Newman
Image source: Heather Newman

The basic premise of the game is simple: catch Pokémon, take over gyms, and level up. Chances are, all of these terms mean nothing to you — which is why we’re here to provide a guide to the game and answer any question you may have! Rest assured, you’ll be a Pokémon master in no time.

Getting Started

Image source: Heather Newman
Image source: Heather Newman

Starting is pretty simple: you make yourself an avatar (AKA pick out a cute outfit) and use the map to see if any Pokémon are nearby. You can do this by checking the tiny sidebar on the bottom right of your screen, or simply seeing if any of the little guys have popped up around you.

Catching a Pokémon

Image source: Heather Newman
Image source: Heather Newman

Thankfully, catching a Pokémon is easy. All you have to do is tap on one when you see it. Next, a tiny circle will appear around the Pokémon. Drag your finger towards it, then let go to throw the Poké Ball at it. When the ball closes and tiny stars appear, you’ll know you’ve caught it. Your kids will be so impressed with your skills.

Understanding Poké Stops

Image source: Heather Newman
Image source: Heather Newman

It’s likely that if you don’t live nearby a Poké Stop, your kids you are going to want to travel to one. The stops, which act as power-up stations of a sort, are actual landmarks around your area. They vary from churches to bakeries to noteworthy locations like Lincoln Center. To utilize these stops, simply tap one with your finger and swipe across to spin it. After doing so, you’ll receive a series of random items (like Poké Balls and potions) to aide you in your Pokémon journey.

Joining a Team and Owning a Gym

Image source: Heather Newman
Image source: Heather Newman

Once you reach level 5, you’ll be asked to join a team. The options include: Team Mystic (blue), Team Valor (red), and Team Instinct (yellow). Once you select a team, you can start “battling” in gyms. Gyms are also located at notable landmarks, but seem to mainly be churches. You “battle” on behalf of your team, so when it comes to Pokémon GO you’ll never be lonely.

In order to “battle,” click the boxing glove in the bottom right corner. You will then be put into the ring against a Pokémon of another team. To try and defeat it, you will need to tap on your foe repeatedly until their health bar completely depletes. May the best Pokémon trainer win!

Understanding Common Terms

Here a list of additional terms and explanations to make gaming easy:

Lure: When a Poké Stop is dripping in what looks like pink flower petals, a lure is attached to it. This draws in Pokémon, making it more likely to catch a bunch in a 30-minute period.

Evolve: As you catch more of the same Pokémon, you’ll eventually be able to evolve it into a new kind of creature!

Lucky Egg: This item doubles any points you may get for 30 minutes, making it the perfect way to level up.

Incense: Want more Pokémon to come to you specifically? This item will make it more likely to catch ’em all while you’re at home or far away from a Poké Stop.

Egg Incubator: To hatch a mystery egg (which comes in sizes 2km, 5km, and 10km) you have to physically walk the noted distance after the egg has been placed in an incubator. This is a fun way to get exercise and a surprise Pokémon!

Paw Prints: When a Pokémon is nearby either one, two, or three paw prints will appear next to the creature. This shows you an estimate of how far you’ll need to walk to find it. If you select the Pokémon to “track” it, the number of paw prints will decrease as you get closer to it. This can be tricky and will definitely have you running around town.

Image source: Heather Newman
Image source: Heather Newman

Safety Tips

Image source: Heather Newman
Image source: Heather Newman

It’s great that you now know how to play, but it’s likely your kids may not always want their parent tagging along on their adventures. Here are a few tips to keep everyone safe while playing.

Stay alert: The game starts off with a warning for users to “be alert at all times” — which is easier said than done when you get wrapped up in the game. But it really is important not to focus solely on your screen and become unaware of your surroundings. Make sure to watch out for oncoming traffic and uneven sidewalk specifically.

Play in a group: The game has also been bringing people together, which may be a good reason to discuss “stranger danger” with your children. While it’s amazing that this app is encouraging people to exercise and make new friends, remind them not to be so trusting and to stay with a group of people they already know.

Don’t play and drive: If you have licensed teens in your home (or admittedly become addicted to the game yourself) remember not to drive while playing. It can be tempting as different Pokémon pop up in your car, but trying to catch one while behind the wheel is definitely dangerous.

That’s it! You’re ready to join your kids and conquer the world, one Pokémon at a time.

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