IF YOU witness hordes of adults walking around with their smartphones in hand, seemingly recording video footage — there is no need for concern.
They are more than likely just regressing to their childhood and attempting to capture all 151 Pokémon in the new mobile game called Pokémon Go.
This might sound a little confusing, so let us explain.
What is a Pokémon?
First created as a pair of games for the original Game Boy, Pokémon is now a media franchise including video games, card games, animated television shows and movies.
The concept of the games is based on fictional creatures called Pokémon, which are highly sought-after by humans looking to become Pokémon Trainers.
As a Pokémon Trainer, humans are guided by two main goals
The first is to collect all of the available Pokémon species found in the fictional world to complete their Pokédex.
Secondly, the aim is to train the most powerful Pokémon they have captured for battle in the Pokémon League against other trainers, becoming the very best.
OK, but what exactly is Pokémon Go.?
Pokémon Go is an augmented reality game — meaning it combines computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world. It was released on Android and iOS smatphones earlier this week.
The aim of the game is to give players the chance to complete the two goals of Pokémon Trainers in the real world using their smartphone.
How does the game work?
Essentially, events and objects in Pokémon Go have their own location within the physical world.
Using the GPS on your smartphone, the Pokemon Go app creates an in-game map, which is reflected by locations in the real world.
What this means is, in order to capture Pokémon, visit PokéStops or Pokémon Gyms, players will actually need to leave their current location and travel to a specific place, or feel incredibly smug if thier current location is one of those places.
Once the certain location is reached, players look at the world through their phone’s display, which combines the viewfinder feed from their camera and an overlay of 3D graphics.
How far will I have to travel to catch a Pokémon?
Nintendo has promised players that there will be a Pokémon within a five-minute walk of everyone, with phones vibrating every time one is near.
However, in order to complete their Pokédex, players will need to explore different geographical areas — for example, water-based Pokémon are more likely to be found near the ocean or rivers and nocturnal creatures will only be able to be found at night.
The aim is to encourage players to explore different regions within their cities, although there is also the option to trade Pokémon with others.
Landmarks that represent PokéStops and Pokémon Gyms will also be shown on the in-game map, which will allow players to stock up on valuable items such a Pokémon eggs and egg incubators or PokeBalls — used to capture Pokémon.
If you're feeling lazy, players can also use real money to buy PokéCoins, which can be used for in-game purchases of these items.
How do I capture a Pokémon?
After downloading the game, players will be asked to customise their avatar by selecting different genders, hairstyles and clothes.
Once this is complete, players will be asked to capture their first Pokémon, called a starter, which, true to Pokémon form, can be either Bulbasaur, Charmander or Squirtle.
The Pokémon is captured by flicking the Pokéballs that appear at the bottom of the screen — a direct hit will be most likely capture it.
With your first Pokémon captured, the aim is to levelling it up, so it will evolve and become stronger.
In the wild, tapping on a Pokémon will initiate a battle.
The success of capturing is determined by the Pokémon’s CP level, the type of Poké Ball and the players throwing technique.
How do I battle my Pokémon?
When a Trainer reaches Level 5, they can join either a Red, Blue or Yellow team and enter gyms.
At this point they will gain the abillity to have friendly matches against their team’s Pokémon or attack the Pokémon at a gym owned by their opponents or vice versa.
Is there anything I need to be wary of?
The game is a fun escape, but people need to remember that augmented reality combines computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world.
This means they need to be careful when crossing roads, railway tracks and other locations that may pose a threat to their safety.
Also trespassing could become an issue for the player wanting to capture them all.