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Pokémon GO: Everything a non-player needs to know


It’s been almost a week and you’ve noticed weird things. Strange things. People are suddenly everywhere, staring at their phones, babbling and making strange sounds. Some are overly excited and making noises that sound like a sneeze. No, this isn’t the zombie apocalypse. It’s the Poképocalypse!

What you’re witnessing is the new Pokémon GO app in action. Maybe you’re not a Pokémon person, maybe you don’t like newfangled technology like cell phones or video games. Regardless of the reason, you’re probably going to be encountering a lot more Pokémon GO people. Don’t worry, though. We’ve compiled all the necessary information you need to coexist with these strange creatures.

pokemon go rattata

They are everywhere! Even on my living room table.

First, the basics. Pokémon GO is a mobile app that allows players to find Pokémon. Pokémon are cute little creatures with silly names like Jigglypuff and Pikachu (not a sneeze). Players go around and “capture” these creatures with Poké Balls. Some creatures have unique characteristics that translate to real world geography. Water Pokémon are obviously going to be near a water source. Players can also activate their phone’s camera to view the Pokémon in the real world. The creatures can appear in very interesting places like on the bus, at their desk, and even in a toilet. It will still be a little weird when you watch someone pointing their phone at an empty toilet, but it’s okay. Just hope they got a rare Pokémon to make the trip worth it.

The app uses GPS to “locate” the player and give it hints on Pokémon that are close to them. The range for capturing Pokemon is fairly generous, about a block (I’d estimate half a city block) of distance from player to Pokémon. Unless you have a significant piece of land, you shouldn’t be seeing anyone climbing fences and traipsing through the backyard. You are probably still safe to holler at people from your front porch to get off of your lawn, though.

Pokémon GO also has “PokéStops” where players can collect pokeballs and other non-creature goodies. These are going to be public places like tourist landmarks, libraries, schools, parks, etc. You’re probably going to experience a few months of people distractedly wandering about with their phones. The age range is pretty vast for the game as well. While it may be cute for a 10 year old to be playing, there are just as many people who are 20, 30, and 40+ who are also enjoying the game. They’re all just kids at heart anyway.

Players can also battle each other at the local gym (and sometimes a bar or other seemingly random locations). They don’t have to go inside the gym but they might be sitting in a group in the parking lot looking like vagrants with smart phones. You’re not wrong. But they should be harmless. The point is you’re going to be surrounded by them for the short term. Luckily their noses are in their phones and you shouldn’t have to interact with them much, if at all.

Most Pokémon GO players should be respectful and not totally rude. Unfortunately there are going to be people who don’t observe common decency and respect for their fellow humans that are both players and non-players. Please don’t let that ruin your opinion of Pokémon GO players or people in general. The hype will surely die down a bit after a few months and life may return to normal. Or you may end up finding yourself wondering what all the fuss is about and going to iTunes or Google Play to download the game for yourself.

Want to learn how to play?? Check out our beginners guide to Pokémon GO!!

Have you started playing Pokémon GO yet? If so, what do you think? If not, why not? Let us know in the comments below, or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.

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