This Crazy iPhone Pokémon Game Is Going to Be Your New Addiction
The problem with Pokémon games isn't so much that they're for kids -- undeniably, they're fun as hell no matter how old you are. The real issue: they're so addictive that you'll find yourself not bathing and swimming in piles of take-out boxes amid your quest to catch 'em all. And now, the addiction is about to go mainline, as the latest Pokémon game will be free on every smartphone.
Goodbye, battery life and social life.
As reported by The Verge, the augmented reality game, Pokémon Go, is already available in select countries, including Australia and New Zealand. Unfortunately, two of the games' largest markets, the US and Japan, don't have Pokémon Go quite yet -- though you can check them out in the App Store and the Play store.
If you're unfamiliar with augmented reality, fear not. This is an explainer article, of sorts. In a Poké Ball (as opposed to nutshell): you install Pokémon Go on your phone. As you walk around in the real life, you'll encounter Pokémon, kinda like how Ash did in the virtual world. Water types live near water, ground types live on the ground, and Jigglypuffs live near Chris Christie.
OK, that last one's made up. But let the official Pokémon Go website explain further:
"As you move around, your smartphone will vibrate to let you know you're near a Pokémon. Once you've encountered a Pokémon, take aim on your smartphone's touch screen and throw a Poké Ball to catch it. Be careful when you try to catch it, or it might run away! Also look for PokéStops located at interesting places, such as public art installations, historical markers, and monuments, where you can collect more Poké Balls and other items."
You can play all alone, or, as is the crux of increased fun and true addiction, you can play Pokémon Go with friends, too. There's even a $35 wristband you can buy to accompany and enhance the game that's kinda like a Fitbit, but for Pokénerds, coming out later in July.
While Pokémon Go is free to download, in-game purchases allow you to "spend real money on PokéCoins," which "can then be exchanged for power-ups, extra items, and other enhancements." Now's a great time to cash in those Bitcoin for PokéCoins -- you'll be a regular Poké George Soros.
Nintendo and developer Niantic Labs haven't given a US release date yet for Pokémon GO, so you'll just have to stay tuned for that -- knowing full well whenever the game drops Stateside, you'll be able to point back to the day of your relapse.
Just make sure you're not walking into traffic while catching all those Koffings and Geodudes.