If you have managed to escape the phenomenon that is Pokémon Go thus far, then take a walk into your local town centre this lunchtime.
Notice people staring at their phones so intently that they are tripping over themselves whilst walking purposefully and swiping frantically at their screens?
Chances are, they are busy catching ’em all.
Since it’s launch last week Pokémon Go has exploded all over the world, with a reported 7.5 million downloads. The game that launched a thousand stories, including tales of hunting Pokemon in strangers back gardens, some Poké-rich restaurants with claiming a 10% rise in profits and even the alleged accidental discovery of a dead body whilst searching for Charmander.
Living in an old church means many things. Today it means my house is a Pokémon Go gym. This should be fascinating.
— Boon Sheridan (@boonerang) July 9, 2016
What is Pokémon Go?
Remember the craze that swept the globe in the early naughties sparking frantic purchases of Poké-cards that were ‘guaranteed’ to be worth thousands? Well Pikachu and friends are back and this time they are taking the tech world be storm. The Nintendo-owned franchise launched into the download market in the US on Thursday and is currently rivaling Twitter in terms of daily user numbers.
Available to download on Android or iOS, the augmented reality-style game is yet to officially launch in the UK, with Poké-fans currently downloading the US or AU versions to get their Poké-fix. The game uses your phone’s GPS and mapping features to make Pokemon ‘appear’ around your current location. In order to catch them, you have to walk around and find them in real time, in various unusual and far-reaching places.
How can it help me get fit?
The addictive game has one unanticipated side-effect; people are inadvertently walking miles in order to cultivate their Pokémon collection. The game is so addictive users have reported walking 15,000 steps a day just to capture the digital monsters.
Did I really walk 13 km yesterday… These Pokemon are getting me in shape
— Andrew Campbell (@ZyoriTV) July 10, 2016
Even more remarkably, some users are accrediting the app with helping them overcome anxiety and depression by encouraging them to leave the house in search for Pokemon.
Is it weird that #PokemonGO is helping my depression? It's:
-getting me out of my house
-making me social
— Angel (@angel_kink) July 9, 2016
Took another 4 mile walk and talked to 4 people along the way. #PokémonGo may solve obesity and social anxiety in one app.
— Allan (@AllanTries) July 10, 2016
How do I get it?
Although Nintendo are yet to release a definite date for the games UK release, you can download the game onto your smart phone by changing the ‘Language and Region’ settings to the United States, Australia or New Zealand. For a step-by-step guide see a tutorial here.