What In The World Is Pokémon Go?!?

Sigh. We really didn’t want to have to find out what Pokémon Go is and why it’s a thing, but with the rate at which we’re being inundated with headlines—like a Beyonce concertgoer being shamed for hunting a Clefairy and Rihanna declaring her shows a Poke-free zone—we feel we’ve been left no choice. If you’re as confused as we were about this craze and why Nintendo is making $1.6M a day off it, we’re reluctantly here to clarify. Here, six things you need (we use that term loosely) to know about Pokémon Go.


6 Things You Need To Know About Pokémon Go

Pokémon Go is an app that uses your phone's GPS and clock to make Pokémon appear in your location, but not literally in your location, just virtually. Basically, with Pokémon Go, you roam around the real world looking for Pokémon in the app world. Cool, right? (!?!) This interaction of real world and virtual world is known as "augmented reality," which you can read more about here. The more places you go, the more Pokémon you discover, and we suppose this is gratifying in some sense or else millions of people wouldn't be doing it.

If you've ever wanted to play a silly game while perusing a Holocaust Museum, the 9/11 Memorial or some other hallowed landmark, Pokémon Go is for you ... at least for now. Some venues are trying to get themselves excluded from the game so, you know, people can visit them to pay their respects as intended, but for now such restrictions are TBD.

Pokémon Go launched just last week, but there have already been numerous injuries reported as a result of people paying attention to the app instead of their surroundings. It's somewhat akin to texting and driving, with players narrowly escaping death as they weave in and out of traffic (on foot).

In St. Louis, several teens staked out Pokémon-populated areas of the city in order to rob players at gunpoint. Everything about this sentence makes us feel old and sad, but we'll suck it up and just say, "Be safe out there, players!"

Perhaps in response to last week's news that old people (read: people over the age of 30) are now using Snapchat in droves, the masses seem to have turned their attention to this new addiction instead. Users are spending an average of 43 minutes per day playing Pokémon Go, which makes the 25 minutes they spend on Instagram and the 23 they spend on Snapchat seem suddenly reasonable and healthy in comparison.

We live in a sedentary culture, and you don't have to move around to scroll through your Instagram or Snapchat feeds. Pokémon Go, however, requires that you explore the real world on foot, and users are already reporting that the app is facilitating more exercise than anything before it, including gym memberships and, erm, just taking a non-Pokémon-chasing stroll. You'd probably have to give us greater real-life rewards (e.g., couture) to motivate us to run around town in this manner, risking our lives and dignity, but we can't quite hate on something that's getting people moving ... just as long as they don't fall into a pothole in the process.