I promise this is not going to turn into the 'we-caught-this' Pokemon journal. But like so many other things in life, there are educational aspects to most everything, including Pokemon GO!
For instance, CJ has researched the history and origin of the viral game. Here's what he has to share.
Chances are, if you've been outside in the past 2 weeks, you've seen several people staring down at their mobile phones while doing things like crossing the street or seemingly aimlessly walking around the block. In the past, these people were most likely texting, but today, they are most likely playing Pokémon Go. According to Wikipedia, Pokémon Go is a free-to-play location-based augmented reality mobile game developed by Niantic for iOS and Android devices. Although Pokémon Go was first released in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States on July 6th, 2016, the concept of an augmented reality mobile game where you must travel in the real world to accomplish tasks in a competitive fashion dates back to at least 2010, with the announcement of Shadow Cities.
However, Shadow Cities ended up being unpopular, so it was closed on October 7th, 2013, with little notice. Niantic, a developer group inside Google, was working on a similar game known as Ingress. Ingress was released on December 14th, 2013. Players of Ingress will likely recognize multiple aspects present in Pokémon Go (and vice versa) such as the stops where you collect useful items (named "Portals" in Ingress, "Pokéstops" in Pokémon Go), and the usage of the phone's camera. Several of the Pokéstops in Pokémon Go are re-used portals from Ingress.
For April Fools' Day 2014, Google altered their Google Maps service to actually include an augmented reality system where you could catch Pokémon on the map and trade the Pokémon with other players. While this event only lasted for one day, it would set the stage for what would become Pokémon Go. Eventually, Niantic split from Google, and became their own San-Francisco-based-company. In 2015, Nintendo, owners of the Pokémon franchise, announced a partnership with Niantic, and announced Pokémon Go.
SOURCES: http://microfloppy.net/2014/08/13/ingress-vs-shadow-cities/ http://www.theverge.com/2014/3/31/5566854/pokemon-google-maps-april-fools-2014
And Annabelle offers this explanation of how to play the game. ...
Pokemon GO is an app you can download for free on your phone. The game utilizes your GPS signal to place you on a map of your area. If you look around, you can see and capture your very own Pokemon! At first, you are introduced to Professor Willow, who tells you about things like how to catch your first Pokemon. By swiping your finger to “throw” a pokeball, you can catch your starter Pokemon- Bulbasaur, Squirtle, Charmander, or, if you walk away from those three, Pikachu! After the tutorial, you can walk around the map. One of the first things I recommend doing is finding a small blue thing on the map near you. These are called “Pokestops”. When you walk near it, it should grow to tell you you’re in range. If you tap on it and “spin” the image, you’ll get rewards! Pokestops refresh every few minutes, so make sure to come back!
One very important feature of the game is catching multiple Pokemon. Pokemon appear randomly on the map and you can tap on them to try and catch them! If it’s too strong or there’s something else you need to do, you can always run away, so there is no need to worry. When you successfully catch a Pokemon, it will be added to your collection and you are rewarded with candies of that Pokemon's type. You can use these candies to power up and even evolve your Pokemon to make them as strong as can be! At some point, you will be prompted to join 1 of 3 teams- Valor, the red team; Mystic, the blue team; and Instinct, the yellow team. The team you choose does not effect gameplay much, so choose whichever you prefer.
By now, you should also be able to challenge a gym! These are the large silver structures on the game map. The color of the gym corresponds to what team “owns” it. If you are on the same color team as the gym, you can train there by tapping on the gym and pressing the small boxing glove icon in the lower right corner. If you are on a different team, you can attempt to take it over by doing the same thing. To battle, rapidly tap on your opponent to deal damage. If you take over a gym, you can also place your own Pokemon to become the leader of the gym. If there is a gym with the same color as you owned by someone else, you can place your own Pokemon there to support it.
Pokemon GO has a fun premise and I would say it’s definitely worth the download. Beware, though, as it requires GPS, visual, and sometimes camera data, so it can drain your battery very quickly. If you have enough time and are willing to be out and about, download the game and “Catch ‘Em All”!