To play the popular, rather viral, location-augmented Pokemon GO, the player has to download and log into the app to create his or her ‘avatar’ first. They get the option to choose the avatar’s style, hair, skin, and eye color, and can choose from available outfits.
Once the avatar is created, it is displayed at the player’s current location along with a map of the player’s immediate surroundings. Features on the map may include a number of PokéStops and Pokémon gyms. These are located at popular meeting places, such as temples, parks, or tourist monuments and attractions.
Now players have to travel the real world and the avatar too moves along the game’s map. Different Pokémon live in different areas. Generally, water-type Pokémon are found near water.
Whenever a player encounters a Pokémon, he can view it either in augmented reality (AR) mode or with a pre-rendered background. AR mode uses the camera and gyroscope on the player’s mobile device to display an image of a Pokémon as though it were in the real world. In fact, players can take pictures, using an in-game camera, of the Pokémon that they encounter both with and without the AR mode activated.
Unlike previous versions of the Pokémon series, players of Pokémon Go need not battle wild Pokémon to capture them but here they must throw a Poké Ball with the right force and at the right time to make a successful catch. After capturing a wild Pokémon, the player is awarded two types of in-game currencies — candies and stardust. The candies depend on what evolutionary chain a Pokémon belongs to.
These stardust and candies can be used to raise a Pokémon’s “combat power” (CP) but only candies are needed to evolve a Pokémon. Each Pokémon evolution tree can evolve or levvel up using its own type of candy. The player can also exchange the Pokémon with the Pokémon professor to earn one more candy and create room for more Pokémon.
Pokémon are displayed with their combat power, which is a rough measure of how powerful that pokemon is in battle and not all Pokémon will have the same Combat Power. When a player levels up, he will catch Pokémon with higher CP.
Players can also get points for various in-game activities, and the more Pokemon they earn, the higher their level will be in the game. When the player reaches level five, he can battle at a Pokémon gym and join one of three teams — red for Team Valor, with Moltres as their mascot; blue for Team Mystic, with Articuno or yellow for Team Instinct, which uses Zapdos as their mascot. These are the larger factions within the Pokémon Go world.
When a player enters a Pokémon gym that is controlled by a player that is not part of their team, they can challenge the leader and bring down the gym’s “prestige”. When the prestige of a gym is lowered to zero, then the player will become master of the gym and he can deposit one Pokémon to defend it. Similarly, the prestige of a gym under their control can be upgraded by battling the gym leader.