Pokémon GO is here and it’s here to stay, and for those who are wondering why there is too much hype about it, imagine a game gone so viral that the number of active users worldwide threaten both twitter and Facebook usage. On Monday, Pokémon Go saw just under 21 million daily active users in the U.S., topping Candy Crush’s rumored peak audience in 2013. Being in third world country (I think), the game is not yet officially rolled out in Uganda (for now officially only available in United States, Germany, Australia, and New Zealand) in fact, you will have to first tweak your Google play store location settings with the instructions here in order to get it or any other geographically restricted app. Android users can thereafter download the app  here.  As expected– out of curiosity and all this online hype, I decided to give this paradox of a game a “GO” and I have found these little monsters in several places around Kampala.

Just like Snapchat, the game may not be for all

The augmented reality-infused Pokémon app launched last week, and spread like wildfire over the weekend and after teasing the above featured image on my Facebook wall, several questions came rolling in, and in usual Techjaja tradition, I just wrote a post about it.

For starters, the learning curve of this augmented reality game is directly proportional to one age. Seriously, youngsters will swiftly get into the groove than us who are aging gracefully. However, as a tech and game pundit, I never give up.  This game reminds me of Snapchat when it had just launched, no worries we already have a dummies guide for that.  What has made the game very interesting is that it superimposes little monsters known as Pokémons onto the real world and you have to walk distances and places just to find them, its like some kind of treasure hunt, but instead of hunting for real gold, you are hunting for Pokémons.

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The App utilizes your camera, location settings and Google maps in order to pull off most of its magic and in fact, after successfully downloading the game it will request access to your contacts, location and a lot of other personal information (making you feel like you are giving it all your life’s secretes). It relies on an internet connection that regularly fails, and the game itself is prone to crashes.

My Experience so far is…..

After installing and getting logged in successfully, you’ll get a brief introduction by the dreamy Professor Willow, who’ll give you an introduction to the game, and walk you through catching your choice of the three starter pokémon — either a Charmander, Squirtle, or Bulbasaur, which should all be familiar to Pokémon fanatics. Just like any other great game, you have the ability to customize your character’s looks (no black character option) and also choose your character name.

After that though, the game pretty much leaves you on your own, aside from a small tips section that mostly explains basic map icons.  But there three basic parts to Pokémon Go: catching pokémon, visiting pokéstops, and gym battles. Well I am still trying to struggle with the first two, the app will make you move places as you try to hunt down the pokémons. You will find several in Kampala, I found several Pokémons at the supermarket, Ntinda, Bugolobi basically you will find them in many places and the satisfaction derived from catching them is hard to express in words.  I left my cart on the upper floor in one supermarket just to go and hunt for a Pokemon that was hiding in the cloth section. Yes, its that addictive. Well, I will not go into the nitty-gritty details of this viral game.

Take care while Playing (Here are some tips)

Granted, you will look like a fool when other people see you trying to point your phone at them in the name of trying to catch a poké or two. You will find them in the most unexpected places as some poke’s are hidden in police stations so I will leave that to your fair judgement. Since the app is always running constantly in the background, buying an external battery will come in handy. Hopping on a bicycle is a fun, fast way to hatch pokémon eggs quickly and if you are planning to play this of a long period over the weekend, make sure to stay hydrated. It also advisable to consider turning off the augmented reality interface — it’s fun to see pokémon in the real world, but the camera consumes more battery life and constant movement can make pokémon more difficult to catch. Since the game interacts with your surroundings, make sure to always be aware of what’s around you and people nearby.