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How to Play Pokemon Go

by AFP
Sophia Kembowski—AFP

Sophia Kembowski—AFP

Interested in the new gaming sensation sweeping the globe? Here’s what you need to know.

Pokemon Go mania has players armed with smartphones hunting streets, parks, rivers, landmarks and other sites to capture monsters and gather supplies.

The free app, based on a Nintendo title that debuted 20 years ago, has been adapted to the mobile internet age by Niantic Labs, a company spun out of Google last year. Pokemon Go uses smartphone satellite location, graphics and camera capabilities to overlay cartoon monsters on real world settings, challenging players to capture and train the creatures for battles.

Here are monster-hunting basics for those interested in trying Pokemon Go.


Capture and train monsters to battle for control of virtual “gyms” displayed on smartphone maps of real-world settings. Players win by controlling gyms and collecting Pokemon.


Download a free Android or Apple smartphone Pokemon Go app.

Choose an avatar.

Walk to a ‘PokeStop’ icon pictured on the map and tap on it to reveal photos of the real-world location you are standing in front of.

Spin image to obtain supplies such as balls for capturing monsters.

Progress to the next level by visiting PokeStops and capturing Pokemon.


While walking, watch smartphone map for what appear to be bursts of leaves or grass.

Go closer.

When a Pokemon image appears on screen tap it.

Switch to camera mode and scan surroundings to see Pokemon.

Hold finger on Pokeball at bottom of smartphone screen, swipe to toss a ball and hit target to capture Pokemon.


Increase a Pokemon’s power using stardust and creature-specific candy found in the game.

Reach Level 5.

Walk to a gym, represented on a map as a tower.

Once close enough, tap on the icon to enter the gym and choose which team to join: red, blue or yellow.

If a gym is controlled by a rival team, challenge the ruling Pokemon for dominance.

After defeating a rival Pokemon, leave your own Pokemon to rule the gym.

For players in Pakistan, here’s a crowd-sourced map of all the currently known PokeStops and Pokemon gyms.


Essentially everywhere the app is available: so far in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the United States.

For the rest of the world, including Pakistan, it is possible to get access unofficially, by setting up an iPhone account in one of the above countries or, for Android users, by downloading a Pokemon Go APK file.

Watch out though: cybersecurity experts warn of at least one malware hack of the Pokemon Go app doing the rounds that can spy on users’ online activities and track their phone calls.


Carry backup power.

Use teamwork to keep control of gyms.

Don’t venture where it is not safe or you are not wanted.

Remember your location is being tracked so others might find you.

At the start, hold back from chasing the first Pokemon you see if you want a chance to get the coveted Pikachu later on.

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