The newly released Pokemon GO game isn’t even technically available in the UK, yet it’s already a huge hit with gamers.
The augmented reality game lets you see, interact with and catch Pokemon in the real world, using the camera on your smartphone. Cubone, Zubat, Spearow – all the gang are hiding in your town, just waiting to be discovered.
If you have any idea what we’re talking about, then you’re probably feeling pretty nostalgic and excited right about now. (And if you haven’t got a clue, we’ve got some old episodes of SM:TV Live that should get you up to speed on all things Poke.)
Pokemon GO encourages its players to get out and about, so here are some pearls of wisdom for any budding Pokemon masters hoping to catch ’em all in Leeds.
Reddit is your friend
— plzcovermyheart (@PAEWEAP) July 10, 2016
The Leeds subreddit hasn’t been this busy since – well… ever. But after a fair few tech savvy locals managed to download Pokemon GO early, the online forum started buzzing with tips, tricks and endless Pokemon chat. If none of your mates are admitting to playing the game, you can make some new friends on Reddit.
There are already meet-ups happening
Saw a group of lads at Leeds train station seshing Pokemon go😂😂 #caughtthatsquirtle
— Laurence Earnshaw (@LauzEarnshaw) July 11, 2016
Although gaming is traditionally a bit of an anti-social pastime, Pokemon GO encourages users to get out of the house. As a result, both formal and informal meet-ups are being organised (or just spontaneously happening when a Squirtle appears) in Leeds – perfect for anyone who wants to train en masse. Again, Reddit is the place to go to find out about these, but stay safe out there, kids.
Meanwood is a hotbed of Poke activity…
— Kaylee (@Kaylee_01) July 11, 2016
Meanwood is super popular area for hunting wild Pokemon, visiting PokeStops and attempting to gain control of local gyms. Simply plonk yourself in Meanwood Park and – a few hours and 10 miles’ worth of walking later – you’ll snag a ton of sweet critters without dicing with death on busy roads.
… but Burley is pretty hoppin’ too
Wish Pokémon Go would hurry up and come out so me and my pals can absolutely dominate Burley
— Jake (@jakegodward) July 11, 2016
Closer to the city centre, you’ll definitely bump into other trainers in Burley. Like Meanwood, there’s a (significantly smaller) park here for safe playing, but competition is fierce for gyms and objects in this area.
If you’re a student, you’re going to have a bad time
Dissertation deadline looming? Forget it, Jake – it’s Poketown.
Businesses are cottoning on fast
#PokemonGO fans, I have been told that there is a Mr Mime lurking outside our Leeds shop, I wonder what is downstairs?
— Travelling Man (@TravellingManUK) July 7, 2016
From club PR teams to local restaurants and comic book shops, suddenly everyone in the city is trying to lure us all to their premises with the promise of rare Pokemon. Which, frankly, is kind of creepy.
You’ll find yourself stealing joy from children
— Michael Urness (@WhoMikeUrn) July 10, 2016
Speaking of creepy, Leeds has at least one gym located inside a school. Pokemon might originally have belonged to children of the ’90s, but (thanks to endless reboots) kids today somehow think they’re entitled to play Pokemon GO before their elders have had a proper try. And they all own smartphones too, what’s the world coming to?
So you may well find yourself competing directly with a child – and crushing them mercilessly – as you travel around. Don’t worry, it’s character building.
There are some weird and wonderful gym locations
When Pokemon Go finally comes out on the App Store, I'm hoping that I can find an Ekans down at Elland Road 😂
— We Are Leeds (@weareleeds_) July 11, 2016
And not all of them come with a possible restraining order attached. Bridgewater Place, St Pauls House and even Elland Road can all (hypothetically) be yours if you and your Pokemon can be the very best, like no one ever was.
You can kiss your lunch breaks goodbye
If you're not spending your lunch roaming around Leeds catching Pokemon and finding Pokestops, are you really doing life right? #PokemonGo
— Kieran Whittaker (@WhittakerKieran) July 11, 2016
But the step count on your Fitbit is going to go off the charts when you sprint down to Clarence Docks and back at lunchtime instead of scrolling through Facebook for an hour at your desk.
Want water? GO to the well
— Raymond Theakston (@befuddle) July 11, 2016
Why would I venture down to the docks on my lunch break, you ask? Because water is where you’ll find the water Pokemon. You’ll find Magikarp and tons his fishy pals both here and along the canal.
You’re going to have to step outside your comfort zone
— John Wendels (@JohnWendels) July 10, 2016
Although we wouldn’t advocate sneaking into any police stations or court buildings, regardless of how good the Pokemon hiding inside might be. That being said, you’d better get used to loitering in and around cricket clubs, churches and even blocks of flats if you want to become a true Pokemon master. If you have a dog, that’s a great cover, and they’ll love the extra walkies.
The servers aren’t perfect
Pokemon servers are down for me but this kid next to me is playing, is it rude to take his phone and throw it across the room
— sab (@shvrkives) July 11, 2016
Don’t despair if you can’t always successfully log-in to play with your Pokemon – lots of people in Leeds are playing, and the game is still very much in a beta stage at this point. Try again later, and maybe crack out your Gameboy to pass the time.
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Main image: Michael D Beckwith / Flickr / CC and Getty Images