I think it’s safe to say that Pokémon GO has become the most successful augmented reality game ever, for the simple fact that it’s already much more popular than the only other AR game I can think of, Ingress. For its follow-up to that title the same company, Niantic Labs, has partnered with Nintendo of America to release what appears to be a runaway hit.
Though officially only available for download in Australia, New Zealand and the USA Pokémon GO can already boast tens of millions of players, and is so much of a strain on Niantic’s servers that a wider rollout of the game to other markets has been put on pause.
So what’s the big deal about this title? How do you play it? And is there a way to get it if it’s not yet available in your country? Read onwards, and I’ll try to answer each of these questions as best I can.
What is Pokémon GO?
By far the best introduction to the game that I’ve seen is a five and a half minute video by Michael Fisher—aka Mr. Mobile. Over to you…
Pokémon GO Rules the World
For me there are two telltale signs that the game has infiltrated popular culture. My normob (normal mobile user) friends may not understand exactly what it is, but they’ve all heard of it. And in the past four days Pokémon GO has pretty much taken over Imgur.
If you need more proof, there’s even been a feature on Cosmo’s website.
How can I get it?
If, like me, you’re an Android user who lives in a country where Pokémon GO isn’t yet officially available, Android Police has got your back. They’ve ripped the program file straight from Google Play and have posted it on their APK Mirror site. You can download it right here:
Pokémon GO v0.29.0
Again, this is the exact same .apk file that you’ll find on the Play Store, and already has the hooks for Play Store updates built-in. Don’t go looking for this file anywhere else; backdoored apps with pre-loaded malware have already been discovered in the wild.
Some bonus trivia:
I had completely forgotten about this, but Google’s 2014 April Fool’s prank saw a Pokémon-capturing feature built into Google Maps:
It’s really not that dissimilar to the official release video for the 2016’s game:
And there it is, everything you need to know about Pokémon GO.