Booting up "Pokemon Go" for the first time can be pretty daunting, especially if you don't know anything about Pokemon. The app doesn't offer much in the way of detailed instructions, just a tips menu that's not even remotely exhaustive. But this list will give you all the basics for getting started in the most popular mobile game of the year.
1. All you need to do to find Pokemon is start walking. That street map in the game? It's a rough approximation of where you really are, and you make your avatar walk when you walk while the app is open. You'll probably find Pokemon no matter where you go, so you can just casually play as you go about your normal business. When you find one, your phone will vibrate -- tap the Pokemon on the map, then flick the Pokeball at the bottom of the screen at it. It's that simple.
2. If you do want to go on a purposeful hunt, tap the button at the bottom right of the screen, which opens this menu. The paws under the pictures of nearby Pokemon tell you how far away they are. The more paw prints, the further they are.
3. You can find out which direction to go for a particular one. If you select one of the Pokemon from that list, you'll see it at the bottom right of the screen with the distance indicator. If you turn in a circle, the button will put out a green pulse when you're facing the direction you need to go to find it.
4. Pay attention to what you're getting from PokeStops. It's easy to think of them as Free Pokeball Suppliers, but you also get other stuff from PokeStops. Much of it will be items to help in battle, but you also might get an egg or some other useful things you could very easily not notice you have.
5. Hatch the eggs. If you swipe left on your list of Pokemon, you'll see your eggs, which you can hatch by walking the designated distance with the app open. The longer the distance required to hatch it, the better the Pokemon inside is.
6. CP tells you how powerful a Pokemon is. Like, it's just a number that tells you how good it is. The bigger the number, the better. So those 10 CP Pokemon you get early on are not super useful.
7. Use lures and incense. Lures can be dropped on a Pokestop to draw Pokemon there for any player who is nearby, and a PokeStop with a lure has confetti flowing out of it, as pictured. Incense draws Pokemon to you specifically, so if you want to catch Pokemon but don't feel like going anywhere, you can do that.
8. Your environment will dictate what kind of Pokemon are around. I live in the middle of Los Angeles, so I get the type of Pokemon that live in desert environments (the rock/ground types). But if I head over to the beach, I'll find water Pokemon. It's not a hard and fast thing, that Pokemon types will stay where they "belong," but it's a good general guide.
9. You can make your Pokemon stronger and even evolve them into new types.When you're looking at a Pokemon in your collection, you can scroll down and see these buttons. You need a resource specific to that type to power up or evolve -- you get that resource by catching that type, and also by dumping them from your collection.
10. You only have so much space for Pokemon and items. By default, you have 250 spots for Pokemon and 650 spots for items. You can dump items and Pokemon you don't want. You also can buy extra space with real money.
11. Gyms are where you make your Pokemon fight. Technically, the point of "Pokemon Go" is not just to find Pokemon, take funny augmented reality pictures of them and collect them. Eventually, you're supposed to make them fight other Pokemon at a gym. You don't get access to gyms until level 5, though, so don't worry about them until then.
12. You can spend real money on stuff. Lures, incense, Pokeballs, egg incubators and lucky eggs -- which double all the XP you gain for 30 minutes -- are all purchasable with gold coins. You buy the gold coins with real money.