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Since Pokémon Go launched last month, it has taken kids and adults outside to explore their neighborhoods, meet new friends and get exercise. Students, parents, doctors, lawyers and even Bear Essential News are participating in Pokémon Go!

Pokémon Go is a free mobile app from Niantic and Nintendo where a kid’s dream can come true! After downloading the app, it’s your turn to be the next Ash Ketchum and catch your own Pokémon! Pokémon Go was released on July 7 in the United States and July 14 in the United Kingdom. Right after its launch, Pokémon Go was more popular than Instagram and Snapchat.

After signing up, you design your own avatar. You choose your gender, hair and eye color, clothing and backpack. To play, you start walking around. Your avatar will move along the map on your screen using GPS. When you are close enough to capture a Pokémon, it will pop up on your screen and you will receive a vibration on your phone. To capture the Pokémon, you have to throw a Poke Ball at it.

To refill your stock of Poke Balls, you need to visit a Poke Stop. Poke Stops are usually historical buildings, landmarks, statues and other iconic places near the area you are walking around. Poke Stops let you collect items, experience and Poke Eggs that hatch into Pokémon. To hatch a Pokémon, you need to first put the egg in an incubator and physically walk in order to make it hatch.

After you reach level five you can visit a Poke Gym. Then you will be asked to join a team. The teams are Instinct (yellow), Mystic (blue) and Valor (red). The colors represent the original Pokémon game titles, Pokémon Red, Pokémon Blue and Pokémon Yellow, the special Pikachu edition. Currently team Mystic is the most popular.

Once you join a team, you will join millions of other players who work with you to be the most successful team. You will battle to control the Gym and receive Pokecoins and Stardust that help you level up and evolve your Pokémon. You will have fun playing Pokémon Go, but be careful where you are walking when playing and remind adults to never try to play Pokémon Go when they are driving. If you visit Pokémon.com you can learn more about Pokémon, watch videos and play games.

The DeConcini Building in Tucson (2525 E. Broadway Blvd.), home to Bear Essential News, is a Poké Stop. Kids under 16 are encouraged to stop into the Bear office to say hello, and pick up a newspaper and Bear magnet when they are using the Poke Stop.

Edition: 
Phoenix
Issue: 
August 2016