Chances are that before last week, you thought all Pokémon were Pikachus. (If you even thought about them at all.) But since the launch of Pokémon Go, everyone from your barista to your boss is suddenly aware--and in hot pursuit of--nearby species (there are 151 of them up for grabs as of now). Here, a pocket guide to those pocket monsters.
What it is: A free-to-play game from Nintendo that uses your phone's GPS and camera to locate and capture Pokémon in real time.
Why it's cool: Two words: augmented reality--which is a fancy name for the technology behind the game that transposes the creatures onto your screen. Simply put, it's what makes it possible for that Squirtle to appear in front of you at your grocery store. Or laundry room. Or gas station.
How it works: Your ultimate goal, should you accept the challenge, is to catch as many of these creatures as possible. In order to track them down, however, you have to get up and explore your surroundings. By doing so, you will come across new Pokémon, as well as, Pokéstops, which are typically local hot spots and places of historical value. This is where you load up on more Pokéballs (necessary for capture) and other valuables like a special incense that lures wild creatures to your location--or berries that you feed to higher level Pokémon that are harder to catch. Another plus? Toned legs from all of the walking.
Casual gamers can enjoy the pursuit and social aspect of the game, as a photo of a Weedle in your sink or a Psyduck in the park is Instagold. More serious gamers can compete for a chance to level up and claim ownership of Pokémon gyms through combat. Whatever your level of interest, now you at least now what all the buzz is about.