Come with me on a journey through time and space….. to a world where some grown-ups are more concerned with small cartoon characters than with the state of UK politics (perhaps understandably so).
You may have heard the hype around Pokemon Go and wondered what it's all about. Should you get involved? Do you have enough time in your life to attend to another needy app? Will it be like when you thought "why bother with Snapchat", only to find you've missed the boat entirely on an era defying trend?
Such modern existential wranglings will be answered, as you join me getting started on a journey from non-gaming, non-Pokemon fan (aka. most people) to… well, we'll see where this ends up.
Download. Well, this is easy.
Open the app. Enter your date of birth. This bodes well for the makers of the game releasing the average age of players. I'd take an early guess at 31.
On Android, sign in with your Google account. You may have heard there is some kind of security issue with this, but the creators of the game have now assured this flaw has been fixed.
"Remember to be alert at all times. Stay aware of your surroundings", reads an alert, which is clearly aimed at idiots or is a disclaimer for future lawsuits…
Sign the terms and conditions. Clearly no one ever reads these gazillion-page essays, so I may have just committed to having to call my first-born Pikachu. Who knows?
There's a note at the top saying GPS signal can't be found, so turn on location settings to get rid of it.
"Hello there! I am professor Willow" says a jazzy looking character I assume is professor Willow.
I have no idea of the Pokemon back story and only a vague recollection it's to do with collecting animal-like characters (who can forget that "gotta catch 'em all" phrase). This is the first time Professor Willow and I have met. He seems nice.
"Did you know this world is inhabited by creatures known as Pokemon?" he asks, sounding like someone you might move down the carriage from on the last train home…
"Pokemon can be found in every corner of the earth."
"Some run across the plains, others fly through the skies, some live in the mountains, or in the forests, or near water…" he continues.
I'm definitely moving carriages at the next stop.
"I have spent my whole life studying them and their regional distribution. Will you help me with my research?"
At least it's not a drunken proposal.
"That's great! I was just looking for someone like you to help!"
Well, I guess I'm helping then.
"You'll need to find and collect Pokemon from everywhere."
"Now choose your style for your adventure."
Basically you're a man or a woman. I'm breaking down gender stereotypes by choosing the male character. You can mess around with hairstyles and clothes, but really, that's not what we're here for, is it.
"There's Pokemon nearby," the conspiracy theorist professor Willow insists.
"Here are some Poke Balls. These will help you catch one". This isn't a euphemism.
I appear on a map. Or my character does. I'm clearly already falling too far into this game.
Around me I can see three cartoon characters
Touch the screen and I'm prompted to turn the camera on. All of a sudden, the magic happens, and a small dinosaur character appears on my desk. It's called Charmander.
I'm prompted to throw Poke Balls at it. Which seems kind of cruel. But I give it a go.
Things flash, the dinosaur disappears and "gotcha" flashes on the screen
I have 600 XP total. I don't know what that means.
I'm given some information about this little orange dinosaur. Sorry, Charmander.
There's an option to transfer it. I don't know what that means either, but give it a go.
A message pops up.
"You can't take it back after it's transferred to the Professor". Just like Brexit, you can't take these things back.
"Do you really want to transfer Charmander to the professor?". Everyone wants to take Brexit back, so I'd best keep hold of Charmander for now I guess.
"Congratulations!" says the professor, "You've caught your first Pokemon."
"You're such a talented Pokemon trainer!."
I know, I say in my head. I've always felt like I has some sort of super talent hiding inside, and now, Professor Willow is confirming everything I've ever thought.
"What should I call you?"
I think professor Willow is flirting with me. Oh. No, this is just where you choose a screen name.
"Cool name bro" or something, says Willow, who's now asking me to find more Poke Balls and stuff that might be useful.
Now he's telling me about Pokestops, which are found near sculptures and monuments. Good job I live in London, where there are plenty of these things. What happens if you live in a cottage in the middle of nowhere?
I can register these things in a Pokedex and I should go into the world and explore.
Now, I'm heading out into one of the financial powerhouses of the world at lunchtime…. to catch some Pokemon.
It's like a giant virtual treasure hunt.