Everyone is addicted to Pokémon GO. Except people who claim they’re too mature for children’s games (but have Fantasy Football teams) and friends/family/frenemies who have laughed at you for hunting real yet imaginary monsters and are too stubborn to admit that they were wrong (and secretly want to own a Pikachu).
Provided you don’t fall into one of those two groups – and if you do, you probably chose to read an article about cat grooming instead – you might be a part of a different group of Pokémon GO players. We’ve provided a handy guide to help you identify your flock, but if none of these birds match your feathers, at least you’ll be able to recognize them on your next Pokéhunt.
Even if you don’t belong to one of these groups, Pokémon GO is a great way to make new friends. Not only does it make it easy to identify people that are similar to you, it means you can forego the small talk and jump right into the conversation that matters: When will MewTwo show up?
15 Sparklers (AKA Team Instinct)
When it comes to selecting a team in Pokémon GO, it’s not unlike high school. If you were to go by online opinions, Team Valor would be the jocks, Team Mystic the cool nerds and Team Instinct the dorks. For Potterheads: Valor is Gryffindor, Mystic is Ravenclaw and Instinct is Hufflepuff. Slytherin? Team Rocket, obviously.
Players are very defensive of their team choices. And of all three, the team that needs to be the most defensive is Team Instinct. Not only do have the lowest number of team members, but they’re also the targets of most hilarious mean memes. If Reddit and Tumblr are anything to go by, the other two teams consider Instinct to have a lower intelligence level than they do.
If you are on Instinct (welcome!), you probably chose it for one of 3 reasons: 1) You like lightning Pokémon 2) You saw Zapdos and couldn’t resist or 3) You were forced into it by well meaning Team Instinct friends.
14 The Jocks (AKA Team Valor)
Since Moltres is the mascot for Valor and their claim to the game is to enhance the natural powers of Pokémon, it makes sense that this is a team accused of
throwing tantrums being passionate. According to research by the Game Theorists YouTube channel (and based on the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator), extroverted players are more likely to pick Valor than the other two teams - which makes sense since people who pick this team are more aggressive in battle and, in general, are more competitive.
It’s also entirely possible that you chose Valor because you like the color red or have a soft spot for Charizard. If you’re a Game of Thrones fan – and consider yourself a follower of the Mother of Dragons – you might even have seen similarities between Valor and House Targaryen. What? It’s a perfectly valid way to make important life decisions. WWACTD? (What Would A Crazy Targaryen Do?)
13 Ravenclaw (AKA Team Mystic)
The Game Theory YouTube channel believes that Team Mystic is the team most likely to be picked by introverts. And since most gamers are introverts, it makes sense that this would be the most popular team in Pokémon GO. Mystic’s approach to Pokémon is also considered the most intellectual and gamers know that there’s value in a using strategic methods to win any game.
It’s a more scientific way of seeing Pokémon, with members selecting a team that prefers a measured approach to the game. They’re also interested in the evolution of their Pokémon. If Niantic ever include benefits based on team choice, Team Mystic players would probably gain something that assists in the evolution of their Pokémon.
There are two other reasons why you might have picked Mystic as your team: Firstly, Articuno – the mascot – is one of the best legendary Pokémon. And secondly, Team Leader Blanche is arguably the best dressed of the three leaders.
12 Team No Team
Fencesitters. That’s the correct term for the people who have elected to sit out of team selection. It’s not easy to avoid picking a team either – you have to actively choose not to. It’s possible that the game will (one day) give rewards specific to each team when they’re picked so this isn’t the worst strategy: Avoid picking a team until you know what the benefits will be. Actually, there’s a phrase for this: Blatant self-interest.
If you’re reading this, it’s unlikely that you haven’t reached level 5 yet, but if you are still in the early stages of the game and want to follow this path, you just need to avoid ever clicking on a gym after Level 5. If you do click on one by mistake, you can force quit the game to avoid being forced into choosing. It’s not like you’ll never have rage quit the game before (THANKS NIANTIC). Why not keep doing it if it serves you in your quest to become a Pokémon master?
11 30-year-old children
The first Pokémon game for Game Boy was released on 26 February 1996, which means that most of the first people to be bitten by the Pokémon bug are in their 30's now. After 21 years of Nintendo games, a wildly popular TV show and trading card game, Pokémon has never really left the consciousness of 30-somethings the world over.
And Pokémon GO is the perfect distraction from that horrible disease we’ve all caught by this age: Adulting. Seeing other people of the same age – who should also be doing supposedly responsible things – out playing Pokémon is comforting to the rest of us doing the same.
It’s not unusual to see people of this age group out on Pokéwalks together. And there are stories of people in their 30's enjoying the game with their kids. If nothing else, Pokémon GO is bridging the generation gap. Now if only we could make it a legitimate career and avoid ever doing real work again.
10 Know-it-all kids
Hands up if you’ve experienced a situation like this:
You arrive at a gym excited at the prospect of taking out another team. You’re proud of the CP 500 Wiggly Tuff that cost you 75 Great Balls and 4000 Razz Berries. You notice that there’s already a battle going on between someone on your team and the team that controls the gym, but there’s no one around that looks like they’re playing the game. Except for a 7-year-old with his mother’s iPhone. You briefly consider the possibility that this overgrown toddler is the owner of the 2000 CP Gyarados that is fighting furiously for the gym. You put it out of your mind – aren’t 7-year-olds still learning the names of shapes?
When the gym falls to your team (and the mysterious leader that’s taken over), you proudly add your Wiggly Tuff to the roster. Only to have it booted out. BOOTED. When you swear furiously at your screen, you notice that the 7-year-old is approaching you. And the next thing you know, he’s informed you that your help is not needed and that he would rather stay there the whole day defending the gym than have your pathetic Pokémon taking up space.
No? Just us?
Just wait. The 7-yea-olds are coming for you too.
9 Reluctant hangers-on
The best summation of this group of people comes from Tumblr user Reflektor:
“I hate how some people in my generation think it’s cool to hate on everything that’s ‘trendy’ who cares if you’re too much of an adult to enjoy Pokémon Go, Stranger Things and Zootopia? Newsflash Arthur, you’re only 20 and your parents pay your bills. Get your head out of your ass.”
Unfortunately for the haters, they’re most likely connected to someone who is on a quest to become a Pokémon master. And if they don’t want to lose their significant other/family member to Pokémon addiction, they have no choice but to accompany them on walks, hunts and hatching trips.
It’s not difficult to spot these individuals though. They’re the ones that don’t break into a sprint at the mention of a Dragonite on the next street. You’ll also be able to tell them by their permanently rolling eyes, frustrated sighs and dragging feet.
8 Team Rocket
Oh, hey it’s
Donald Trump’s philosophy
Prepare for trouble!Make it double!To protect the world from devastation!To unite all peoples within our nation!To denounce the evils of truth and love!To extend our reach to the stars above!Jessie!James!Team Rocket, blast off at the speed of light!Surrender now, or prepare to fight!Meowth!That's right!
While they might not be in their Team ‘R’ outfits, there are definitely members of Team Rocket out there playing Pokémon GO. How do you spot them? They’re the ones lurking behind other groups until they hear news about where to find a rare Pokémon. They’re also the ones doing GPS spoofing, which allows them to catch Pokémon and collect items from Pokéstops without leaving home.
It seems like a ridiculous thing to cheat at – it’s not like you can win an Olympic medal – and the best thing about the game is the excitement you get from exploring the outdoors in an attempt to fill your Pokédex.
In this case, though, Team Rocket will be blasted right off the game. Because Niantic is banning them for life. (GOOD.)
Like crossfitters, vegans and Crocs-wearers, you won’t have to look for this subspecies of Pokémon trainer. They’ll find YOU. And tell you, loudly; about how successful they are as Pokémon masters.
If you have friends playing Pokémon GO, you can identify which one of them is going to play this role in your group. Warning signs include: Screenshots of every Pokémon caught. Screenshots of their highest CP Pokémon. Screenshots of their Pokédex. Screenshots of everything. All day. And every time they level up, they’ll make sure you all know about it.
It’s entirely likely that they’ll be the first person in your group to collect all the Pokémon available in the game. You can’t avoid them. The best thing to do is to apply the same strategy as the one you use with your paleo-yogalates-crossfit friends: Smile. Nod. Humor them. Then send them passive aggressive memes that they’ll never understand anyway.
6 New to exercisers
Personal trainers have been including Pokémon GO in clients’ fitness programs. We kid you not. They’ve realized that it’s a great way to get people outside and exercising. Apparently hatching a 10k egg is a much better incentive than, you know, a healthy heart or a long life.
That doesn’t mean that it won’t be a struggle for them. And this is how you’ll know them on the streets. They’re the ones huffing, puffing and sweating after a 5-minute walk around a Pokéstop. If you have a friend who has very recently lost a lot of weight – seemingly out of nowhere – it’s probably a safe bet that they’ve been playing Pokémon GO.
This is good for players who have been struggling with weight and health issues but don’t have the motivation to exercise. Because, honestly, the treadmill isn’t fun. But hunting Pikachu is. And the more you walk, the more Pokémon you find so there’s a reward to every mile you do!
5 Obsessed fanatics
However they initially got hooked on Pokémon – via Gameboy, the TV show or the trading card game – the people in this group have been nurturing the dream of becoming a Pokémon Master for years. And now that they have the opportunity, they’re more obsessed with the game than anything else. They’re the Beliebers of the gaming world.
They know every Pokémon GO trick, tip and secret there is and, depending on their level of competitiveness, they’ll either share them with you or pretend they don’t know anything. In the pursuit of a complete Pokédex, they’ll go anywhere – even if it means traveling to different countries. The first person in the UK to complete his collection, Ahmed Ali, flew to New York so that he could find Tauros (who can only be caught in the North America.) And ftb_hodor – a Reddit user who has also collected all 142 available Pokémon – says that he walked 153km, caught 4629 Pokémon and hatched over 300 eggs. How’s that for
4 Angry nerds
If there are two things every Pokémon GO player knows, it’s that Mr. Mime is actually Donald Trump and that Niantic is going to mess up at least once a week. That’s where this group of PoGO players comes in: They’re the ones that sit on the Internet (mostly on the Pokémon GO subreddit) and shout at Niantic, at anyone related to Niantic, and to anyone who will listen.
The list of things they rant about include Niantic’s inability to communicate effectively, the tracking system that didn’t work, the tracking system that (suddenly) didn’t exist, the update that wasn’t really an update, and the company’s pathetic servers. In all fairness, they’re not wrong. And, even if you aren’t going to be a part of the angry web mob, at least someone is making sure Niantic knows just how badly they’re doing. They’re providing a real service – rant away, nerds!
3 Creative entrepreneurs
Pokémon GO has created a whole new side industry. From shop owners offering team discounts to kids selling battery packs at Pokéstops, there are enterprising people out there who have managed to capitalize on the game’s popularity. It’s a smart marketing move to offer rewards to people that put lures down at Pokéstops or, even better, to put lures down and use them as a way to attract customers.
There are also artists using Pokémon as a way of spreading their creations. People playing Pokémon in artist Nichole Dunigan's neighbourhood kept finding cute crocheted Pokémon while out Pokéhunting. And isn’t even selling them – she’s just making them because they make people happy. And for those of you who don’t live anywhere where you might find one of her creations, she’s uploaded the patterns so that anybody can make them for themselves. You just have to learn how to crochet. Easy.
2 Criminals and crime busters
There are hundreds of stories about how dangerous playing the game can be. From paranoid conspiracy theorists who think the game is a part of a government citizen monitoring plan to track citizens to unreasonable haters claiming that people have walking off bridges in attempts to catch Pokémon, there’s evidence of another kind of Pokémon player – the kind that uses it to take advantage of other people.
In Missouri, armed robbers set up a trap that led people to an isolated area where they could rob players that were looking for Pokémon. How? By using the geolocation aspect of the game to anticipate areas where Pokémon users would be most vulnerable. By locating Pokéstops that were in secluded areas, they knew exactly where to set up shop.
But Pokémon GO has helped in the crime fighting effort too. In Michigan, a wanted criminal entered a police station – which is also a gym – while playing the game. Because it’s such a small town, police immediately recognized and arrested him. Stupid really does exist out there, folks.
1 Everyone else
Don’t feel like you fall into any of the above categories? That’s OK. You’re just one of the general Pokémon GO playing – and loving – population. Maybe you put up one of the approximately 200 000 Pokémon GO related Spotify playlists. Or one of the people who chose the game over Tinder.
It’s also one of the few games that have a high retention rate. While media outlets predicted the death of the game after it lost 22% of its users in August, that means that about 80% of users are still playing it once a week. Since most mobile games only have a retention rate of 30% to 40% - Pokémon GO is succeeding where other games haven’t. That is, people download it and keep it installed. And since the average amount of time spent of Pokémon GO daily is higher than any other messaging service (at over 43 minutes), you’re one of the many people out there who are choosing to go outside to play the game rather than sit on your phone checking Instagram. Go you!