Pokemon GO is taking the entire world by storm, and the craze has finally hit us here at getwestlondon.

The augmented reality game was released in America, New Zealand and Australia and has since caused anyone who played the original Pokemon games on handheld devices to lose their minds.

Players can pretty much trek around their neighbourhoods and cities catching Pokemon, which, if you're anything like me, is a boyhood dream come true.

So, in the interests of the news (ahem), I volunteered to go out into the real world to try the game out and see what Pokémon I could catch in west London.

Getting Started

Technically, the game isn't available in the UK yet, but there were still ways round this by pretending you're American using an American iTunes account.

However, the app has now been released in the UK anyway, meaning it is available to all at last!

Once you have the app sorted you can begin your Pokémon adventure by choosing one of the three starters.

Naturally, as I had no idea what I was doing, I chose Bulbasaur, the worst of the three.

Once I had my first Pokémon and had gone through the rules with a professor, I was ready to step out of the front door and actually venture outside.


A wild Slowpoke appears!

When playing the game, your phone screen turns into a map of your area using the GPS system on your phone, so you can see your character walk about the place in real time.

As you walk about you also encounter different Pokémon based on where you are, so because of the area I was in seems to be more grasslands I encountered a lot of insect and bird types.

In order to catch them, you need to throw Pokéballs at them once you encounter them in the game, which can take one go or what seems like forever, depending on the Pokémon you find.

In my time spent in the wild, I managed to catch a Slowpoke which I found on a bridge over the Grand Union canal, although I must admit I did spent a good 10 minutes at this spot looking very strange.

There are also numerous Gyms and PokéStops dotted around the area where you can fight Gyms in Pokémon battles or get new Pokéballs in case you've run out trying to catch a pesky Pikachu.

Luckily enough for me, there is a PokéStop that also serves as a pub in Norwood Green called the Plough, which also has a Gym directly opposite that is also a church.

The Plough serves as a PokeStop, both in the game and real life

The Gyms appear at places of interest, as do the PokéStops, and they encourage people to be social while playing the game as people will congregate in the same areas.

Not your usual video game, is it mum?!

You can also use the camera on your phone to take photos of the Pokémon you encounter, so naturally I found one at the top of my street and got someone to take a photo of me and my new buddy.


Me and my new Pokemon buddy

I'm not going to lie, I think this game may take over my life pretty soon.

As a kid playing the original Pokémon games I always wondered what it would be like to have Pokémon in real life and now, thanks to Pokémon GO, that has kind of happened.

The game is due to be released in the UK very shortly and I'm sure once it is, I'll meet a lot more Pokémon fans at my local pub trying to beat the Gym across the way.

Anyway, I'm off to make up an excuse so I can get back outside and try and catch a Charizard or something.

Have you been playing Pokémon GO around west London? Let us know in the comments section below or drop us a tweet on @GetWestLondon.