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If You Haven’t Already Downloaded 'Pokémon Go,' You’re Screwed

Gyms are going to be stacked.

by Alanna Rizza
Jul 12 2016, 2:49pm

If you're a Canadian who hasn't already illegally downloaded Pokémon Go, then dodging poles and accidentally finding dead bodies won't be your only challenge while playing the game.

Impatient gamers who can't wait for the official release may be finding alternative ways to stack the cards in their favour, making it tougher for those waiting for the real thing to compete.

Pokémon Go was released in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand on July 6. But since there isn't a set official release date for Canada, gamers are finding other ways to play the augmented reality game by location spoofing and tricking the game into thinking they're travelling further distances in order to catch 'em all.

"Whether you wait for the legal version or not, there are always gonna be elite players of every game who are devoting 24/7 of their time to it," said Tanisha Gordon, who started playing the game about three days ago by jailbreaking her phone.

READ MORE: Pokémon Go Isn't Very Good but It Will Be Huge Anyway

"I've collected pokémon from Venice Beach, Times Square, Central Park, Santa Monica Pier, Disney World [and more]."

By using an app called Location Faker, Gordon is playing the game in Toronto but the app tricks her phone and Pokémon Go into allowing her to catch pokémon anywhere around the world without her even having to walk down the street. (Editor's note: Some users have reported being banned for using GPS spoofing.)

Getting access to "gyms," the game's battle arenas, may also be trickier than expected once the game finally becomes available in Canada.

This means that these early pokémon trainers have a head start in catching and training their pokémon as well as gaining control of gyms before the game is even released. Gyms can be accessed at level five and after picking which team you would like to join (yellow, red, or blue), team members then work together to defend gyms from the other teams who may try to battle their pokémon.

Gordon said she's already controlling a gym in a small town in Illinois and that she doesn't feel too bad about the players who are waiting to play the game legally. She thinks the real fun of the game is actually catching the pokémon.

"Most gyms to enter require you to have anywhere between 500 and 1,000 CP (combat power), and it's only day three. That number is going to skyrocket. They'll have to spend real money."

All pokémon have their own CP and HP (hit points); this indicates how strong they will be in battles.

Jake Yan also isn't worrying too much about the incoming pokémon trainers who are waiting to legally download the game. He said he has also been playing for about three days and that he's helping defend a gym in Kirkdene Park in Scarborough, Ontario and another gym at The Toronto Zoo.

"It's a free game so it's not like I'm really pirating it and taking money away from other people," Yan said.

But Canadians who haven't made US iTunes accounts think these early Pokémon Go players have an unfair advantage.

READ MORE: 'Pokémon Go' Is Grabbing 'Full Access' to Some Players' Google Accounts

"I am angry because the game hasn't been released in Canada at the same time as its official release. That means I have to wait and watch other people play the game while I'm waiting. Even when the game is released in Canada, I won't have the same anticipation I had before," said Brandon Chung. "People will find a way to get something illegally."

He said he will download Pokémon Go when it's available even though battling in the gyms may be more of a challenge.

But for Alex Monaco, it's not trainers getting a head start that pisses him off, it's the setup of the gyms.

"Pokémon Go in general is so different from the Pokémon games I grew up on. Pokémon Go sort of took away a lot of things I liked about it. Like sure you still go around and catch them, and it's cool to see them just them hanging around your neighbourhood in this sort of augmented reality, but you don't train your pokémon and fight like the way you do in other Pokémon titles," he said.

"Pokémon Go is basically some gimmicky app that I don't really see myself putting any time into, regardless of some people getting it early."

Image via Jordan Pearson

Follow Alanna Rizza on Twitter.

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Alanna Rizza
Alanna Rizza VICE