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And faked Pokèmón Go games with serious phone-pwning malware are already out there.
So play the real thing and get your Gmail pwned, or play the fake one and get your entire phone pwned. Your Choice! ha ha. :>(
/sorry about stupid political rant
//a pokemon video game would be cool... this doesn't sound all that fun. you just wander around looking at your phone?
///although I guess that's how a lot of people already live their lives anyway...
So, that's why a lot are outdated (they haven't been updated in a year at best), and why they're pretty random but are (or at least were) actual things - they're just spots that Ingress players thought would make a good portal. The guidelines leaned towards art/historical things, but there's plenty of other stuff that slipped through.
But in any case, you only have to be within 50 meters or so (~150 freedom-feet™) to catch the little buggers, so you could rescue that poor Pidgey from the hypothetical Sound Transit tracks from a safe distance.
A good way to learn about the game is to just play it. it's not super hard to play.
Boy, you really are a grumpy old man, aren'tcha? I'm surprised you didn't know any Pokemon fanatics when you were growing up. I'm a couple years younger than you are, but I've known plenty of people growing up (including one or two a bit older than myself) who have been crazy for Pokemon since middle school.
Personally, I missed the boat on this whole craze years ago, but I plan to look into Ingress as a result of this. And as dougsf said, if it gets people outside, exercising and meeting their neighbors (I've been hearing great stories from others about this aspect in particular), it can't be all bad. Some people just need to get used to the changes it may require in their lifestyle.
Based on your location and time/weather (water Pokemon spawn around waterways, ghost Pokemon spawn around graveyards at night, etc.), it spawns different Pokemon around you on the map at fairly random locations. You catch them by tapping your phone on them and playing a minigame, getting new Pokemon and XP.
You can use your Pokemon to battle at "gyms" (often monuments, parks, and outdoor trails), and depending on what team you chose at the beginning (yellow, red, and the best: blue) you can "take" gyms from your rivals by beating them at Pokemon battles, or reinforce a gym held by your own team by adding Pokemon of your own. Only a certain number of Pokemon can be at a gym at any time. It is a bit more complex but there are the basics of gyms.
There are also many "Pokestops" around where you can replenish items you need to catch, heal, and attract Pokemon. You have to be quite close to use them as to encourage walking over just driving around. You can use a Pokestop about every five minutes, so if you find one at a bar or restaurant (fairly common), you can camp out and keep getting more items every five minutes.
Cities have Stops and Gyms EVERYWHERE. Those is rural areas and suburbs may have to do some driving to more populated areas or parks if out of walking range.
There are also ways to level up and improve your Pokemon, but you will just have to play to learn everything else. I recommend it, it is really good, but also really janky and buggy right now.
Still worth checking it out, in a big way.
There's no direct reason for it to be a risk - phone GPS is pretty wobbly (your character will sometimes run around if you stand in place), and the "interact with stuff" radius around your character is enough to cross a four lane city street. That said, humans are often lacking in judgement and, for example, there are actively contested gyms at the Pentagon and White House (presumably by people with clearance to be there) that might lure tourists into restricted areas. Your phone vibrates when a Pokemon is in range, so if you're actually on the move, there's no reason to be glued to the screen, and a 6-mile walking loop on First-Cap Hills hit enough stops to fill my character's bag, so it doesn't seem like there's a strong incentive to hit every single pokestop, so much as to use them to restock as you go and to use as lure points.
Basically, people are still going to do stupid things, but I can't say the game isn't fairly well designed to not encourage harmful stupidity. So far, the biggest thing is that it's causing a lot of people to gather in parks around the country in the middle of the night, but most stories of run-ins with the cops have ended with the cop downloading the game so far.