When it comes to cheating in video games, there are some pretty clear lines drawn in the sand in the gaming community. You have some folks who've sworn up and down that they've never tried a hack or cheat in their lives. And there are others who see no issue with messing around with cheats now and then. But the majority of gamers can agree that not all cheats are created equal, especially when it comes to specific Pokémon GO hacks.
The most popular of 'Pokémon GO' hacks is spoofing.
If you've never played a Pokémon title then allow me to give you the basic rundown. It's a role-playing game where you travel around a virtual world enslaving animals in specially designed entrapment devices. Through what one can only assume is Stockholm Syndrome and other implementations of emotional terrorism, one gets said animals or "pocket monsters" to fight other similarly captured creatures.
There's a "collective" element to the title too, and players are encouraged to capture and catalog as many different Pokémon as they can get their hands on. In other Pokémon games, different monsters were restricted to different titles that would be released in tandem: Pokemon Red and Blue, Gold and Silver, Ruby and Sapphire, Sword and Shield, and so on.
However, Pokémon GO works a little differently.
The game became a mobile smartphone phenomenon that got people flocking the streets and different corners of their respective cities to capture the next rare new Pokémon that's on the horizon. GO brought the world map element to real life, meaning that your mobile device's GPS needed to be at a specific location for a Pokémon to spawn.
I remember visiting Egypt with my family for the first time when the game dropped, thinking that the Pokémon Company would have the foresight to drop some cool, legendary monsters in the fertile crescent and nation that's home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
At the time, this wasn't the case, but these days, there are certain Pokémon that are only available in some parts of the world.
So how does GPS "spoofing" work? Is it legal?
If you've ever heard the term "spoofing" before, it basically allows users to fake the location of their smartphone to enable them a chance to encounter a Pokémon that's endemic to specific parts of the world. Want a Sigilyph? Then you need to be in Albania or Greece. Klefki? France. Corsola? Saudi Arabia. Chatot? Northern Australia.
For avid Pokémon collectors who want to physically embody the "gotta catch 'em all" philosophy, this could be a tough pill to swallow, especially if they don't have the time and money to travel all over the world just to capture some digital monster avatars on their phone.
This is why "spoofing" exists, but be forewarned: It's NOT considered kosher by the Pokémon Company.
If you're caught spoofing, you run the risk of being banned from playing Pokémon GO forever. Your IP address will be banned, and you'll never have access to all of those sweet Pokémon you've captured ever again. Sure, you could start up a new account all over again, but that probably requires you to get a whole new phone number and a new device to play the game from.
If you still want to run the risk of spoofing, then there are several fake GPS location apps you can download on your iPhone or Android device. If you are using a fake GPS location app, then you're going to want to set the GPS coordinates to the same region that you're playing from. You can do that by subscribing to a VPN service that'll allow you to change your IP address region.
While it seems like a lot of trouble to go through to capture some Pokémon, especially with the risks involved, many gamers are OK with the practice on an "ethical" level. There's something wonderfully "equalizing" about video games, but by creating such a wide cost barrier that allows folks who have the cash to jet set around the world a better chance at "catching them all," well, that doesn't seem fair to most folks.