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‘Pokémon Go’: Pikachu is a secret starter Pokémon, here’s how to catch it

Just about everybody is playing Pokémon Go — but with a bit of insider know-how, you can grab a starter Pokémon that’s sure to impress your friends and rivals. Informed trainers can ditch Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle and start the game with a Pikachu by their side.

Longtime fans will remember that Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle were the three starter Pokémon offered up by Professor Oak at the start of Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue. However, in Pokémon Yellow and the animated series, the protagonist was instead given a Pikachu.

That particular beastie became a mascot for the franchise as a whole, and is still one of the most popular Pokémon even twenty years later. As such, it was only natural that developer Niantic would include an Easter egg that allows players to set out on their journey with the yellow rodent in tow.

Related: Yes, it’s popular, but is ‘Pokémon Go’ even a video game? We debate

To do so, you’ll need to show a little restraint — as you start the game and see Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle surround you, ignore them. Walk away from the area and wait for them to relocate to your position.

After you complete this process four times, a Pikachu will appear with the three other starters, according to a report from Polygon. At that point, you can simply tap the Pokémon and capture it as usual, so long as the game’s embattled servers co-operate.

Many players will be looking to hunt down a Pikachu for its cuteness factor, but the monster offers a significant gameplay advantage, also. Electric-type Pokémon seem to be pretty rare in Go — at least for the time being — so the elemental advantage Pikachu possesses over water-type creatures presents a promising strategic opportunity.

The one downside to this trick is that it has to be pulled off at the very start of the game, so players will have to consider creating a new account if they’ve already started their Pokémon adventure. Pikachu can be caught during normal gameplay, but only this trick can ensure its appearance.

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