“Pokémon Go has already done more to get people to exercise than Runtastic, Sworkit or any other fitness app.” says YouTuber, Derp24X7 as a joke.
How to Play Pokémon Go
Pokémon Go is an augmented reality mobile app game that gets you out of your seat and has taken the world by storm. The augmented reality app takes real world elements (ex: streets, parks, landmarks) and adds fictitious characters that you search for to gain power. Here are the fundaments on how to play.
Pokémon Go is like a scavenger hunt game. Your goal, as a “trainer”, is to collect as many Pokémon characters as you can, which are located throughout your neighborhood, city or anywhere you go. Pokémon’s have different point values with rare Pokémon’s having higher values and more common ones have lower values.
Install and open the Pokémon Go mobile app and start walking around your neighborhood. You will see your streets (the app uses Google Maps) in a virtual world with you as the main character. As you walk you will see flashes of green lights or feel a vibration, which means a Pokémon is nearby. When you get close enough, the character will reveal itself in the augmented reality screen. If you have enough Poké balls you can collect (catch) the Pokémon and gain points.
If you don’t have enough Poké balls to catch characters you will need to collect them at Pokestops.
Pokestops are found at public buildings, monuments, churches, parks and sometimes graveyards (a bit odd, I thought.) They are shown as little cubes then turn into a large purple round shape. You must tap the center circle then spin it to get the Poké balls, potion and eggs. Finding Pokestops can turn your walking or biking game into a driving game (ie: Pokedrive – a term my daughter made up as we drove around looking for Pokestops because she was out of Poké balls and couldn’t catch any Pokemons in our neighborhood).
Every activity you do (visiting Pokestops, catching Pokémon) gives you experience that can raise your character level. Your power can be raised with stardust that you gain with each Pokémon you catch or with the Pokémon’s specific candy, which is earned by catching duplicate Pokémon. The higher your level the more powerful Pokemon you can catch.
Once you reach level 5, you can join a team and battle other virtual characters in Pokémon gyms where you fight for ownership. Gyms are in-game locations that are frequently tied to real-world popular spots where you can battle other trainers to gain points. Eventually you become a master.
Pokémon Game Tips & Tricks
- The color of the ring surrounding the Pokémon helps determine how easy it is to catch — green is easiest, orange intermediate, and red the most difficult. When the circle is smallest you will have the best change of capturing the character.
- Certain Pokémon are found in their native environments. If you are near water, more water type characters appear. If you are in grass at a park you will find more bug & grass Pokémon will appear.
- After spinning the inner circle of the Pokestop, you can hit the x to collect the items (eggs, Pokeballs, potion, etc). You don’t need to burst each bubble to grab them.
- In the augmented reality view, use the “nearby” preview to see which Pokémon’s are near. The ones with the fewest footprints below the icons are the closest.
- Limit the amount of camera usage to place the Pokémon in the real world as this consumes more battery power.
- Rare Pokémon are more common near water.
- Playing Pokémon Go at some locations such as Holocaust memorials and graveyards is considered inappropriate (although characters appear).
Pokémon Go Tech Tips
- The game requires Internet access & GPS. If you don’t have GPS the app may not work.
- Pokémon Go uses lots of DATA. If you have a limited cellular data plan watch out! Pokémon Go requires Internet access and is played outdoors so it is not likely you will have a Wi-Fi connection.
- Pokémon Go uses lots of battery life. If this is an issue for you, try using an external charger.
- If a feature doesn’t work, don’t get too frustrated. The servers are overwhelmed with activity right now an the development team has announced via Twitter that they are “…working to fix the server issues.”
Pokémon Safety & Security
The game is fun and gives kids motivation to get up and get moving (what a concept?). With the screen element there are actually some things you need to be aware of.
- The game is fun but you are constantly staring at your phone while walking or biking to find Pokémons. Be fully aware of your surroundings!
- Don’t Pokedrive! If you don’t have Pokestops in your neighborhood be careful when driving around. Sometimes Pokestops are in unsafe locations – like street corners or side of streets. Don’t get rear-ended or hurt trying to help your child catch a Pokémon.
- Make sure you download safe versions – directly from Apple’s app store or Google Play store. Infected versions of the app, as well as, ad-ons are sure to come out by criminals taking advantage of its popularity.
- Be VERY careful. Armed robbers have already used the game to lure players into a trap. They use a known location of a desireable Pokémon and wait for young adults to arrive and steal their phones, money
Pokemon is free and has in app purchases to buy Pokecoins for purchasing Poké balls, incense & eggs if you are unable to collect them while playing.
Pokemon Go is available in US, New Zealand and Australia. Other country rollouts are delayed due to issues related to excessive use of the servers.
More Info & Download links
- Price: Free (In-app purchases)
Direct (Safe) Download Links
- iOS – https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pokemon-go/id1094591345?mt=8
- Android – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.nianticlabs.pokemongo&hl=en