Ok so over the past few days my Twitter and Facebook newsfeeds have been going mad on Pokémon Go. About a week ago now the game was launched in the US to great acclaim and about 3 days ago it was launched in the UK. Vloggers and Bloggers have been raving about it and cafés and churches have opened their doors to players. It is trending on Twitter, and is the number 1 game to buy on the Appstore. After a conversation at my youth group yesterday, I decided I had to check it out and see what all the fuss was about.
Before I start, I should probably explain the following. Pokémon, which was originally a Japanese game, was huge when I was a child. There were two types of people. The ‘cool kids’ who owned Nintendos (or 3 different ones – heaven knows why) and played Pokémon in the playground, and the ‘others’ who were quite content to play ‘tag’ or pass their rainy playtimes reading, watching the Bee movie (everyone seemed to watch the Bee movie during wet play..) or playing hide and seek in the changing rooms. I was one of the ‘others’. Although I had heard of Pokémon, and its main character Pikachu, I had no idea what the point of the game was, the other characters or how you could spend hours attached to a tiny Nintendo screen playing it. So this was my first ever real encounter with Pokémon, and I have to admit that I was a little scared to enter into this world that I had so carefully avoided for so long.
After a huge faff because Google didn’t believe my password was my actual password until I had put it in about 6 times, having personalised my character and chosen a username, I wasn’t able to go out last night, so couldn’t appreciate the game to its full extent. However I was able to see that there were two Pokéstops on my road, and a PokéGym. Great, I thought. Then my phone buzzed at me and a green thing appeared which looked a bit like a turtle with a green onion on its back instead of a shell. Apparently it’s a Bulbasaur. Using my intuition, I fired red and white Pokéballs at this thing, which had now positioned itself on top of my television. I caught it, and it was added to my Pokédex. Then nothing else happened for the rest of the evening.
This afternoon, my brother and I decided to go out on a walk to test out the game and see its full potential. We walked down to the end of our road (the end with the PokéGym). We couldn’t go to the gym because we were only level 1. We did a huge loop through the woods, into town and back home coming up the other side of the road. All in all we walked for about an hour and a half. Along the way, we found 4 Rattatas, 3 Pidgeys and 2 Weedles. And we passed 4 Pokéstops and gained 1 egg and 9 Pokéballs which were much needed as our aiming had not been good. As we went on, we enjoyed ourselves much more, and had fun exploring our neighbourhood whilst playing the game. We began to grasp a lot more of the skills and understanding needed to play efficiently and we have decided that we will definitely go out again to hunt some more Pokémon although I doubt we shall ever get to be great at it having never played previous games.
So if you are thinking about playing or have started or have never heard of Pokémon, here are some of the things I’ve learnt during my 24hr period with the game.
- The game is free so anyone can download it and give it a go.
- It requires wifi or 4G to play
- Whilst playing it uses up a lot of battery (in 1.5 hrs I went from 70% to 2%)
- There are no instructions on how to play the game so if you want to really know what you are doing, watch a vlog or read up before you start or you can just use your intuition like we did.
- You find more Pokémon on roads and in town than in uninhabited areas.
- It is a great game for getting you out of the house during the summer holidays, it is impossible to play sitting on the sofa.
- Trying to explain the concept to anyone who cannot understand the interaction between virtual and real worlds is priceless…
- You are likely to meet people along the way who are doing the same thing (especially at Pokéstops and Pokégyms), and it is a good way to be meet new people from the local area or beyond.
- It can be dangerous as you need to take care of your surroundings, making sure not to blindly cross a road, or to walk somewhere where you don’t know how to get back from. Do not go into anywhere you do not know, and don’t play at night. Keep aware, and know places you can go to where you can find help if you are presented with a situation where you are at risk. If you are under 18, do not play alone.
- You can only join a PokéGym at level 5.
- To catch a Pokémon, you must tap on a creature that appears, and then fire the red and white ball that appears at the bottom of the screen, aiming for the green circle. If it hits, the creature is engulfed by the ball which acts as a capsule, and added to the Pokédex.
- The Pokédex is just an index of all the Pokémon that you have caught.
- There is a feature at the bottom right of the screen that will tell you which Pokémon are nearby.
- The game glitches a lot, and you have to come in and out again for it to work.
- Pokéstops are identifiable places where you can go to pick up items. It will come up with a round picture of the place (e.g. station, pub, Church) and if you spin it, Pokéballs and eggs and supplies appear which you tap on to collect.
- If you get an egg, you have to walk a certain distance to hatch it to release a Pokémon, or you can buy an incubator to hatch it quicker.
- Many cafés and Churches are opening doors to Pokémon hunters during the day and offering water and opportunities to buy cake etc. to keep you fuelled for the walk (if you are going on a long hunt in hot weather like today, definitely take water with you). The Church of England has even released advice for PokéGyms.
So there you go. My first 24 hrs of Pokémon have been enjoyable, enlightening and educational! I would thoroughly encourage anyone to download it and give it a go. Although it takes a while to get the hang of the game, it gets you out and active. Remain aware of dangers at all times, but have fun Pokéhunting!
I am sure there are lots of features of the game that I haven’t even come across yet or understand like incense, CP, evolution and Pokégyms, but my brother and I are looking forward to going out and exploring more this holiday, and having fun. I shall keep you updated on our progress…watch this space…
Here is a link to the App.