Pokemon Go, a mobile phone app that mixes the magical world of Pokemon with your humdrum environment, has taken over the world. In less than a week this little app has made it’s ways into our phones, news and most importantly, our hearts. The game has become such a whirlwind success that Nintendo Stock has actually seen a 25% boost which is astonishing.
Anyone with a pinch of nostalgia for this late 90’s video game series or immensely popular TV show probably wanted at some point to be a “Pokemon master”. Well now you can, but heads up, you’ll look like a zombie while doing it. It may be difficult for some to discern between device glued millennials pinballing around the neighborhood and people actively engaged in playing this game.
This zombie hoard of Pokemon Trainers may be getting people out of the house but it doesn’t come without some drawbacks. Public places such as Central Park in New York and even the White House are becoming littered with oblivious youth, criminals and predators are using “lures” to reel in players and mugging them and even causing bodily harm to the clumsy and careless.
With so many dangers abound, why is everyone playing Pokemon Go? Well first you have to understand just how cool it is.
What is Pokemon Go? Well Pokemon Go is a mobile game available for iPhone and Android that uses “augmented reality” to overlay the game into the real world. Using GPS and your phone’s camera you hunt down these little monsters everywhere from the middle of the street, local parks or even public bathroom stalls. Once you find a Pokemon you capture them in a Poke Ball. Keep collecting Pokemon to unlock new features, level them up or even evolve them into new Pokemon!
Wait, that’s it? What do you mean that’s it?!? That’s about as cool as video games get. You could be at work just sitting at your desk and get a notification that there’s an Ivysaur just chilling at the loading docks. You don’t see one of those every day so here’s an excuse to get off your bum and catch some Pokemon! But no, that’s not it. Pokemon Go has incorporated Poke Stops and Gyms where you can gain free loot, train your Pokemon or even battle rival teams for control. But once again, you have to get out of the house to do these things. Pokemon Go has literally changed the way we’re playing games and gotten us off our couches.
So maybe you want to see what all the fuss is about, or maybe you’re struggling to get ahead in Pokemon Go. Don’t worry we’ve been there already and here are some of the big questions we had that the game refused to answer.
How Do I find Pokemon? Well there’s a little chart at the corner of your screen that will tell you what kind of Pokemon are in your area and how close they are. Undiscovered Pokemon show up as silhouettes only, discovered Pokemon show their picture. A little “footprint” below the Pokemon tells you how far away they are. Each footprint represents about 100 meters (roughly a football field away) Unfortunately you don’t know which direction they are in so you’ll have to get up and start walking. You’ll notice on your screen as you are moving around rustling grass patches. These are areas where Pokemon like to hide. It might be the elusive Vulpix you need, or just a baron spot on your GPS but you won’t know until you get there. If you can’t get out to find Pokemon you can use incense to bring them in.
How do I catch Pokemon? Once you track down a Pokemon they will appear on the map and you’ll be able to catch them. Just tap on the Pokemon to start the “battle” then your camera will open and you’ll see exactly where the Pokemon is in “real life”. The Pokeball will appear at the bottom of your screen. When you press down on the Pokeball a circle will appear around the Pokemon. Green circles mean they’re easy to capture, yellow moderately hard and red circles mean you’ll have a heck of a time getting the little bugger into a ball. Flick the Pokeball toward your Pokemon when the circle is smallest for the best chance to capture them.
How Do I Level Up? Some parts of the game such as gym battles require higher levels. You can level up by catching Pokemon (100XP for a Pokemon you’ve caught before and 600XP for a new Pokemon) You also get 500XP each time you Evolve a Pokemon.
How Do I Evolve Pokemon? Evolving Pokemon takes specific “candy”. You can get 3 candy for catching a Pokemon and 1 additional candy by transferring your Pokemon to the Professor. To Transfer a Pokemon, tap the Pokeball icon and select Pokemon. Then tap on a Pokemon you don’t need and at the bottom of the screen you can transfer them to the Professor.
What is CP? CP is Combat Power which essentially is the health of your Pokemon. The higher the CP the more of a beating your Pokemon can take before it dies. When transferring Pokemon to the Professor for candy, always chose the ones with the lowest CP.
Wait My Pokemon Can Die? Yup. Well… sorta. Your Pokemon will “faint” with it runs out of health from battling and without a revive they’ll be useless. Potions restore HP and Revives, well… revive fainted Pokemon.
How Do I Get More Items? You can run out of potions and incense fast, and even Pokeballs as you struggle to snag higher level Pokemon so you’ll need to refresh your inventory. One way to get items is by leveling up but eventually you’ll need to refuel before your next level. You can buy items in the store using Pokemon Coins, or you can hit up some Poke Stops for free stuff.
How Do I Find and Use Poke Stops? Poke Stops show up on your map as blue icons. They’re usually places of interest like Parks, Stores, Churches even Police Stations. Once you’re close enough to a Poke Stop (and I mean you gotta be close) click the blue icon. It’ll bring up a picture of the location and if you swipe across the picture items will drop and you can tap them to collect them. Once you’ve used a Poke Stop it’ll turn purple for a “cool down” period. After about 5 minutes you can hit the stop again for more free goodies.
OK, so now you know the basics for playing Pokemon Go! These tips should save you some of the trouble I had when trying to figure the dang game out. But before I go I just want to give you one more tip.
Be Safe. Don’t drive and Pokemon… that’s just stupid and you know it. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before 20/20 is doing a special about a group of kids who died because the driver was trying to capture a Zapdos. Just don’t be that guy. Also, Don’t Trespass. Respect people’s privacy at their homes, don’t go jumping into someone’s back yard or breaking in somewhere because you saw some rustling leaves. You’ll go to jail and rightfully so. Have fun, stay alert and catch ’em all.