I’ve been harboring a Pokémon trainer in my house for a few years now. He binge watches the shows and movies on Netflix, meticulously organizes his card collection in plastic sleeves, and has the outfit to go Pokémon hunting on a moments notice. He is constantly talking about Ash, Team Rocket, and (of course) his beloved Pikachu. He has Pokémon skins for his Minecraft so that it looks like he is playing in that world.
And I don’t understand a lick of it.
With the release of Pokémon GO for IOS and Android I have been thrown in the deep end of all things Pokémon and I felt it necessary to share 10 tips to help the Pokémon GO Beginner. But first, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably wondering “What the heck is Pokémon GO, and what do I do once I download it?!?”
In a nutshell, Pokémon Go is an addictive reality game on your phone that lays a sort of semi-transparent Poké-world over your actual GPS location. You find and capture mythical creatures called Pokémon by physically walking around town…staring zombie-like at the map on your phone! So here’s my 10 tips to help you out (or at least get the gist of what your kids are going crazy about!)
10 Tips to help the Pokémon GO Beginner
1. You start with 50 poke balls to collect Pokémon.
You do not have an infinite amount of Poke Balls. I missed this memo since I downloaded the game on a whim. If you throw a ball and miss what you are trying to catch, quickly tap on the ball to recollect it, otherwise it could disappear. Now if you do run out of Poke Balls (and you will), you can get more at PokeStops or in the store.
2. Speaking of PokeStops.
You need these. This is a way to get free items, and in my family we do NOT spend money on mobile games. When you are within range of PokeStops you can tap on them to access. Once there you can spin by swiping the picture or the location. While it is spinning you will see Poke Balls and other items appear based on your level.
3. And another thing about PokeStops…
If you see pink petals floating around the PokeStop then someone put a lure module on it…don’t worry, you’ll eventually learn these terms! These are meant to attract more Pokémon to the area for catching within thirty minutes. These Pokémon are accessible by any one in the area, not just the purchaser of the module.
4. Catching Pokémon.
I feel like this is the easiest part of the game. When you are walking around with the game open, Pokémon can appear. You are notified of this by the phone vibrating. You then select one of the Pokémon surrounding you to try to capture. Once you are face-to-face with the wild Pokémon, fling the Poke Ball towards the center of the animal. Be careful, though, some are harder to catch than others!
5. Hatching of Eggs.
At some of the PokeStops you will be given eggs. These will be listed in the “Egg” section of your Pokémon listing on the main page. In order to get these to hatch, you need to place them in incubators and WALK. The incubators only work when you travel the required distance that is listed.
6. Gyms and battles.
You will know you have come across a gym by a large colored tower. These towers are based on the color of the team in control (Valor, Mystic, or Spark). This is where you can battle and train your different Pokémon. These are only accessible once you reach level 5.
7. Other goodies from the PokeStops.
In addition to the PokeBalls and eggs that you can receive from these stops, potions and incense can also be collected. These each have different uses and can help heal your Pokémon after a battle since they won’t heal on their own.
8. Safety Concerns.
These last three tips aren’t so much for playing the game, but are more for you, Mom. I know we live in a time where everyone is scared of everything, but I find this game safe. When you are walking around, other players do not appear on your screen and you can’t see their information. Obviously you need to reinforce to your kids the basic stranger-danger safety. If they’re not with you, they shouldn’t be lured into a conversation where someone encourages them to wander off to “find a rare Pokémon.” We keep together as a family and enjoy the game. Yesterday we went to the park because there are a lot of PokeStops there, and everyone playing was extremely friendly. One lady stopped and talked to my resident Pokémon trainer for a few minutes as he geeked out over the game. She is actually the one who told us about recollecting Poke Balls if you miss!
9. Who is this game really for?
At first thought I assumed this was a game geared towards the kids, but I think I was wrong. 80-90% of the people I have seen playing it are between 20-40, and that actually makes sense. Pokémon is celebrating its 20th anniversary, and those 20-40 year olds were the kids who made it popular. They were the first to save their allowance to buy the card game and now they are the ones who have the income to buy things in the game store. It is also made for kids and families. Now the parents that grew up playing the card game can share it with their kids who speak a less analogue language.
10. Pokémon GO…combating depression and encouraging exercise!
I saw an article come through my Facebook feed talking about how Pokémon GO is helping people with depression. THAT MAKES SO MUCH SENSE! Exercise, sunshine, and human interaction provides a natural way to combat depression! This game is giving people a reason for all of these. People are out exploring their towns and talking to others who are playing the game. They HAVE to walk in order to hatch their eggs. Interacting with other players about where they found rare Pokémon or what gym they train at give a sense of camaraderie and belonging. These help immensely with depression.
These are just some basic tips to get you started with Pokémon GO. I hope that they will help you get started with playing and sharing the fun with your family. For more help, check out the Pokémon GO wiki which is what helped me (and will continue helping me) as we keep playing!