(Sara M. Lin)
“You teach me and I’ll teach you, Pokémon!”
Since the mid-1990’s, Pokémon have been making their way from behind the screen and into our hearts. Nineties kids woke up weekly for Saturday morning cartoons. Their parents remember telling them to stop playing those Game Boys late into the night. The series continued, evolving into the current spectacle of generations today. And now, for the first time, these pocket-sized companions have ventured into our very living room. Now we have Pokémon Go.
Through Augmented Reality (AR) technology, Pokémon Go uses your smartphone’s camera to superimpose interactive Pokémon onto your immediate surroundings. But here’s the catch – each Pokémon exists at a specific geographic location. This means you have to physically travel to different locations in the real world in order to play the game. Imagine it as a treasure hunt undertaken by kids and adults alike across the globe.
The game’s immense popularity has fulfilled the dreams of some and elicited concern in others. Certainly its influence on societal behavior has been immediate and visible. This manuscript will seek to introduce newcomers to the world of Pokémon, reconcile any misgivings that have been stirred up by the media, and enrich gameplay experience for all users.
Whether you’re a seasoned Pokémon Trainer, a wide-eyed Youngster, or a loving parent who would like to stay involved, this book contains something for you!
About the Game
“To catch them is my real test, to train them is my cause.”
1. Pokémon Have Been Around Since 1996
Pokémon, derived from the term Pocket Monsters, was created by a Japanese game development company called Game Freak and picked up by Nintendo in the early 90’s. After the first games were released on Game Boy in 1996, the Pokémon Trading Card Game was developed, with manga interpretations and the TV series shortly after.
Soon enough, every 90’s kid knew of the game or watched the show. Many parents found that the series promoted good values of friendship, loyalty, and respect for nature. In no time, Pikachu emerged as an iconic character of the decade.
2. Niantic, Nintendo, and The Pokémon Company
Niantic is the game developer, Nintendo has invested $30 million into the partnership, and The Pokémon Company deals with licensing and distribution of all things related to the franchise.
Good old Nintendo is the tried and true Japanese company who brought you classics such as Zelda, Donkey Kong, and Super Mario Bros. They are the current producers of the Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U. The Pokémon Company branched off from Nintendo in order to oversee the wide and growing range of Pokémon-related affairs. Finally, Niantic is a San Francisco based American startup and former subsidiary of Google who specializes in Augmented Reality on mobile.
Together, they have changed the gaming industry in a matter of days, and they’re only getting started.
Despite what you may hear on the news, the game itself is harmless as long as you adhere to common sense. But to be sure, let’s lay out some basic ground rules.
Use the Buddy System – Keep track of each other and don’t go it alone. Of course, if you’re walking around your own block then it’s not a big deal. But when off adventuring, it’s best to bring a friend.
Don’t Wander Around in the Dark – There have been instances where predators have put up Lures in order to literally bait unsuspecting victims into an unsafe situation. Stay away from deserted places at night, and by all means, don’t go alone.
PLEASE don’t Pokémon and Drive – In most states it’s illegal to hold a mobile device while driving. Keep both hands on the wheel, because to do otherwise would be a danger to yourself and those around you.
Don’t Break Any Laws – This one should really go without saying. No trespassing, no fist fighting, and please, don’t accidentally leave the country and get stuck across the border.
One of the main reasons the game got popular so fast is ease of access. Not only is Pokémon Go available on your mobile device, but you can download and play for free. Revenue is acquired through the optional Pokémon Go Plus add-on and items you can purchase in-game.
5. The Pokémon Go Plus is a $35 Dongle that Helps Catch Pokémon
The Pokémon Go Plus is an optional add-on with a single button that connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth and will alert you when Pokémon are nearby. It will light up and vibrate, prompting you to press a button on the device to throw a Poké Ball. The Plus will also notify you of nearby PokéStops to help you collect items. It is not necessary in order to play the game, especially if you’re going to have your phone out anyway.
Prepare for Your Adventure
“You look like you’re ready for bed, not Pokémon training.
I don’t think you’re going to train in your pajamas.”
As Professor Oak says, I don’t think you’re going to train in your pajamas. Equip shoes made for walking. Check the weather and dress accordingly. Some things to pack include a water bottle, sunscreen, bug spray, and snacks.
7. An External Battery Charger Will Come in Handy
With data AND location turned on as well as your screen, Poké hunting for an extended period will be a struggle for your phone battery. Any seasoned trainer would highly recommend investing in an external battery pack to charge your smartphone, in case you don’t already have one.
|A lot of public places host Wi-Fi hotspots, so switch over to conserve data when you can. If you have a friend with unlimited data, ask them to set up a hotspot for you.|
Pokémon Go doesn’t seem to take more data than usual. That said, if you’re on the app 5 hours a day it’s going to use just as much data as if you were on Instagram or Snapchat that entire time. So unless you have an unlimited data plan it’s a good habit to keep tabs on how much data you’re spending. This way you can minimize any surprise overage charges.
This may be the greatest Easter Egg of all time. Once you select a name and speak with Professor Willow, the three original starter Pokémon will show up in your area. Will you choose Squirtle the water type, Charmander the fire type, or grass type Bulbasaur? Well, if your sentimental heart simply cannot pick, there is a fourth option.
If you wait long enough, Pikachu will appear as one of your available choices. Some people suggest walking around for a bit to get him to show up. Once he does, tap him to initiate the capture sequence. Hit him with a Poké Ball and voilà! He’s yours!
Now it’s time to embark on an adventure all your own. There can be one to three footsteps displayed under each Pokémon in your radar, indicating the distance between you and the selected Pokémon. The closer you get, the less footsteps there will be. If there are no footsteps, the Pokémon should show up shortly right in your circle’s area.
Read all 50 Things in the book: 50 Things to Know About Pokémon Go A Trainer’s Guide