Look (picture below) at those numb-nuts standing there trying to find a silly little animal with a ball. Oh wait, I am actually also one of those numb-nuts who runs after his phone trying to catch oddly named creatures like Pikachu and Bulbasaur. Yup, Pokemon I am talking about folks. And let me tell you there aren’t just a few, noooo…. just the first generation alone has 151 Pokemon, there are actually 720 in total according to the official Pokedex. Poke-what? Yeah let us not go there, yet. What is more important is that after some major updates by Niantic, PokemonGO is more popular than ever! And as of today brings the release of the 4th generation Pokemon! Here is why my wife and I (both sane working adults) are still hooked after almost 2 years since its launch.
The game in brief
For all you Ash Ketchum’s just starting out and leaving your home and annoying mother behind or for anyone not at all familiar with the game PokemonGO, here is a brief and simple quick start. For a more in-depth explanation please go to the Internet and a place called Google. I will be writing my own take on how to play the game with everything I have learnt over the past 2 years, that article will follow later this week.
The goal in PokemonGO firstly is of course to ‘catch ’em all’!! You get the image of a map, very similar to Google Maps, just without the traffic jams. And wherever you move every now and then an odd Pokemon, a few or even a bunch of them will appear on your map. Then it’s quite simple, you click on the Pokemon and try and catch it.
There are two ways to do this, one way is with AR+ mode, where you use the camera of your phone to catch the Pokemon right in front of you. This means you can see them as if they were there in real life. Fun gimmick for about two throws. The other way is by turning this function off, which I can tell you makes it a lot easier to catch the pokemon. So just turn it off. Unless you are a 10 year old who will think of it as magic.
To catch a Pokemon you don’t just chuck a Pokeball at the Pokemon as if it were a grenade. No, there is a technique you have to master, thankfully, otherwise this game would be far too easy. Every Pokemon has a coloured ring in front of it, this ring will decrease in size and go back to full size in a continuous cycle every-time you touch and hold the Pokeball. This ring will be green with more basic Pokemon that are easier to catch and will change colour to an orange or even red colour for the hardest and more rare Pokemon. The goal is to throw the ball in a curved direction in the middle of that coloured circle. If you do so you will get an ‘Excellent’ throw, if the circle is bigger it will be a ‘Great’ throw and if its at its biggest a ‘Nice’ throw. As you can imagine you want the Pokemon to stay in the ball, so once you threw it and hit the Pokemon, the ball will jutter three times, at the third time the Pokemon is caught. Chances are it comes out again after one or two jutters and you have to try again. But be careful there is a chance the Pokemon might flee. For more tips and tricks check out my upcoming article for both beginners and advanced players later this week.
For a quick and simple tutorial check out the video below with thanks to XM360.
So why do I, a 31 year old married and working male, play a game that so many people consider childish, silly and a waste of time? Well in my youth I already collected the Pokemon collector’s cards, watched the series and felt rather nostalgic when in 2016 Niantic launched PokemonGO. Being able to combine that nostalgia with a game that keeps you on the move, is highly addictive and free to play really made it easy for my wife and I to give it a go. And apart from us I know there is a massive community of PokemonGO players globally that goes into the millions. According to Niantic reports from June earlier this year we are talking about almost 150 million people worldwide. Wow!
Walk Walk Walk
So you might think, I will just sit on my couch and let the Pokemon spawn around me. That way I can be lazy and still get them. Well lard-ass that is not possible with PokemonGO. It is designed to make you move and go to different places. There are places called Gyms and Pokestops spread all over the world, there could be one in your street. And these Gyms and Pokestops are important because there you can fight other player’s pokemon, conquer Gyms and defend them and more importantly spin them to earn items like candies, pokeballs, revives etc.. Also more on this in my advanced PokemonGO article later this week, so stay tuned!
But one thing is clear you have to move your ass out and about. Over the past 2 years I have walked 200 km. Of which I can safely say that most of that I walked these past 6 months. If you are in a rural area you will however find yourself with less spawning Pokemon and less Pokestops and Gyms available. The best places are often in the cities and very popular touristic destinations, parks etc..
So at first my wife and I just walked about and caught one Pokemon after another, now going into the many thousands. However while walking around you notice you are not the only person doing this, especially when visiting these Pokestops or Gyms you might bump into other PokemonGO players. This happened to me, when apparently one of the people there was the admin of a Whatsapp group for my region and in that group they planned raids and battled gyms together. PokemonGO brings people of all ages and backgrounds together, which is great fun. Oh and if you are wondering, I have yet to bump into a kid (under 18) in this group. There are a lot of people between 20-40 years old and I have seen even older folks playing it. Anybody who says its childish and silly, that is your opinion and I respect that, but no, it really isn’t! Get out there and who knows you might find some new friends.
The most fun part in my opinion is not just the collecting of all these critters but more importantly the ‘evolving’ of them. Just like Dragon Ball Z’s Goku went from Saiyan to Super Saiyan, albeit with less blonde hair and screaming these Pokemon do the same.
Some Pokemon have one evolve others have two. To get these evolved versions you must collect a lot of candies. Basically every time you catch a certain type of Pokemon, for example Pikachu, you receive a certain amount of candies (mostly 3). You will have to accumulate these candies continually, until you have 25, 50 or for third evolves often 100 candies. So walk, walk, walk and catch, catch, catch.
This process is a very addictive and can make it a very exciting and exhilarating momentum when you catch that one Pokemon you need or those last candies you need to make the next evolve. Of course patience is also a virtue here.
Today marks the release of 20 new Pokemon from the 4th Generation of Pokemon, so download PokemonGO and start collecting those little bastards. Pikaaa-chuuuuuu!!
PS. Final note of warning. Please do be careful when walking around with your head buried in your phone’s screen. Constantly be aware of what is going on around you, there have actually been people who died (17) playing PokemonGO because they got run over.
*available on both Android and iOS