Pasty white kids and men of all ages coming out of the basement or gaming dungeons, and mulling through society as effete zombies staring at a glowing rectangle. Yes, it’s Pokemon GO, the reason people are playing Frogger in traffic and breaking in houses to catch that elusive Snorlax. Niantic, the company responsible for the online faction battling Ingress, teamed up with Nintendo for their new mobile phenomenon.
It truly is a phenomenon. Stories are pouring in from all over the world about events ranging from the inspiring play groups, where people are getting together and throwing lures at Pokemon hotspots in a mass Ash Ketchum (or Red if you are a Pokemon Hipster) event to the inevitable stories of robberies and muggings that have taken place at these very same spots on the map. The saying has been that GO has done more for child obesity in a month than Michelle Obama has in 8 years. Regardless of how you feel about that it’s pretty funny and just shows how much this game has taken off.
You can sign in via google or your Pokemon trainer club account or via Google, and upon leveling up receive a variety of goodies, here’s a quick list:
-Pokeballs, which range from ordinary pokeballs to great balls at level 12 and ultra balls at level 20.
-Potions, super potions, hyper potions and finally max potions at level 25
-Revives and max revives at level 30
-Razz Berries, which help Pokemon run away less
-Incense, which helps lure Pokemon to your location
-Lucky eggs, which add experience to your actions
-Egg incubators, which are required to hatch eggs
-Lure modules, which can be activated one at a time at Pokestops
PokeStops are areas in which you can spin the tiles to get pokeballs, revives and even Pokemon eggs. You have to be within a close distance, and once activated it will have a timeout period which in my opinion is pretty short where it replenishes and you can activate it again. Repeating this process will be to your advantage, you don’t want to run out of Pokeballs when that Gyarados finally shows up. Also if there is no current Lure, which can be won by leveling up or purchased via microtransactions, you can activate the lure for better Pokemon hunting. This works best with several close by Pokestops and walking from one to another. There are, surprisingly enough, several Pokestops in rural as well as urban areas.
There are three teams for Pokemon GO, Team Instinct (yellow), Team Mystic (blue), or Team Valor (red). Valor ftw. You can challenge enemy Gyms or train at one of your teams Gyms starting at level 5. Gyms are assigned a prestige level, based on the battles and victories or defenses the claiming team has. As you defeat enemies, you’ll lower the gym’s prestige and kick out opposing trainers as you hit prestige benchmarks. Once the prestige reaches zero and you vanquish the enemy, you get to leave a Pokemon in it’s place. Each Pokemon is assigned a “combat power”, or CP. The higher the CP, naturally the higher level and harder it is to defeat. As trainers train the prestige rises and you can leave more Pokemon in the gym for defense. Also worth noting is the fact that you can’t use the Pokemon you leave in a gym until it is kicked out by another.
Oh the radar. Originally set up to where 3 steps meant “within 300 meters” , 2 was 200 and 1 was 100 meters. The selected Poke would pulse if you were going in the right direction. Since then updates and the deletion of location services have gotten rid of that, and now just show Pokes that are “in the area”. PokeVision was a 3rd party app that could show when and where Pokes would spawn, but the recent updates have crippled most of those as well.
So Niantic. PokeStops were made with Niantics Ingress in mind, for they were usually places of historical significance for people to walk around and experience. It was such a big hit companies are even using GO as a promotion, giving discounts or telling folks which Pokes are currently available there. Pokemon Go has made it to the top 10 in channels streamed on Twitch. So whats the ceiling for this game? Well… With such a wide spread fanbase it is impossible to please everyone. But with recent updates so horrendous they are actually leading to refunds on iOS and Android, it has been a rocky road that has only gotten worse of late. The things I want to see? Trainer battles and trading. These are a must for me to continue playing. Server issues were frequent, and using Incense that can cost money is useless when you can sign in for those 30 minutes. They have broken the radar proximity feature, battery saving feature, and sure, the app freezes less frequently and are a bit more stable of late, but at what cost?
Time will tell, but it sure hasn’t seemed to lessen the number of people walking the streets with that glowing rectangle in their face.