Gamer Girl Musings: Pokemon Go

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by Jaime Whittaker (@JaimeW912)

Pokemon Go

In case you’ve been living under a rock, Pokemon Go has finally been released! This game has obviously caught on fast as servers are constantly experiencing issues…

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How to Play Pokemon Go

When you start out playing Pokemon Go you first need to create your avatar. Check me out!

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Go, Team Mystic!



This game uses GPS to draw out a map of your surrounding roads, and uses many local landmarks and buildings as either Pokestops, or Gyms (I’ll go more into these later). There’s a box that pops up showing you some of the nearby Pokemon and how far away they are (the picture will be grey if it is a Pokemon that you don’t already have in your Pokedex).

Once a Pokemon is close enough to you, it will spawn on your map. Tap on the nearby Pokemon and it is converted to Augmented Reality (AR) mode in which you will see the Pokemon somewhere in your environment. You do have the option to turn off AR mode which can make things a bit easier if you are in a moving vehicle (you are the PASSENGER when you are playing, right?), or if you simply do not want to have to point your phone at strangers (I hear some people get weirded out by that sort of thing…).

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At this point you need to throw a Pokeball to try to capture the Pokemon (don’t throw your phone!). The higher the Combat Power (CP) the harder it will be to catch the Pokemon. For example, this 256 CP Weepinbell I caught whilst wandering into the rain took 25 Pokeballs to catch (totally worth it)!

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Pokestops

Periodically on the map you will see Pokestops. These are usually landmarks of some kind. If you go to these places and click the Photo Disc, items are generated in bubbles. Tap these bubbles to collect items such as Pokeballs and Pokemon Eggs. Once you’ve reached level 5 you can collect additional items such as Revive and Potions. You can only interact with Pokestops when you are in close enough range.

Pokemon Gyms

Pokemon Gyms are the only places in the game in which you can battle your Pokemon. You cannot use a Pokemon Gym until you are at least level 5. When you enter a gym you will be prompted to choose a team. You can choose whatever team you want, so if your friends are on a particular team you may want to join them. If your team is the team that currently holds the gym you are at then you can train your Pokemon there to raise the prestige of your team’s gym.

If a gym is white, then no team currently holds that gym. If an opposing team holds the gym, then you can choose to battle that gym’s Pokemon. Elements will make a difference for sure, but you definitely want to select a Pokemon with a higher CP to battle here.

I honestly am still having a hard time figuring out the combat system in the gym. You essentially have to swipe left or right to dodge attacks, and tap to administer an attack. It seems really random though. When you tap on a gym it will show you the CP level of at least the first Pokemon you will be going up against so pay attention to this. You do not wanna go in there all Leroy Jenkins with a bunch of weak Pokemon!

Choosing Your Team

The three teams are Valor (red), Mystic (blue), and Instinct (yellow). I have seen many people comparing these teams to Hogwarts houses, and many players are very passionate about their teams. If you are looking to show some pride for your team, fear not! There are already quite a few Etsy users who have Team Buttons available. I happen to really like these buttons from XxAmericanRebelxX.

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The leader of Team Instinct is Spark who believes you will never lose when you trust your instincts. The team logo is represented by Legendary Zapdos. Team Mystic is led by Blanche. Calm analysis is the key in this team. Legendary Articuno is this team’s logo. And of course, Team Valor, led by Candela values training and true strength. This team’s logo is legendary Moltres.

Honestly, which team you choose will not have any effect on your abilities and gameplay so don’t put much stock in that. Choose whomever you feel the strongest alliance with.

The Positive

It really is great to see people walking around outside and interacting with one another over this game! There are Facebook groups for Pokemon Go in which people post some of the Pokemon they have caught, and sometimes will alert each other if there is a rare Pokemon wandering around somewhere (shout out to my group, Pokemon Go — Upstate NY!).

For so long there has been a stigma about gamers sitting around pale as the moon surrounded by Hot Pockets and unable to hold a social life. This game definitely shatters that stereotype as people are walking a lot! People are also visiting local landmarks and arranging Pokemon hunting parties and Gym meetups. This is a very encouraging, positive thing to see come out of a video game.

The game is very fun and so addicting! It may seem repetitive to keep catching the same Pokemon type over and over again but don’t get too annoyed by this. In order to Evolve or Power Up your Pokemon you will need Stardust and Candy (which you get whenever you capture a Pokemon). Each Pokemon requires its own candy to Power Up or Evolve.

If you catch multiple Pidgey for example, not only do you collect the candy that comes with capturing it, but you can transfer your lower duplicate Pokemon to the Professor and you will get yet another candy for that Pokemon.  Your goal should be to power up a Pokemon as much as possible before Evolving it so that you end up with a higher CP Evolved Pokemon.

The Negative

The most frustrating thing about the game right now isn’t really the game itself but how overloaded the servers are due to the game’s popularity. Many times the game will freeze and/or crash (this happened when I had caught a Nidoran and I was totally bummed).

It's okay, Squirtle

It’s okay, Squirtle



Hopefully at some point the server issues are addressed to account for the high popularity of the game.

The other negative about the game is the concern over the safety of its players. I cannot stress this enough guys: #DontPokemonGoAndDrive Please!!!! I know how tempting it is, but just don’t do it. It’s one thing to drive to a location and pull over (safely) to look for Pokestops and Pokemon, but please do not ruin this for everybody by causing traffic accidents.

The same holds true for pedestrian players. Pay attention to your surroundings. You do not want to wander into a road pursuing a Pokemon and not see an oncoming car. You also don’t want to run into other people that are walking around you because that is just plain rude.

This game also tends to drain your battery so I highly suggest having a portable charger with you if you are planning on hunting for an extended period of time. Also, be prepared to have to close and re-open the app a lot because it does tend to bog down and this can be especially frustrating if you are in pursuit of a rare Pokemon.

Another gripe I have is about the combat system for battle in the gym. I really wish that it was more turn-based RPG style rather than the random screen tapping crap it is right now. One last gripe I have is that there are not many customization options available for avatars. I’m really hoping that they will expand upon this and also allow players to edit their avatars at any point.

In Conclusion

Overall, if you are able to get past the server issues this game is definitely worth playing. Become a member of your local Pokemon Go Facebook group so you can keep track of how other people in your area are doing and even attend meetups. Socialize! It’s also great to see a game that encourages wandering about, getting exercise and visiting landmarks. I would love to see a Pokemon Go fitness group emerge from this game. Have you been sucked into the Pokemon Go phenomenon yet? Be a part of the conversation here or on any of our social media!

Stay Nerdy, my friends!

~Jaime


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