You have to have lived under a rock to not have heard about Pokémon Go. This is a modern reinvention of an equally successful Nintendo Gameboy game launched in North America in 1998. Impressive numbers abound: 100 M downloads, over $200M in revenue, daily news stories from around the world and even a ban in Iran – all in a month’s time since its release. Even I have given in to the Pokémon craze. It has gotten this middle-aged body to start moving again.
It all started when my now 22-year old son was small, I used to advance games on his Gameboy while he slept. Around 1999 or 2000, I remember scouring upper NY state for the red and white plastic Pokéballs that Burger King was giving out. I think I ended up collecting 8 of them much to my son’s delight. We used them to wage mock Poké battles at his Pokémon themed birthday party. Lots of excited little boys yelling “Charizard, I choooose YOOOOOUUU! It was such fun
Many years later, Pokémon Go arrived in Canada last month on Itunes. My son was so excited. He convinced the entire family to download the game. That very day, we walked around the neighbourhood catching Pokémons. We hadn’t walked together in a long time so it turned into a fun family outing. Admittedly, as a middle-aged woman, I was a little embarrassed bumping into other adults. But I could tell that they felt the same. Heads down, we’d raise our eyes momentarily to give each other a knowing but sheepish look acknowledging our juvenile desire to participate in this cultural craze.
1. Pokémon FACTS
It’s very simple. The game is based on the original, first Pokémon game that was launched for the Nintendo Gameboy in 1998. While similar to the original, this game is played on your mobile device using the GPS. The main goal is to acquire 150 Pokémons and the only way to do so is to move from place to place. There is also the ability to battle at gyms to earn Pokécoins and prestige, but this isn’t necessary to enjoy the game.
2. Key Terms
Pokémon stands for “Pocket Monsters”. They are creatures raised and commanded by their Trainers (you). They are normally hatched from eggs, captured in the wild or evolved from simpler forms. They grow and become more experienced and can evolve into more powerful Pokémon. Currently, there are 150 unique Pokémons.
Pokéstops. These are typically located at cultural or important landmarks like statues, plaques, buildings etc. Pokéstops are a place to stock up on the Pokéballs that are needed to catch Pokémon. They also are a source of healing and revive potions, Pokémon eggs and raspberries (that increase your chance at catching a Pokémon) .
Gyms are locations where “battles” take place
3. How do I get them
- Capture wild Pokémon using Pokéballs. Pokémon spawn and are therefore more frequently found in higher density areas.
- Hatch them from Eggs. So far I’ve seen 2, 5 and 10 kilometre versions. Place the egg in an incubator and walk the required distance. Feel like a proud mama when your baby Pokemon hatches.
- Evolve them. Some Pokémon have 2-3 forms. Both Stardust and Candy are required for evolution. You get Stardust by capturing wild Pokemon or hatching eggs. Candy is acquired by transferring duplicate Pokémons to the in-game host Professor Willow.
4. Where do I get them
I have since figured out the most efficient way to play this game is by taking the slowest method of transportation in this city, the streetcar. I then walk around downtown where there is a higher density of Pokéstops and therefore, Pokémons. I used to take the subway, even only for one stop. Not any more.
The Pokédex keeps track of the Pokémon you’ve seen and
caught. But I carry up to 250 Pokémon in my “bag” and I can review duplicates and transfer and evolve them from this screen. There is a certain sense of satisfaction seeing these two screens populate. My kids and I (and now my husband) compare screens on a regular basis.
5. Do I Need to Spend Money
Nope, but you can There is an in-app shop where you can buy more Pokéballs, Incense and Lures that attract more Pokémon, Lucky Eggs that increase XP amongst other things like storage upgrades. While I am not against spending a small amount of money playing games, it’s unlikely that I will do so here.
I think this is a fun game for now. Some of the benefits are that we play as a family, engage in some friendly competition, all while getting some much-needed exercise. Will I continue being a middle-aged Pokémon hunter when my kids leave for university and the temperature drops? Probably not unless the gameplay evolves. But for now, it’s a great summer past-time and I’ll enjoy it while it lasts.
If you are interested in becoming a middle-aged Pokémon hunter, here are a few simple but thorough sites to walk-through.
Hoo-hah! Good Pokémon hunting!