By now, I’m sure you’ve heard of, if not tried, the addictive mobile game, Pokémon GO. You’ve probably downloaded the app for your kids or given GO a go yourself. If you haven’t, you’ve probably been living under a rock because Pokémon GO is the latest craze and all over social media.
Unlike most games, Pokémon GO involves traveling in the real world. According to my daughter, “That means your daily exercise that consists of pressing buttons and getting up to get Doritos and Mountain Dew from the kitchen, is replaced by getting up and doing something for once. Huge breakthrough.”
The main goal of the game is to capture different Pokémon to earn XP points, fill up your Pokédex, and move to the next level. You do this by flicking a ball at the Pokémon to capture them. The higher the CP (combat points) of a Pokémon, the harder it is to capture it.
The higher your level is, the more you can do. You also have an inventory of items, some of which are not enabled until you find or buy them. One inventory item is incense which can be used to attract Pokémon to your avatar. Of course, there’s a store where you can buy various items if you wish to or run out of balls and such.
I won’t go into the mechanics of the game much, as I’m still learning it. I only started a few days ago with my daughter and am on Level 3 at this point. As a noob, I have yet to be able to enter any Pokémon gyms because you need to be at least on Level 5 to do that. I’ve also just discovered that when you come to places designated as Pokémon stops (such as churches, malls. community centers, libraries, museums and other “interesting” places), you can pick up some items by swiping the image. You need to be close enough to do that. My own library where I work is one of the stops.
Although some people are already pointing out concerns with the game such as safety because a GPS is used in the program, there are a lot of benefits. Instead of sitting around their rooms playing games on a computer or Xbox, kids can travel their neighborhood and get some exercise, fresh air, and knowledge of the area. Maybe when they stop at a library Pokémon stop, they will also pick up a book as well as some in-game items.
Pokémon GO can also bring families together. When my daughter asked me to accompany her on a Pokémon walk with her the other night because I won’t let her go out alone, I was so happy that she wanted to do something with her mother. As a pre-teen, she spends a lot of time in her room and avoids talking or interacting much with her parents. On our Pokémon walk, we found and captured some Pokémon and even got to talk a little bit. For those who don’t want to GO it alone, there are also teams and places offering Pokémon events at their locations.
Pokémon GO includes a tutorial that you can take when you sign up or access afterwards by entering the menu. To do so, tap the poke ball at the bottom center of the screen. In the top right corner is a button called “tips” with a question mark next to it. When you tap it, it will bring you through the tutorial.
For additional information on the game, tips on playing it, and other hints, see the following sites:
This article was written with the help of my 7th grade daughter, Holly De Louise, who is my toughest critic.