When thinking about travel you might not exactly relate to the newest hype: Pokémon GO. Think again! The game is actually perfect for travelers as it stimulates you to visit historic buildings and interesting places, even giving some information when you go looking for your catch there. And when you’re traveling a lot, you might just become one of the best Pokémon catchers, as you need to get around in order to find the most rare ones! In this article from Magic of Miles you find more on this topic. Just be sure to stay safe as you play Pokémon GO while traveling with these 5 fast rules.
Even in Vegas you can’t miss the colorful creatures: casinos are inviting Pokemon Go players to their floors. Which makes sense, as it seems like more adults than kids are playing the game. Silverton Casino for example, has even got four Pokemon Stops and two Gyms. This Thursday, they’re hosting a “2$ PokeDraft And Beer Olympics Meet Up“. Airlines such as Qantas are also joining in the fun.
In this article you can read everything about what the game exactly is, how to play it, and why it’s become so incredibly popular.
If you ask anyone that was born in the mid to late 90’s, they will tell you that one of their childhood dreams was to be able to interact with Pokemon in real life. Pokemon began as any other game does, as just a game; something to do when you’re bored or need some mild entertainment. However, as more and more people started to play it, it became more than just a game. It slowly evolved into an experience; one with new Pokemon, new regions, an added ability to interact with friends, and more than enough mystique to keep you hooked and playing for hours on end (as a point of reference, I have Pokemon games with over 100 hours logged on them, and I consider myself a casual player).
Many fans of the game have been fantasizing about a mobile version of Pokemon, one that you could play on the Go for hours on end. While there were many competitors attempting to make some form of “pocket monsters”, none of these games ever held a candle to the 24 billion dollar industry that is Pokemon.
Pokemon GO has become one of the first augmented reality games to actually become popular. Augmented reality gaming has to do with combining the real world and the virtual world to create one complete experience. Pokemon Go actually takes a slightly different approach than many of the other Pokemon games in the franchise because it used augmented reality, but even so it is still capturing the hearts, and cell phone data, of the rapidly increasing, greater than 10 million people who are already playing.
Pokémon Go – Let’s Go Catch ‘Em All!
1. Create Your Avatar
When first opening the game you create an avatar with a unique username, this is unique to the entire Pokemon franchise. Never before had you been required to have a unique username because there was never a need for one.
2. Increase Your trainer level
Once you have created your Avatar you are immediately set at trainer level one. By catching more Pokemon, leveling them up, evolving, and hatching new ones you can slowly grow your trainer level. As you increase your trainer level, you have the potential to catch stronger and stronger Pokemon, as well as the opportunity to gain better items and face more difficult challenges.
3. Choose Your Pokemon
Next, you meet the Pokemon professor who instructs you to catch one of the Pokemon in front of you. In this case you get to choose from the starter Pokemon; Charmander, Squirtle, or Bulbasaur.
4. Augmented Reality – Your New World
After doing so the game immediately throws you into the world of Pokemon, which for the first time is actually your world. As you walk around with the app open you can literally see the world around you. All of the roads and buildings are incredibly accurate and the game uses the phone’s GPS location to find and track wherever you are. Just like in the first Pokemon games, Pokemon Go starts out with just Generation one Pokemon, which is a total of 151 different Pokemon.
5. Walk… A Lot!
As you walk around in more populated areas, like through town centers, parks, and busy streets and stores, more and more Pokemon will become available to you (I even found a Pikachu while eating dinner once). Whenever you see a Pokemon you can immediately tap it and attempt to catch it by flicking one of your Poké balls at it. It becomes such a simple and rewarding task that it is almost addictive in nature.
After each capture of a Pokemon, your avatar is awarded experience points, stardust, and candies, along with being able to see your newly caught Pokemon’s CP (Combat power) level. All of these characteristics are very unique to the Pokemon Go world. Experience points are for leveling up your avatar, however stardust and candies are for increasing the level and, eventually, evolving your Pokemon. Then CP determines how strong your Pokemon is, and is an easy way to compare all of your Pokemon to each other. After each capture you are rewarded 100 stardust and 3 candies unique to the Pokemon you caught. For example, if you caught an Eevee (there was one in front of my car just this morning), you would get 100 stardust and 3 “Eevee candies”.
You can use your stardust and candies to “power up” and make your Pokemon stronger by increasing its’ CP, or to evolve it. After you have caught many different Pokemon you then have to make the decision as to which you will train, which you will transfer (aka get rid of), and which you will evolve.
As you can see in this picture I can currently evolve my Eevee, or get more stardust to level it up. When you evolve your Pokemon it significantly increases its’ CP as well (once evolved, my Eevee tripled its’ CP). These decisions only add to the intrigue and fascination behind the Pokemon franchise. The game is powered by your decisions, and there are thousands of different choices to make at every point of the game.
Real Meets Virtual
When constructing a game with augmented reality, the creators of Pokemon Go really needed to decide how they were going to implement the real world into their game. They decided to incorporate it in three ways; Poké stops, Gyms, and a tracking Pokemon feature. First they created Poké stops. A Poké stop is often a significant location in a town, one that will almost never change (it can be seen in the picture as the blue point with a cube on top of it).
The most common examples of Poké stops are post offices, town halls, and religious buildings and statues. The purpose of a Poké stop is to stock up on items. When you are in the radius of one, you just simply swipe your finger across it and get many free items, including Poké balls, eggs, and battle items (some of the items found at Poké stops can be used at gym battles later in the game). There are some locations that have many Poké stops in one area, I happened upon one that had 6 very close to each other, which made for a great hour of walking around, getting more items, and catching Pokemon.
Next, Pokemon Go incorporates Gyms. In the original games, a professional Pokemon trainer would host a gym. However, in Pokemon Go, the players get to create and monitor their own gyms, where others can come and challenge them. Once you reach trainer level 5 you will be given the option of joining the Red team, Blue team, or the Yellow team. This is a feature that is very exclusive to Pokemon Go. By joining a team it gives you the opportunity to take over gyms with your team members. I joined the Red team, along with many of my friends who have the game, so we can all play together more easily.
This allows for the game to build on itself, becoming more and more difficult through competitiveness and interaction with other players. When you take over a gym however it becomes owned by your team (the gym pictured here is owned by the blue team), at which point the other two teams can try and challenge and then seize control of it. Through this kind of competition, you are able to have the game play itself further through the players, which is a characteristic of any top mobile game. Finally, Pokemon Go has a tracking feature that allows you to see what Pokemon are in the area and how close they may be. You can then walk around looking for them, and hopefully eventually catching them. By using the real world, Pokemon Go brings the Pokemon world into your reality.
The Pokémon Hype
So the question becomes, how does a game like this stay popular? Why will people keep playing it? The creators of Pokemon Go have a lot of options now, outside of just expanding to more countries outside the United States (which they officially did do as of July 17th, 2016 to 27 more countries). There have been rumors of adding a trading feature, which would be consistent with many of the other Pokemon games, and the creation of a wristwatch, which would connect with the game and allow you to catch Pokemon on it. However, I think the smartest move the creators of Pokemon Go could make would be to slowly and dramatically introduce each new generation of Pokemon annually or bi-annually on a scheduled date. The Pokemon franchise currently has 6 generations of Pokemon (with a new 7th generation to be released in November with the new Pokemon Sun and Moon for the 3DS). If Pokemon Go plays their cards right, they can have players around the world anxiously awaiting the update to add each generation, bringing a brand new set of Pokemon into the world for each trainer to interact, catch, and crave for another year.
For now though, Pokemon Go is just the fun, simple, augmented reality gaming experience that is sweeping the nation. So, are you ready? Your very own Pokemon adventure is about to unfold.
[ Note : This is a guest post from our TravelZork Pokémon expert, Ryan. ]