Pokemon Go

A new App has captured the world by storm, Pokemon Go. And as I had played the Pokemon games on the Nintendo DS with my daughter many years ago, this instantly caught our attention, which is why we downloaded it the day it became available in the UK.Now unlike the previous Pokemon games where the player is sedentary while playing it, this game involves moving around and interacting with your environment, and will actually help you notice all the places that are around you.

Map showing a Rattata near me waiting to be caught

The first step is to log in and then create your own Avatar. Then comes the fun – looking for Pokemon in your neighbourhood and perhaps places you visit as well using the GPS of the phone to map out the surroundings.

Pokeball thrown to catch the Pokemon
Pokeball thrown to catch the Pokemon – unfortunately my App hung at this point and had to be reset

Around the neighbourhood it will be possible to see certain landmarks which have been designated Poke-Stops where you can visit to get items such as Pokeball for free, or Gyms where you can train your Pokemon – there is one at our Sandford lock, which we will go to explore tomorrow.

Pokestop where you can collect items such as Pokeballs
Pokestop where you can collect items such as Pokeballs

The first Pokemon I caught was a Bulbasaur – which is probably the starter Pokemon. It is possible to feed it Stardust and Bulbasaur Candy to power up and make it stronger.

Bulbasaur stats
Bulbasaur stats

My youngest daughter became very excited when she helped me to catch this Eevee near our Village Park. And as you walk about the neighbourhood, you will notice some areas where there are leaves ruffling about on the map – that usually means that there is a Pokemon lurking around there, waiting to be caught.

Pokemon Eevee
Pokemon Eevee
Confirmation to
Confirmation to power up the Pokemon

Here I’ve powered up my Bulbasaur.

Power up Pokemon to make them more powerful
Power up Pokemon to make them more powerful

I also happened to get an Egg probably from a Pokemon I had caught which needs to be hatched. This, however, requires some physical effort – to the tune of 10km – in order to hatch it. This is similar to the game play in the actual Pokemon game, where you have to move about a certain number of steps (or ride a bike to make it even faster) in the game in order to hatch an egg – but this time it is recorded in real life by walking the 10K. I might have to get my wife to take my phone with her for her runs – just to help hatch my egg faster.

Hatching egg - involves walking 10km
Hatching egg – involves walking 10km

So I’ve managed to capture 4 Pokemon on my first day, just in the hour we walked about our neighbourhood. And it was possible to see that there are some larger Pokemon much further afield, but we will try to look for those at another time.

My collection of Pokemon so far
My collection of Pokemon so far

What do I like about it?

  1. Great game goals and allows for Pokemon to be played in real life on iPhone or Android devices.
  2. It makes us want to walk which is a healthy activity.
  3. Free App which will entertain our family for quite a while. I can see my wife joining us, as it means her taking more steps per day.
  4. Because it shows details of the surroundings, it will help people to learn more about their neighbourhood, which has got to be good.

What could be improved?

  1. The game play is still buggy at the moment, with the App hanging very often and requiring a game reset by exiting it – sometimes at the expense of the Pokemon I was catching. This is rather annoying. But hopefully the stability of this App will improve with time.
  2. It will drain the battery significantly, so you will need to hook it to a battery bank or battery case to prolong the game play.

This App has been catching the attention of people around the world, and all the girls in my daughter’s class have been talking about it – which just goes to show how popular Pokemon was in the past. We are looking forward to more time on this game, and getting healthy at the same time by all the walking we will be doing.