Only over a week has passed since Nintendo and Niantic blessed the world with their ace-in-the-hole, the Pokemon GO app that has taken the world by storm and has broken records in the US mobile gaming market. Indeed, one of the greatest tragedies of this month is that in most parts of Asia, this app is still not available and people are still wondering and waiting when it will launch. But in the US, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, and Germany, some people are already evolving their Zubats and hatching their Pokemon eggs.
Consider this a gift from us, both for you guys already playing for those of you waiting to get their hands on Pokemon GO. If you’re already playing, you may have noticed that there are some things you need to consider when you play. For those of you waiting to finally play it, here are some tips so you can enjoy the game as it was meant to be played.
1. YOUR SAFETY IS YOUR FIRST CONCERN
You’ve been reading the news as of late. We’re going to have none of that “falling off cliffs” and “getting run over by cars” crap. A Pokemon is not worth your body’s safety – yes, even if that’s a Mewtwo (for the record, nobody’s seen a Mewtwo yet). Crossing a busy highway is always a serious matter, so take your eyes off the screen. Going into a dark alley is always a “no go”, especially if you’re not familiar with the neighborhood. Please, let’s allow common sense to take over our need for more Pokemon.
Niantic has learned a lot from their first augmented reality game Ingress, and it’s just logical that they have not programmed the game to make Pokemon appear on roads or other dangerous places. Still, we cannot discount for GPS errors and whatnot, so be mindful of your environment. Crap happens, even if you’re fulfilling your Pokemon trainer dreams.
Also, criminals and muggers don’t care about your Pokemon-drive dreams. They only want your smartphone, and you can’t very well play Pokemon without a phone or if you get mugged and end up in a hospital, can you?
2. ENJOY THE GAME, GEAR UP FOR EXERCISE
Niantic may not have intended it to be so, but suddenly a lot more people are enjoying walking around in their neighborhoods. Pokemon GO just became the best reason to get off our collective behinds and start walking – to catch Squirtles and Magikarps, of course, but in the process get some much needed exercise as well. So you might as well gear up.
There’s surely no need to break out your official cosplay Pokemon trainer costume, but good exercise gear surely won’t go amiss. Comfortable walking or running shoes (none of those loafers or high heels for women) will sure make your walk more enjoyable, as well as comfortable walking clothes. If you’re really serious about going out for a day just for a Pokemon hunt, then bring a backpack and put in an extra shirt, a towel (because Pokemon trainers sweat, too), an energy bar or 3, and a bottle of water. Oh, and you might want to pack in a power bank as well (more on this later).
3. DON’T BE A JERK, MIND THE LAW
So there’s a Pikachu in the neighborhood you’re walking in, but it’s in somebody’s backyard. Whatever you do, DON’T TRESPASS. “I was just playing a game” will never fly as an excuse for breaking the law and trespassing on someone else’s legal property. If you want, ask permission or something, but never trespass. Stop slinking around someone’s house as well, you’re liable to get shot if the homeowner owns a gun and they don’t like suspicious characters around their property. You’ve been warned. It doesn’t really look good on the news to be the one that was “shot because he was trying to get a Charmander on someone’s backyard”.
Even if you’re in a mall, park, train station or some other location that’s open to the public, there’s still no reason to be bumping into everybody and being a jerk because you can’t take your eyes off your device’s screen and look around for a moment.
Also, the game developers seem to have made it a point to make churches as PokeStops (where you can resupply your Pokeballs and get eggs). That said, don’t be rude and barge into a place when a solemn mass or service is going on. Worse, you could actually barge into an interment service, and that would just be very impolite. So the rule is, be a nice person first and foremost, ok?
4. BE PREPARED, BRING EXTRA JUICE
And we don’t mean just your favorite drink – although you can bring that along as well. We mean that the app is going to make your Android device a power-hungry fiend. You can take our word on it, and Niantic has admitted as much – the app runs your GPS, your LTE or 3G data connection, your screen, your camera (if activated), and a lot of manual controls as well – so your battery will run out, FAST.
Some people have experienced losing 80% of their batteries from a full charge after an hour of walking around, so that will suck if you don’t have a power bank handy. On average, a device’s battery will be around 2,800mAh to 3,000mAh. A high-capacity power bank, with at least 10,000mAh capacity will give you around two (2) full charges and then some. That equates to around 3 hours or so of good Pokemon hunting time.
We suggest you sit down for lunch or meals at a place where they have some power outlets, so you can juice up your device and power bank while you’re eating. An hour of charging should give you enough juice for the rest of the day and get home to gloat over your friends’ pitiful Pokedexes.
5. YOU CAN PLAY THE GAME AND NOT SPEND
We all know that free-to-play games will burden you with in-app purchases so they can earn. At the moment, Pokemon GO isn’t even asking for that yet, given that there are NO store-bought super-rare Pokemon, or items that make your Pokemon stronger. To hatch eggs, you walk. To catch Pokemon, you walk. To get supplies, you walk to the nearest Pokestop. You get the idea?
Sure, you can buy more incense (to lure Pokemon closer to you), but that’s just if you can’t go out walking. The game asks you to sweat, not to pay for some unfair advantage. So go out and get sweating.
6. TALK TO OTHER TRAINERS, MAKE SOME NEW FRIENDS
If you think about it, the Pokemon craze started two decades ago, so a lot of the people interested in this game will be in your generation – that is, people 27 years old or older. And honestly speaking, you can actually not talk to each other while trying to bag that elusive Charizard in park, but where’s the fun in that? Making new friends is difficult enough as it is. Pokemon GO is bringing people from a whole generation together by getting them to walk and mingle and interact with each other.
If one of you actually is successful in capturing that rare Pokemon, you can laugh at each other, congratulate the trainer who captured said Charizard, and well… share an energy bar and some stories. Who knows, you might just be friends with people who will be in the same team (the game asks you to pick one from three available teams when you get to Level 5), and be protecting gyms for dominance with these people. Being friends with them is an actual plus, don’t you think?