It's mind blowing, in a matter of 48 hours, Pokemon Go has taken over my family. In a good way. Everyone has been begging to head outside, go to the park and run around the neighborhood to “hunt for Pokemon”. Something that hasn't been of interest to anyone in… forever! My husband is the exception, he's not a Pokemon Go fan yet, but we have a plan to suck him in too. I love how this mobile game has turned my kids from indoor gamers to outside explores, overnight!
Pokemon Go Tips, Resources and Need to Know Info
We spent all day yesterday adventuring around town exploring with Pokemon Go. I'll share more about what we discovered in another post. For now, let's talk about getting started and the basics you need to know about Pokemon Go. I don't know all the ins and outs of the game, but I do know my kids have been running around outside more in the last 2 days than they have the rest of summer break so far. It's awesome! I've got a few things to share that we've learned. I'm also sharing resources I've found helpful below.
Pokemon Go Overview
Pokemon Go is a mobile game that gives players the opportunity to “catch” Pokemon characters in the real world. The game is free to download and play and is currently available for IOS and Android. Players (Aka Pokemon Trainers) can play alone and collect Pokemon or battle other players… I haven't gotten into the battling yet, so I don't know much about this part of the game.
Age: Pokemon Go is a great mobile game for any age. I wouldn't let your little one's roam the streets alone, but they surely can play and enjoy the fun of finding Pokemon.
Great group game: Every device/game install is set for one player. Each game install has it's own Pokedex which stores/keeps track of the Pokemon collected. So everyone can play together, with their own devices, while collecting their own Pokemon. The whole family can head outside on a family adventure! We have been to a number of locations from parks to the Mall and each has it's own gaming fun. If you only have one device to play, that's ok. You can take turns catching Pokemon, gathering items from Pokestops and interacting with the game. In my family, we don't live right next to a lot of game items, so I drive and the kids play.
In App Purchases: Pokemon Go is free to download and play. You could successfully play the game without making any purchases. However there is a “shop” tied into the game as part of the main options. Here you can purchase a variety of things including extra Pokeballs. You must purchase coins that are then added to the account in a kind of bank which the in-game purchases are then drawn from. As you play, you might start to run out of Pokeballs – just head to a Pokestop and start collecting balls for free. The Pokestop will refresh about every 5 minutes. We go to a local park that has a few stops and just walk around between them to collect a bunch of balls.
Security: Recently we discovered that if you connect your device to the game via your Google account, the game has FULL ACCESS to your Google account. There has been an updated version of the app. If you haven't yet installed the game, you should be good with Google as the game should only set Basic Access. If you installed the game before July 15th, make sure to update the game, log out and then log back in and your settings should be reset from Full to Basic access.
Just to be sure… Read my article about checking your Google account access to verify the app has the proper permissions.
Safety: Because this game encourages players to head out and explore, there are some safety concerns. Pay attention to where you are, watch where you are walking and strangers are still strangers. The loading screen for the game even includes a reminder to “Be aware of your surroundings”. I went around with my kids when we went into unknown areas. When we went to familiar parks, I planted myself in a chair as a “home base” for my kids to flock to.
Pokemon can be found ANYWHERE, so you have to make sure to watch where you are walking. His character was literally in the middle of the drive way of our local grocery store… look how close the car is in this photo.
Pokemon Go Basics to Know
Pokemon Go is a mobile game to “catch” Pokemon in the real world. Meaning, you can looking for Pokemon to appear – on your mobile device – anywhere you travel in the real world. We have found Pokemon at the park, at the mall, by our house, at the library and even inside the grocery store.
- Download and install the game to your iOS or Android mobile phone.
- Sign up to play with either your Google account or with Pokemon Trainer Club. Be aware, as of this writing, there is a still an issue with Google accounts. If using your Google account, you will be granting Niantic (the Pokemon company) full access to your Google account… not a good idea.
- Set up your “trainer” preferences. This is your player/avatar in the game.
- Then start looking for Pokemon!
You can catch Pokemon, visit Pokestops and battle at Pokemon Gyms. You can also collect all kinds of extra items along the way and even hatch Pokemon eggs. The kids played while I drove. As I was driving they capture Pokemon and interacted with Pokestops. We also stopped at different locations and walked around to find whatever Pokemon were nearby. You'll see photos for various places as you go, these are images taken from Google maps. You'll also notice that the map you use to explore for your Pokemon is pretty accurate. Know your area, not everything on the map is exact.
Pokemon Go Settings
When inside the app, you have a few settings you can adjust at any time. Click on the pokeball “home” button in the app. The, look in the upper right of your screen to fine a gear icon, this is your settings button. (I am using an iPhone 5s). In settings, you can turn on and off: music, sound effects, vibrate, battery saver and sending of info to your email address. Settings also includes links to quick start, help center, about and sign out.
Battery Saver settings for Pokemon Go
Pokemon Go can drain your phone's battery pretty quickly. You need location services turned ON for the game to function, but in the setting screen there is a battery saver option. I recommend un-selecting all of the extra options (music, sound effects and vibrate) and turn battery saver ON. This should significantly increase the life of your battery while playing the game. Also, if you aren't actively playing the game, turn it off/close the game window.
Pokemon Go Terminology
- Pokemon – the animal-like characters you are trying to “catch
- Pokemon trainer – you, the player
- Pokeball – the virtual tool used to capture and keep Pokemon
- Map – the main player interface of the game
- Pokestops – a location you can interact with to collect items (in the standard video game, these are Pokeshops)
- Pokemon Gyms – locations to “battle” with Pokemon with the goal to “take over” or become the owner of the gym. You don't actually own the gym you are the leader in name only. You need to be a level 5 to battle and level 8 to place a Pokemon in a gym.
- Teams – When you reach level 5, you can join one of 3 Pokemon Go “teams”that you then side with for battles and gym ownerships.
- Battle – combatting in the game against another player for ownership of a gym.
- Pokedex – the collection library for all the Pokemon you've captured
- Items – all the objects/tools collected that you can use to help capture or take care of the Pokemon.
We are still exploring the game, so as I learn more about Pokemon Go, I will stop back in and share what we find. For now, have fun exploring, capturing and playing outside! Watch for the Pokemon Go Plus, coming this December.
More Pokemon Go resources:
- Tips and Tricks for Pokemon Go
- 10 Things Every Parent Should Know About Pokémon Go
- Pokemon Go Explained
- Official Pokemon Go website