We've been having some fun with the new Pokemon Go game this week so I thought I'd jot down some tips on getting the most out of it if you are chasing around your own little monsters at the same time :) I'm certainly no expert on gaming or Pokemon but here is what we've learnt from jumping in and playing...
If you haven't got your head around all this augmented reality nostalgia here is a quick run down- Pokemon Go is a free app for almost any mobile device. It uses Google maps to get you moving in the real world to move your Pokemon training avatar through the game. Pokemon will be hiding almost everywhere, there are 250 to find all up. On the map you will see leaves rustling as a clue to where you'll find one next. Pokestops are another part of the game as set locations, clearly marked, where you can visit to get more things to use during the game. The point of the game is to collect as many Pokemon as you can and then train them to fight. Want to skip the fighting part and just be a collector? You can do that.
Tips and Tricks
1. Worried about mobile data?
Yes, the game is going to eat through your data allowance with it's constant map updates. The best way around this is to play somewhere with free WiFi. Fed Square, Melbourne Central, Harbour Town, lots of parks and shopping centres all have WiFi you can chase Pokemon with and the bigger public places tend to have a bigger Pokemon population.
2. Not sure about interaction with random people through a game? No worries. Catching Pokemon is a solo adventure. It only changes when you choose to go to a 'Gym' and train your Pokemon to fight each other. Just want to wander around with the kids finding Pikachu? Just do that!
3. Don't want it to cost anything? Me either! The app is free but there are in app purchases. I think these are unnecessary and there is certainly no reason for you to spend any money for just playing about with it. The extras are things like Pokeballs (that you use to catch Pokemon) and Crystals (for later when you get fighting) but all of these things are available at the pokestops that refresh every five minutes.
4. Want to really encourage the walking/fitness side? Keep an eye out for eggs. Eggs are unhatched Pokemon that you need to put in an incubator and then walk a designated distance to hatch. It's a nice little goal for the kids to aim for.
5. Want some great results fairly quickly (so the kids don't get bored)? Head to a big, public place. Tourist attractions are the best. Then go to the backpack icon and use the insense, this will lure Pokemon your way. You should have plenty to keep the kids entertained.
6. Do you have a cargo bike or trailer? We have been Pokemon chasing in our bike and it's perfect for racking up greater distances. It's only a bike game if you can hand over the phone to a navigator though. Don't attempt to Poke and ride.
7. Let's talk battery life. This game burns through the charge but there's some things you can do to help. Turn off music, sound effects and vibrations in settings and consider skipping the AR (augmented reality) mode when catching a Pokemon.
8. But isn't this all just another reason for kids to watch a screen? I don't think so. It's unique in that you need to be moving for it to work. Sitting on your couch watching the app will get zero results. It encourages kids (and you!) to go walking, to visit new places and I think it's a fun thing to do together with your kids. We use it on the walk to school now and it has us walking further but having more fun in the process.
So, go, have fun and see some parts of town you may have not otherwise explored! Stay aware of your surroundings though or those Pokemon critters will get the last laugh!