Pokemon Go was released earlier this week state side on iOS and Android devices. Pokemon go is a AR type game that allows you to explore our living world in search of Pokemon. You log in with your Gmail and so the adventure begins. Like most Pokemon games, you are introduced to a professor, Professor Willow, who introduces you to the world of Pokemon and asks you what your style preference is (as opposed to are you a boy or a girl?). From this point forward, you get to choose between three starters: Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle. There apparently is a way in which you can gain Pikachu as a starter, when you are given your choice of the first three starters, don’t engage them just run around till Pikachu shows up (can’t confirm or deny that this happens). After this, you begin your journey.
There is a level system that you go through when catching Pokemon or evolving them, the more levels you gain the better. Once you hit level 5 you are able to align with three of the gym types. I am going to explain this simple like because I can. Red gym is Team Valor, Blue is Team Mystic, and Yellow is Team Instinct. You can rule a level on a gym floor of your color but gyms can be stripped to neutral and claimed by other teams. Pokemon spawn at random and some a lot more than most, you are given pokeballs to catch them in (duh) and there is a chance for the Pokemon to flee (double duh). As you move on your travels (literally) there are gyms sprinkled about as well as PokeStops. PokeStops are housed at land marks such as parks, churches, and apparently strip clubs. When you visit a stop you will receive items and can place a lure for the community around you to come and catch Pokemon.
Leveling up Pokemon is kind of strange, at least in my opinion, because you don’t battle wild Pokemon in a traditional manner. To level a Pokemon, you can train it at a gym or you can catch a lot of its kind and transfer it to Professor Willow to earn that Pokemons candy type. When you have the required amount of candy available, you can evolve that Pokemon. You earn stardust every time you catch a Pokemon as well and stardust is used to level up your Pokemon.
There has been a lot of concern regarding this game in terms of safety. There have already been news reports of people stumbling on bodies, drug deals, and other criminal scenes. There has also been a large concern with potential accidents as people attempt to drive and catch (DO NOT DO, its so dangerous and distracting) or kids running into the streets without awareness of what is happening around them. So the PSA from myself, be safe and be aware! Your life isn’t worth a virtual-chu.
On lighter note, I am going to hail praise for Pokemon GO. There are those who have social anxieties, depression, and other mental health issues that have something that helps them. From a lot of posts I have read online, people have found a purpose and need to leave the house . They are socializing with strangers in a non-threatening way and are connecting as a community. People are leaving the house and moving which promotes health while having fun becoming the badass Pokemon Master they are. My husband has actually been out and about because of this game, and he hates leaving the house, he is happy to go riding a bike around the neighborhood to catch all the Pokemon, and I am happy because its hilarious to see him do this.
Pokemon GO is free on iOS and Android with in app purchases as well. There are still server issues, but hopefully future updates will allow for smoother game play.
Article by Meghan Rodriguez (Twitter: @collins_m81)