As a kid I never watched Pokemon. I didn’t even have any of the cards. I was too wrapped up in Sailor Moon and Power Rangers to notice Japan’s other export. Seems kind of crazy now to think about it, but I didn’t join the Pokemon community until almost two years ago when the Pokemon Go craze hit the world.
In the mobile game Pokemon Go, you play as your own custom Pokemon trainer. Professor Willow (there is always a professor named after a plant) recruits you to help him research pokemon. You choose your starter: Squirtle, Bulbasaur or Charmander (or if you just keep walking away you can start with Pikachu!). From then on out the goal of the game is to do what Pokemon trainers have been doing since the 90s: catch them all!
You accomplish this by walking around your neighborhood waiting for Pokemon to pop up. Once one does, you tap it. You can use their Alternate Reality (AR for short) camera and superimpose the Pokemon on your actual environment. Not all phones support this feature (mine included) so it is easy to turn off and just use the standard grassy background. Then you use the skills you gained playing way too many hours of Paper Toss and swipe to throw the Pokeball. If the ball shakes three times and then sparkles you have caught your first Pokemon. Congrats. You have pretty much completed the basic gameplay.
So when Raids were released, I jumped for joy. Something new was coming. It may not be trainer battles, or trading, but it was something. (I’m still waiting on trading!) Raids were something that my friend group could do together. We couldn’t take gyms as poor communication led to two Valor, two Mystic, and myself as the lone Instinct. Our first Raid was at a large outdoor shopping center. There were so many other players there I almost didn’t believe we would all be able to participate. Somehow we did and took down that Articuno. And then the unthinkable happened: my game crashed. (Cue the horror music.)
This is fairly common. I freaked out, but other players assured me I should be able to go back into the raid and try to catch the legendary. Surprisingly it did let me back in, but I wasn’t able to catch Articuno. A little less than half of us didn’t catch the legendary and that’s okay. Legendaries are supposed to be hard to get. They are legendary for a reason..
The shortcomings of raids became apparent right away. You need a massive number of people to complete a raid, which means rural areas with fewer players, or just players with poorly communicating communities are at a disadvantage. Trust me when I say you cannot take on a raid with only two people, no matter how awesome your Pokemon are. You also can only get one raid pass daily, unless you want to open your wallet.
Community Day happens once a month, and only lasts for three hours. You heard me right: THREE HOURS. The latest Community Day was on March 25th and featured Bulbasaur. This meant that for three hours you could catch a ton of Bulbasaur, a Pokemon that if you live in the desert like I do, is pretty hard to find. I needed Bulbasaur in order to get a Venusaur.
We headed out to one of the nicer parks, hoping there would be a bunch of Bulbasaur to collect. Except we were running late. Unfortunately, we were even more behind than we thought. See, we live in Arizona, this means that when the rest of the world changes times, we don’t. Arizona stays the same. So when I read 11AM PST, I thought, “Oh hey, that’s noon our time.” Except at the moment, PST is not observed, it’s PDT which means 11AM is 11AM. My poor Pokemon Day was over before it had even begun. I was able to catch six Bulbasaurs before the event ended.
April will have the next Community Day. Since it seems unlikely that the time limit will increase, I’ll give you a few tips. Triple check the starting time, and how far off that is from your time zone. Be at a park or area with a lot of Pokestops before the start time. Go out the day before and collect as many Pokeballs as you can, you are going to need them. And one more tip: Hydrate! You may not live in a desert like me, but you will be doing a lot of walking. Take water with you and pay attention to local weather conditions.
Today some amazing news was released. (Check out the official announcement here!) Coming later this week to Pokemon Go will be quests. These quests will be collected from going to Pokestops and will help aid in Professor Willow’s research. These quests will have you gathering Field and Special Research. To collect the research, you will have to complete certain daily quests. For each day you complete your quests you will earn a stamp, and get rewards from collecting enough stamps. (Fan speculation even says you might get Mew!)
Who knows what else Niantic will bring to the game in future. All I know is that I will be eagerly awaiting the next update. See you out there, Trainers!
Pokemon Go is a game for mobile phones. You can find it in the apps store for both Android and Apple. It is free to play with options of buying things with real world money. Check out the trailer below for more information. Pokemon Go is rated E for Everyone.
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