Tired of hearing about Pokemon Go already? I don’t blame you. It’s all over the interwebs. If you have a child that likes Pokemon, chances are they’re already playing Pokemon Go…and it’s not going away. Our son just started playing this morning and we spent five hours walking around town catching Pokemon and trying to level up. To my surprise, I enjoyed it a lot.
What is Pokemon Go?
It’s a brand new virtual reality game played on mobile devices. The Pokemon Go app is free to download from the App Store and the Google Play Store. Each player creates their own Pokemon Trainer or avatar and they’re ready to (Pokemon) go. As the player moves with their phone, the character moves on the screen. The screen shows a representation of the player’s town or city, as if the game is laid over a Google map of the town. As the player moves around, PokeSpots, Poke Gyms, Poke Balls, Poke Eggs and Pokemon appear. Players can level up by capturing Pokemon and hatching eggs. Players can battle in Poke Gyms. We haven’t yet battled because we need to get to level five first. I’m sure there are aspects of the game I’m missing, but we’re still beginners.
What I do know is, you have to move to play the game and
you can’t you’re not supposed to be able to just drive around catching Pokemon. The game doesn’t work once you reach a certain speed. We were only able to catch a few in and around our home and the Poke Eggs won’t even hatch until you’ve walked a certain distance. I’m all for anything that takes us outside and gets us moving.
Gotta Catch ‘Em All!
Before we started looking for Pokemon, I silently designated myself the Pokemon Lifeguard. I read the articles about people getting hurt playing the game. Some players have been too engrossed in their game on their screens and not aware of their surroundings and potential dangers like stepping in holes or walking into traffic. Players have actually injured themselves because they were so distracted. It’s enough of a problem that a message periodically pops up in the game warning players to be aware of their surroundings.
Once we talked about safety and common sense we decided to start looking for Pokemon while walking the dog. Our short walk turned into a two-hour Poke Adventure. We found ourselves walking to a nearby park. The park turned out to be one of the game’s Poke Gyms. While at the park, we met other families also out searching for Pokemon. The kids started working together and scoured the whole park catching Pokemon, eggs, and balls while the parents chatted and followed them around at a distance (making sure they didn’t unknowingly walk into traffic).
The more Pokemon P caught the more determined he became. He started thinking of all the places we could hunt for Pokemon– McDonald’s (none there), libraries (four at the Central Branch and zero at the De Pere Branch), downtown Green Bay (a Pokemon Gym in the parking ramp! And four Pokemon captured just walking around), Voyageur Park (none that we could find), Lambeau Field Atrium (a Pokémon Gym and lots of Pokemon), Bay Park Square (Pokémon galore, a gym, and a great place to get a cookie), Zesty’s (a PokeStop), and Kwik Trip (one). Me? I’m looking forward to going to UW-Green Bay to see how many are hiding there.
An added benefit of playing Pokemon Go? P agreed to do everything with me today. He happily agreed to do normally boring things like doing errands and walking the dog. Those boring things meant more opportunities to capture Pokemon. He hopped in the car without argument and was extremely polite and thankful all day.
And the exercise! I wore my Fitbit and walked 6000 steps in a few short hours. By noon I had almost to 10,000 steps.
Learn from Our Mistakes
- Wear sunscreen- seriously- though you don’t have to worry so much about your kids’ faces because they’ll be looking down at their phones all day
- Wear tennis shoes. We walked a lot
- Bring a water bottle. Again, we walked a lot
- Bring a backup battery for your phone- between data and GPS, the game can eat up battery life pretty fast
For now, I’m happy to say goodbye to my phone for most of the day while P is on the hunt for Pokemon. What’s not to love about exploring our city, using map skills, meeting new people, and spending the day together? And my son? He loves that “I’m active and I get more screen time.” Of course.