Being a Pokemon fan has always been heavy on the “to catch them is my real test, to train them is my cause” and light on the “I will travel across the land, searching far and wide” But today, after much hype, the new Pokemon Go app has finally been released in the USA! You can download it now for free from your Apple device or the Google Android store and start your journey to becoming a Pokemon master.
A Pokemon What-Now?
Pokemon GO is a game that combines classic “gotta catch ’em all” Pokemon gameplay with aspects of real-world outdoor GPS games like Ingress or classic geocaching. This means while you’re walking around on your way to work, school, or some other respectable adult activity, your smartphone will vibrate to alert you that there’s a Pokemon nearby. You can catch the wild Pokemon, train them, and battle them for fun or to gain local territory for your team. Even those who have never been Pokemon fans in the past may find such an immersive game hard to resist.
Basically, this is a clever scheme to get gamers out of the house and out exploring the world. It’s a perfect opportunity to expand your horizons and take some day-trips to interesting areas in and around your city. If you’re an introvert or don’t get out much, you might be feeling a little nervous about roaming around searching for Pokemon in unfamiliar areas. Planning ahead will ensure your days as a trainer (and a real-world explorer!) are safe and fun.
Pack Your GO Bag
In games and movies they usually don’t show the part where the adventurers are packing their bags. But to have an adventure that LOOKS effortless, you need to plan ahead and prepare your gear. Get a reliable backpack and go through a basic checklist of things to bring on your travels. Check the local weather and think about issues unique to the area you’ll be searching.
- Sunscreen, bug repellant, and wet wipes
- Energy-packed snacks like nuts and granola bars
- Your phone charger and a backup power supply
- A swiss army knife or multi-tool
- A miniature flashlight
- Emergency cash
See the Sights
In Pokemon GO, visiting many cultural landmarks are also Pokestops. Visiting these special locations will give you XP, Pokeballs, eggs, and other useful items. This is a perfect opportunity to play tourist in your city and visit some museums, historical spots, and nature preserves.
Once you’ve hit up all the Pokestops in your area, plan your own excursions based on things you’re interested in. Atlas Obscura is a treasure trove of weird and interesting landmarks that are closer than you’d think. Or for a geeky excursion, check Yelp to find a faraway bookstore, game shop, or comic shop you’ve never visited. You never know where you’ll find something amazing.
Know Your Biome
Pokemon in the game will appear in their natural habitats. So if you want to find a rare Pokemon, you’ll need to travel through some unusual terrain. Think about what type of Pokemon you’d like to find and check a map of your area to see what locations might be good. Or just pick an area that looks like someplace you’d like to explore. If it’s new to you, you’re bound to find new types of Pokemon there.
- Normal type Pokemon are hanging out all over the average town and city.
- Water Pokemon can be found near lakes, beaches, and rivers, or during rainy weather.
- Bug and Grass Pokemon can be found near forests, grasslands, and nature areas.
- Dark and Ghost Pokemon may appear in cemeteries, or at night in forests or urban areas. Stay safe!
- Rock and Ground Pokemon are found near mountains, caves, and some rocky beaches.
- Electric Pokemon often come out during thunderstorms.
- There are still a lot of mysteries left to uncover in Pokemon GO — where are psychic, dragon, fairy, and all the other types of Pokemon? Is it true that legendary Pokemon can be found at Stonehenge and Area 51? Will my neighbor care if I climb into his yard to catch that Pikachu real quick?
Better err on the side of caution if you’re not sure whether you’re allowed in a certain area — you don’t want to get arrested or fined over the possibility of catching a Pokemon. And travel with a friend if you’re going someplace that makes you nervous. If you’re the type of person who is ALWAYS nervous to be in an unfamiliar area, take things slow — stick to areas you and your friends know and have visited before, then branch out once you feel comfortable.
Rest Up, Charge Up
The Pokemon GO app is a notorious battery hog. Bring an emergency battery pack or power bank if you have one. But it’s still a good idea to plan a pit stop to recharge your phone’s battery… and your own metaphorical battery. Check Yelp to see if there’s an interesting restaurant or cafe in the area where you can relax and have a cold drink.
Depending on your area it might be hard to find a place with outlets you can use. In case of emergency, try a big-name chain like McDonald’s or Starbucks.
Plan a Pokemon Picnic
Even if your friends aren’t Pokemon GO fans (yet…), they still might like to join you on your travels. Plan a fun activity like a picnic or a day at the beach that will let you spend some time in a habitat ripe with unusual Pokemon.
Find a local park, beach, lake, or wilderness center that has a picnic area. Have your friends bring different foods pot-luck style, or grab a bunch of ready-to-eat food and snacks from the supermarket. (Don’t forget disposable plates, utensils, and napkins!) You can keep things casual with sandwiches, chips, and lemonade, or be that wonderful overachiever who makes everybody Pokeball cookies and Pikachu bento boxes.
Have fun and catch a ton of Pokemon! How are you liking the game so far? Any tips on finding rare Pokemon or other secret goodies? Leave us a comment below! And check out our Nintendo collection for Pokemon adventuring gear and other fun stuff.