Pokémon Go is the crazy that everyone is talking about. Are you one of the people that are totally addicted? Are you one of the people wondering what on earth it is about? Or are you shaking your head at this pointless nonsense!
My inner kid was intrigued by the Pokémon Go phenomenon. To try it out I down loaded the app on Sunday. The app is free to download although there are options to make in app purchases. I wasn’t even giving into peer pressure from my kids. They hadn’t heard of it at this point!
Pokémon are pocket monsters, little cartoon looking character animals in bright colours. You might remember these from cartoons in the nineties. The game uses augmented reality. This is a fancy term for making Pokémon pop up in the real world.
The aim of the game is to find and catch Pokémon. The different creatures have different point values.
The app uses the GPS on your phone to generate a map of your surrounding area. It looks like a more cartoon version of google maps. You walk about looking for Pokemon to appear on the map.
When you get close to a Pokémon your phone buzzes and flicks over to camera mode. This is the exciting bit. You see the normal camera image but now there is a little Pokémon there. To catch the Pokémon you flick a little red ball at it. This is called a Pokeball. If you successfully hit the Pokémon the screen sparkles. A little card pops up telling you the name of the Pokémon you have caught and it’s points value. We are still beginners so we are catching easy Pokémon. As you advance in the game the Pokémon get harder to catch.
Catching our first monsters
I had a little try out looking for Pokémon on my own. I wanted to figure out how to use the app before using it with the kids (who’s patients leaves are not the best!) I found a few in my house straight away. To be honest I was a bit hooked!
I was going out with my daughter (aged 7) anyway so we decided to try out Pokémon Go outside. My twin boys are age 3 and are a bit young to get the idea.
I realised straight away that you need an internet connection to make it work. This is a bit annoying as my phone contract doesn’t give me much data. The speed of the internet connection also affects how well the game works when you are walking around the streets. The app does crash at times too. Even so we found some Pokémon around our village which made my daughter very excited.
You can also look for Pokestops. These are located at landmarks nearby to you. These are places that you can collect items or Pokémon eggs. I’ll be honest we haven’t totally figured out how to collect items and what to do with them. I like the idea that looking for Pokestops will get you exploring areas around you.
Once you are more experienced you have the chance to go to Pokémon Gym and battle your Pokémon. We are only on level 2 – you need to be at level 5 to do this.
Will you look like an idiot?
Possibly! You have two options. Unashamedly play the game and not care if people are looking at you thinking you are mental! It helps to have a little kid with you to reduce the cringe factor. The other option is to try and style it out and disguise the fact that you are walking around looking for imaginary monsters! You can pretend to send a text while walking. The give away though is when you suddenly stop, change direction and start waving your phone about. I spotted a few adults who were also playing Pokémon Go first thing on Sunday morning. They were really trying to be subtle about it.
Is it any good?
We have had great fun playing Pokémon Go. There is something very cool about seeing a little turtle running around your living room. My kids love an app but they do tend to make them want to stay inside looking at a phone screen. The thing that I really like is the fact that this app is a fun way to get your kids outside. We spent a lot of time walking about and exploring. I can see how there could be a chance to meet other people who are out playing Pokémon Go. I can see older kids would love to meet up and play this app. I saw a bunch of teenagers at a monument on my to work obviously checking out a Pokestop. It also makes you more aware of landmarks that are near to you.
On Sunday my parents came to visit and my daughter was dying to take her Gran out Pokémon hunting. There was something quite special about 3 generations out together playing Pokémon Go.
Are Pokemon easy to find?
We live in a large village and we managed to find a quite a good number of Pokémon around the streets. I imagine if you live somewhere more remote you might struggle to find too many Pokémon. I did switch the app on briefly when I was in a nearby city centre and there did seem to be more Pokémon around to catch.
Is it dangerous?
There are starting to be stories of people getting hit by cars, straying onto railway lines and trespassing on private land while playing. You obviously need to use your common sense when playing Pokémon Go and keep yourself safe. As the app buzzes when a Pokémon is nearby you don’t need to be looking at the screen all of the time. Take care crossing the roads and don’t go anywhere lonely or unfamiliar in the evening.
Will we keep playing?
Overall I’m giving Pokémon Go a thumbs up! It’s cute and fun for me to play with my daughter. We will have a little play with it during the summer holidays in quiet moments. We won’t be playing it obsessively and I wont be giving up my day job to play full time anytime soon!