As parents we struggle to keep up with our kids and their knack for understanding new technology. I went out with my three to discover what Pokemon GO is all about.
A global craze that has hit South African shores with a resounding thud. Pokemon GO is a GPS, map based game and generates a grid of your surroundings.
Let’s POKEMON GO!
Available for Android / iPhone (iOS 8)
THE SET UP
Download the game via your online store.
You will need a Google account, GPS, loads of DATA and a full charge on your battery.
You are then requested to choose and setup your avatar or in this case you are a ‘TRAINER”.
Once you have kitted out your “TRAINER”, you are let loose on a basic grid like map (generated by your GPS location).
Pokemon are everywhere! As you walk your neighbourhood various animals will pop up on the radar, or green leaves will appear in a quadrant. This is a likely place for pokemon to appear, however not guaranteed. Walk towards these green leaves for potential Pokemon. An indication of what Pokemon are in the area is given on the bottom right of your screen, the proximity is indicated by the FOOTSTEPS. One footstep being the closest and three the furthest.
At the start you are given 2 x Incense which can be set off to draw Pokemon into your vicinity. This is a lazy (but safe) approach and will not require much walking. 😉
Walk toward the Pokemon, once within their radiating circles TAP the Pokemon. It will enlarge and initiate the camera. The Pokemon will appear in a virtual reality situation. This is when you can capture the Pokemon. Rest your finger on your Pokeball. A green circle will appear around the Pokemon, as you hold your finger on the Pokeball the green circle will shrink, at the smallest point, flick the ball towards the Pokemon.
Some Pokemon are trickier to catch than others. Once caught the Pokeball will open, capture the Pokemon and then enlarge on the screen and give you synopsis of what you have caught.
You are given a chance to POWER UP or EVOLVE your Pokemon (this is for more advanced players).
Frustratingly the Pokemon servers aren’t coping and often freeze at this point not allowing you to record your catch.
There are POKESTOPS, which appear as blue cubes in the distance. Here you can stock up on Pokeballs and Health, which you will need when combating at a GYM (only after level 5). At the Pokestops, click on the rotating disc to collect what is offered here. Once it turns purple you have stocked up and will have to wait till it turns blue again before you can revisit.
The LURES, that have everyone talking, are purchased via credit card of users, and set up near POKESTOPS. These LURES act similarly to INCENSE but the LURES can only be set up near stationary Pokestops. INCENSE can be used roaming the neighbourhood. These are operational for 30 minutes and lure in Pokemon and trainers ,who are on the hunt.
LURES can be used by entrepreneurs to draw you towards their businesses but can also be used by criminals with intent to do harm. DON’T respond to lures at odd hours of the morning and DON’T respond alone. LURES can also be used by church groups and schools as a fun and social event for youngsters to get together. So not all intend harm.
The game develops as you get to advanced levels. You can incubate eggs etc. All at a cost! 100 Pokecoins costs 79p, converted it is about R16,00. One LURE costs 100 Pokecoins.
An activated LURE is indicated by falling pink heart confetti at a POKESTOP.
The kids were dressed and ready at warp speed.
It is an active game and everyone loves a Pokemon hunt.
It is social and engaging.
It is great fun watching the “Trainers” hunt the Pokemon.
Depletes your data FAST.
You get nagged for your phone often.
You get nagged to go out often.
Your dog gets tired of going on walks.
You can look as though you have lost your mind.
You can drive, ride or get a friend to do the walking and capturing – no one cares!
Just don’t GPS Spoof, you will get caught and banned.
Be aware of your surroundings – water hazards, large trees, sign posts, roads etc
You can walk into stationery objects and moving objects.
One of you be an observer to shout warnings for careless play or approaching danger – This was ME!
Don’t go to LURES in dodgey places or at odd times of night or day unless it was a pre-organised function.
Don’t go to LURES alone, if you do, notify people of your whereabouts.
This game is a huge amount of energetic fun.
We placed a LURE at a POKESTOP in a park and the kids ran around, laughing and cheering for each other as they made a new catch. The lure lasted half an hour and was an easy half hour of parenting for me. PLUS – Everyone gets a chance to capture the same Pokemon, on their separate phones, so there is no competition or tears!
The downside is the data depletion and perhaps travel with an extra battery pack. Your kids will also nag you for more lures, more time and your phone. But this is small compared to the fun had and is still worth it. There are also nasty people in this world but be clever in your choices and you can avoid them.