Sunday, July 31, 2016

Pokémon GO!

This might be everyone’s obsession at the moment. I know I’ve been anticipating its release for quite a while now, and as soon as I saw it in the App Store I had to have it.

In case you don’t know, Pokémon GO is an AR (augmented reality) game where you walk around and catch Pokémon. They show up on your phone screen like this:
Yay to actually looking like it’s there.

But sometimes they show up like this:
Krabby…I didn’t know you could fly.
As with most newly-released games, there are some kinks to work out. If you downloaded the game right when it came out, you noticed that the servers were down more than they were up. It was most likely due to the overload of people using the app, but it seems as though Niantic has addressed this issue. Which is good, because looking at this screen all the time was making me angry:
At least you have everyone there to keep you company.

Over the past couple weeks of playing, I’ve learned a thing or two about the app that I think might be useful to others:

Use your nearby menu to help you catch Pokémon. On your map screen, there’s a little icon on the right hand corner that tells you what Pokémon are close. If you touch it, it expands to a menu that shows all the Pokémon near you and how far they are. The feet show you the rough distance. One foot is within your circle, two feet is two circles away, and three feet is three circles away. If there’s no feet, chances are the Pokémon is already underfoot. (See what I did there?) NOTE: At the time this was written, this information was accurate. As of now, the Nearby menu is still there, but the steps have been removed. Now you only see pictures of what's close by, but you have no idea how far they are away from you.

Catch duplicates. This is how you evolve your Pokémon. With each one you catch, you get candy. Once you get whatever amount you need (it varies by species), you can evolve your Pokémon. You don’t have to keep them in your party. You can always transfer them to the Professor, and he’ll give you an extra candy as a thank you. So essentially you’ll get four candies for each Pokémon! Just don’t transfer the ones you want to keep in the long run, the professor won’t give them back.

Keep track of nearby PokéStops. The PokéStops are where you can get more Pokéballs without spending real money. They regenerate every 5 minutes, so hang out there for a little bit and get a ton. Just know that sometimes they can be few and far between. Bigger cities are going to have more PokéStops. Some guaranteed PokéStops are churches, college campuses, town squares, graveyards, and important monuments in your area. Plus you get to learn some local history along the way.

Have patience. The game is being released all around the world in waves; last thing I heard was that it just released in Canada and Japan. With all the new people joining the game, you could be experiencing a lot more server crashes at the most inconvenient times (like right when you’re approaching a PokéStop…not that I’ve had personal experience or anything). You have to resist the urge to throw your phone on the ground and just try again later. Most of the time the game will work out its kinks. Also, wait for the cool features to come out, like battling and trading. I'm sure that'll be in a future update.

There's an Eevee evolution trick that might work. At SDCC, John Hanke, CEO of Niantic, confirmed that if you nickname your Eevee after one of the Eevee brothers from the animated series (Sparky, Rainer, or Pyro), you would get the corresponding evolution (Jolteon, Vaporeon, and Flareon, respectively). However, my personal experience shows that this might be a one-and-done trick. Proceed with caution.

So now that the game has been out for a minute, I do have some suggestions on how it can improve:
  • Update Niantic’s site with real-time server information
  • Set up a home PokéStop so you can get more Pokéballs (it’s super frustrating when you run out)
  • Have more servers!
  • Reinstall the Pokémon Tracker on the Nearby menu

Tell us your suggestions on how to make Pokémon GO even better! Maybe Niantic is reading this and will do something about it.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I gotta catch ’em all!

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