What is Pokémon Go? Everything You Need to Know

Posted by on July 14, 2016

Pokemon GoMinnesota School of Business-Richfield Game and Application Development lead faculty member, Ashley Godbold, shares everything you need to know about how to play this new game that is trending known as Pokémon Go.

Pokémon Go is taking over mobile phones everywhere, and we here at Globe University & Minnesota School of Business are no exception. Both students and faculty have begun to swipe Pokéballs at pocket monsters (between classes, of course), and it’s been great!

If you’re not familiar with the game, here’s what you need to know: Pokémon Go is all about finding and capturing Pokémon, and the only way to do that is to physically relocate yourself, as the game takes advantage of the GPS on your phone. Once you get close to a Pokémon, it appears on your map, and you can tap on it to see the creature super-imposed in your environment and attempt to capture it by “throwing” a Pokéball at it.

When you first start playing, especially if you live in a more rural area, the game may seem like it has little content, because you cannot play this on your couch! Some low-level Pokémon may occasionally pop up on your couch, but you’ll fare much better if you get out and walk about.

How to catch a PokemonPokémon Go has done something that no other video game has been able to do before–get Americans off their couch and communicate with each other (in real life). My family and I have been going on daily walks to try and catch and level up our Pokémon in our neighborhood. Minnesota School of Business-Richfield’s Campus Director, Miriam Williams, can also be found walking around her neighborhood with her son (shown below with his first catch) chasing Pokémon.

In our walks, we have found other players out searching for Pokémon, and it has given us instant conversation starters when we see others playing. The sense of community that has arisen from this game has, for me, been the most amazing feature.

This game takes you places you wouldn’t normally go and has you talking to people with whom you wouldn’t normally converse. My family is a set of stereotypical gamers (attached to our couch and our computer desks), so if the fact that we have been walking at least two miles a day doesn’t show you the draw of this game, I don’t know what will.

The game is free but does have micro-transactions (because this is 2016). The micro-transactions can be used to purchase coins which, in turn, can be used to buy Pokéballs and other items that will help you catch Pokémon or level up more quickly. If you’re living in a suburb or rural area, you will likely run out of Pokéballs quickly, but if you can find a location with a lot of Pokéstops, you can stock up very quickly without having to spend real-world money.

Mall of America is a fantastic place to stock up on items and find new Pokémon with lots of incentives all over the place. I took the screenshot below this weekend while stocking up on Pokéballs at the Mall of America. When I entered the mall, I had completely run out of Pokéballs, and after walking around for about half an hour, I had so many Pokéballs and items that I couldn’t even carry any more.

Pokemon Go google mapI’d love to see a Pokémon Walking Club spring up at each campus, so that we can all get some exercise while working together to find more Pokémon. Everyone can catch the same Pokémon in the same area, as long as the Pokémon is close, so we don’t need to compete. The map provided in the game can make it difficult to find PokéStop locations (shown above by the blue rotating cubes) and Gyms (shown by platforms with Pokémon or team emblems), but there is an awesome Google Map created by the game’s community.

You can use this map to map out the perfect walking route around your campus. If you know of a rare Pokémon location or a PokéStop not listed, add it to the map to help out others playing.

The game isn’t exactly forthcoming with how some of its features work, so here are a few key tips to help get you started or clear up some of the most obtuse features:

1. When you start the game, you get to choose between three starter Pokémon, Charmander, Bulbasaur, and Squirtle. But, if you’d rather have a Pikachu, you can walk away from them to spawn a Pikachu. You must walk far enough away from the starters to make them disappear and reappear four times in order to spawn Pikachu.
2. Pokéstops, the locations on the maps that award inventory items like Pokéballs and other goodies, refresh every five minutes, which means if you’re running low on items, being patient will allow you to stock up.
3. When a Pokémon shows up in your list of nearby Pokémon, you can click on it to highlight it and make tracking it easier. The footprints represent how far away it is and work as a hot/cold mechanic. A Pokémon with more footprints is further away than one with one footprint. Pokémon with no footprints will pop up any second! Supposedly one footprint represents one radius length of your proximity circle. If you are facing in the direction of the Pokémon, the nearby area will pulse green as another indicator that you are on the right track. The image below shows that I have a Squirtle in my neighborhood.
Pokemon Go stops4. And speaking of Pokéstops, while exploring, look for flowery Pokéstops on the map. These are stops where someone has placed a lure to attract rare Pokémon.
5. Start incubating collected eggs right away. When looking at your collection of Pokémon, you will see the option to look at your eggs in the right corner. You can go there to start the incubation process. Walking around hatches the incubating eggs, so the sooner you start incubating, the better.
6. Save your lucky eggs! They give two times the experience for 30 minutes, so don’t use them unless you have some Pokémon to evolve or an egg that’s about to hatch. The higher your level, the better Pokémon you will be able to acquire.

Remember to stay safe when PokéWalking (not an official term, but one I can’t help but use). Turn on the vibration feature so you can feel when a Pokémon pops up, and you don’t have to stare at your screen the whole time you’re walking around. I recommend walking with a partner and please don’t go off to creepy places in the dead of night, even if there is a Squirtle in your neighborhood at 1:30 in the morning (like for me right now).

Let’s keep the conversation going! Share this blog with the hashtag #PokemonMSBRichfield and let us know on our Facebook page of any rare Pokémon you’ve found near campus or if you’d like to start up a walking club.

Written by Ashley Goldbold, Lead Faculty Member of the Game and Application Development Program at Minnesota School of Business Richfield

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