Yes, I play it. I’ve been caught flicking my phone in meetings, at dinner with friends, and once almost tripped and fell into the Baltic Sea while visiting Stockholm on business. I could have used a Pokémon GO Baby Boomer Guide, but Pokémon GO seems to have enraged my generation. Everyone has an opinion and most of them are not favorable. For the most part, Baby Boomers are not at all happy about Pokémon GO.
My thought is that with so much awfulness going on in the world right now, it’s hard for me to figure the harm in a game that gets people outside and moving around. Sure there are a few crazies who try to hunt rare Pokémon in parking lots and back their cars into police cruisers, but for the most part it’s harmless fun.
Also, I admit I have one really big reason to jump on this new craze – I want to be relevant. I don’t want some amazing new app, game, “thing” to be available that everyone else in the world is playing and I’m standing around oblivious. I’m not the type to shout Get Off My Lawn! when the neighborhood kids come by with their phones out, so I downloaded the game and started to play. And you know what? It gets me outside. It’s FUN!
So if you’re just interested in being relevant (like me) or you use to be a world class Pac-Man gamer in your own right – here’s a quick and easy run-down on how to get started.
Pokémon GO Baby Boomer Guide (Gen Xers are free to use this as well).
What is Pokémon GO?
Pokémon GO is a game played on your mobile phone or iPad. It’s free from the Niantic development team and uses Google Maps application from your device to determine your exact location. What makes this completely different from other video games is the process of augmented reality. Augmented reality happens when the cartoon-like character is overlaid on the real world. This creates a location-based augmented reality world where your job is to catch these Pokémon.
The name Pokémon comes from a contraction of the Japanese Pocket Monsters (poketto monsutā). There are currently 151 different Pokémon in the game with names like Rattata, Magmar, and Meowth. The original Pokémon craze started in 1995 and began as a pair of video games for the original Game Boy by Nintendo. In July of 2016, Pokémon GO brought the augmented reality world to anyone with a mobile device.
How do I get Pokémon GO?
Download the Pokémon GO app on your iPad, tablet, or mobile phone. It’s available in both Android and iOS versions and the icon looks like this…
What are the rules?
It’s pretty straightforward to get started. You pick your name and character type – you can even change his/her clothing and hairstyles if you’re into that kind of thing.
There are only 3 main goals of Pokémon GO you’ll need to know:
- Find pokéstops
- Catch Pokémon
- Gym battles with other Pokémon
From Levels 1 through 4, you’re off into the world to find pokéstops. Pokéstops are actual places. Locations like libraries or landmarks around a city will appear with a blue icon and when you’re close enough, give it a spin on your phone. Pokéstops are your way of getting things, like pokéballs, potions, and eggs (which can be hatched by walking around outside. The faster you walk/run the quicker they hatch). When they appear, touch the screen and they’ll go into your “items” cache. You’ll need a stash of the pokéballs to catch Pokémon.
NOTE: If you see a group of people under the age of 30 standing at a famous landmark frantically flicking their phones – it’s likely there’s a pokéstop close by. Finding pokéstops is a great way to explore a new city – but be careful of bridges or steep cliffs!
How do I catch a Pokémon?
This is the fun part! You’re logged on to the app and it vibrates…that means a Pokémon is close by! On your phones screen you’ll see the little cartoon creature lurking around your character… you’ve picked up a few pokéballs at the previous pokéstops, so you’re ready to go.
Tap the cartoon Pokémon and watch the magic happen. The interface changes and now augmented reality kicks it. What you’re seeing is the real world through your device’s camera app with the Pokémon in it. This is called the catching interface. Now flick a pokéball at the creature. The color of the ring around the Pokémon lets you know how hard he’ll be to catch. Green is easy. Yellow medium. Red means he’ll be toughest to hold on to. If you score a hit (and it may take more than one try), the pokéball closes around the Pokémon and you’ve captured him. Woo HOO!!
What happens after Level 5?
By getting to Level 5, you have the opportunity to begin battling other Pokémon in real-world locations, like Central Station or Clearwater Mall. These are called gyms. You’re still in virtual reality in your phone, but now you have to go to a real place to advance. Gyms are a complicated arrangement of factions, fighting and fainting. If you’re still with me after reaching Level 5, I’d suggest going on-line for more in-depth tips. This is just a beginner’s guide to get you going. I’ll start the Pokémon GO Baby Boomer Guide 2.0 next week.
I don’t advocate falling off cliffs or causing interstate pile-ups while playing the game, but I do think you should give it a look. It’s FUN! And you can be relevant, like me.
Have you tried Pokémon GO? Are you addicted like me? Or are you feeling just fine not being relevant this time? Have fun out there!