Pokémon And The Need For Unadulterated Joy

PREFACE: I actually started writing this on Saturday and kinda forgot about it. It was going to mainly be instructional/How To for the non-gaming crowd. But with all of the RNC talk this week Pokémon has been my happy place. Me and the kids LOVE it. So does Donnie. We curled up in bed the other night showing off our new captures for the day. I have several friends who love it and we bond over the silliness of it and it’s keeping me sane so I wanted to revisit the entry and publish it today so all of you all can find a little escape in your world. Beware of a little of repeating of items from the stuff I wrote Saturday to the stuff I wrote this morning. I didn’t have time to really edit for duplicate info!

IMG_6308Y’all. I really dislike games. You name a game trend and I’ll tell you how/why I never got into it. My Mom worked for a guy who owned an arcade growing up and I could only get minorly excited about it because I just never got into the arcade games. I had a few I liked well enough, just to keep me busy, but it was never something I got excited about. I haven’t jumped on any phone game trend I didn’t play console games and the only tabletop game I ever really got into was Yahtzee with my roommates back in the late 90s.

But I’m totally dorking out over Pokémon Go. AS IS MY ENTIRE FAMILY.

I had a request from my friend to maybe try to explain it a bit so here it is. I’m not a gamer though, nor am I a writer about gaming, so this is basically one non-gaming Mom sharing the links/articles she used to help her make sense of it.

It’s not entirely intuitive, even to gamers or people who have played other versions of Pokémon games. I thought at first that my cluelessness was simply inexperience, but it seems a lot of people who grew up with all of the various Pokémon games still were/are a bit clueless. So, the links have become necessary. I have Googled TONS about Pokémon in the last week.

First? You should catch Pikachu as your first Pokémon. I did not know you could even do that (the down side of starting playing before the first week is over is you miss out sometimes on tips/tricks people discover that first week) but everyone else who did has done it. Here’s your link about that.

Catching Pikachu first.

Now, the basic idea is you catch Pokémon. And really? That’s basically all I’ve done. I went to a gym to battle once to just see what it meant (more on that in a minute), I battled in a gym once that was “occupied” by someone I knew I could beat (I guarded that gym for a glorious 2 hours), and I practiced in a “friendly” gym once. BUT THAT IS IT. Three battles. So don’t worry about battles yet if you don’t want.

So…you catch Pokémon. There’s still some debate about how much “skill” is involved. Once you get past a certain level, they will start escaping. But the basic idea is to try to throw the ball in the middle of the shrinking circle. It seems that the green circles are “easy” and the yellow are “medium” and red are “hard” but really it seems to be more random than that to me. There’s one guy who is a green but I have a terrible time catching (ZUBAT) and there are others that are easy to catch but NEVER seem to want to stay in the ball and keep escaping (VENONAT) so I’m not sure there’s a perfect system to explain the difficulty.

Catch all the Pokémon you can at first. You need practice and you need to level up to start opening up more options. If you run out of balls? Find your Poké Stops. Their marked by the simple blue tower in your map. I’ve found a few on my main drag away from my house so sometimes I’ll just detour when I’m going places. There’s a church with one so I’ll just pull in, spin my Pokéstop, and pull out. But we also have walks we go on to the local ballfield where there’s 3 nearby and we can walk around to all 3 and then circle back and the 5 minutes will have expired so we can spin again! When they’re purple you have to wait (I think about 5 minutes). Every time you spin them you get SOMETHING as long as you’re close enough. The further in the game you get, the more non-Pokéball items you get.

List of items you can start getting at various levels.

Every time you “level up” the game gifts you a bunch of cool stuff too. SO! Just focus on catching Pokémon and spinning Poké Stops until you get at least past level 5. That’s when you pick a “team” and you can finally battle. I’m Team Mystic. There’s only 3 teams and if you WANT to battle then I would drive the parts of town you live/work in and find out who occupies the most gyms and choose a DIFFERENT team. If you just want to be able to “practice” and not have to battle, you’ll want to choose the team with the most gyms. I’m blue (there’s blue/red/yellow) and there’s not a lot of blue gyms on my end of town. The gyms that are your color are the ones you can “train” in. The others you have to actually “battle”.

But – like I said – I’m on level 14 (UPDATE: I’m on 17 now…still not battling.) and have not any of that necessary to enjoy the game!

Now…to level up you increase your XP which are the points you accumulate as you go about the game. Here’s a good list of points unrelated to battling:

Catching a Pokemon with a Curveball————-10
Catching a Pokemon with a Nice Throw————10
Catching a Pokemon with a Great Throw———–50
Spinning a PokeStop—————————–50
Catching a Pokemon with an Excellent Throw——100
Catching Any Pokemon—————————-100
Hatching a New Pokemon————————–500
Evolving a Pokemon——————————500
Catching a New Pokemon————————–600
Evolving a New Pokemon————————–1000

Now…once you accumulate a bunch of Pokémon you’ll see you have enough candy to evolve the guy. BUT! There are all sorts of opinions about when/how you should evolve them. And some of them are conflicting. The one thing I’ll say is DO NOT just evolve them because you can. At least READ some stuff about it. This is a good article about a few things related to evolving.

10 Thing I Wish I Knew When I started Pokémon.

Now, one effective thing I did was I waited until I got to level 10 (there was some point explanations for that) and then I used some things I had accumulated in leveling up and followed this guide here, as well as this useful resource, and used my lunch break to go from level 10 to level 12 in 30 minutes. Also fun evolving trick I missed: Rename Eevee before evolving it to force the game to evolve it into the one you want.

If you want to know what all you have you click your Pokéball and click “items” and it shows you what’s in your bad. Most of it you’ll recognize from Poké stops but I didn’t know I also accumulated stuff when I leveled up. I have found Poké stops to be at: Parks, Post Offices, Churches, Statues/Art at Local Restaurants, and beautification awards.

One of the things you’ll start getting at Poké Stops are eggs and those you have to incubate by walking. You can’t really trick the system any other way b/c it recognizes speed and works with a GPS. I’ve been disappointed by the eggs, truthfully. I keep getting 2K eggs (takes walking a 2K to incubate) and they only launch common Pokémons and even my 5K eggs are only hit/miss. I only have one incubator left (the infinity one you can keep using) and 9 2K eggs waiting to incubate and it just irritates me because I want my steps to go to GOOD eggs. Not stupid 2K ones! Oh well. You did get 500 points for hatching so I try to remember that. (Update: I did finally start getting 10K eggs and the first one I hatched was a DAMN EEVEE. I have so many of those guys I now have ALL THREE evolutions. Luckily they can be pretty powerful so I tried not to be too mad.)

The best part about the game is finding out the places in your town where the most activity is. Our downtown park is HOPPING. People put lures in at Poké Stops (You get lures, leveling up to 9 I think) and it attracts Pokémon to that stop for EVERYONE to try to catch. You can see them on the map because pink petals will be flowing out of them. We went downtown on my birthday and there were people EVERYWHERE. It was super fun. I’m also convinced the rare Pokémon only show up at places with lots of activity b/c the local reports show them at all of the hot spots. Donnie gets WAY more rare Pokémon around his office downtown than I do ANYWHERE.

UPDATE: Like I said…I started this entry this weekend and never finished it and after the big speech at the RNC last night I need Pokémon to distract me so I’m going to just add in a few things I’ve learned the last few days.

  • Save your evolutions to when you’re using a Lucky Egg if you can because you get DOUBLE the points.
  • Choose the “XL” size of the Pokémon to evolve when you go to evolve.
  • If you don’t have enough candy to evolve yet, transfer in some non-XL versions (or lower CP) for more candy.
  • If you hope to be good at battling/occupying gyms, pay attention to the Pokémon guarding the gyms you see – those are typically the ones you want to focus on powering up because they’ll have the highest capacity.
  • The arch above the Pokémon’s head tells where his CP value falls on his available range. THAT RANGE INCREASES WHEN YOU LEVEL UP. I did not find that out until yesterday. Stardust increases your CP.
  • But it’s okay to not to want to fight. I just want to collect all of the Pokémon. That’s my goal. I’m playing around on friendly gyms or if I see one manned by someone much weaker than me, but mainly it’s about collecting for me!
  • There are lots of cool things waiting for you at higher levels. Here is a good list.

Okay – that should work. Ask any questions in the comments!

7 thoughts on “Pokémon And The Need For Unadulterated Joy”

  1. I must be stupid (and to be honest I only skimmed your post because I will not be playing the game), but everyone keeps saying “catch as many as you can”. HOW DO YOU CATCH THEM? Do you point your phone at them and scream “I choose you?” When I see people wandering around with their phones, is their phone saying “you’re getting warmer”?

  2. I had no idea about catching a Pikachu first or evolutions. I just like throwing balls at stuff. I am working on hatching a 10k egg but I’m only half way there. Wonder if I can hold on to my phone during Racing Rivals tomorrow to get more miles……

  3. Oh my lord. I’m not one of those assholes who wants to piss on people’s joy, but I am just never going to be able to play this. PYou lost me at “throwing ball something something shrinking circle.” Besides the complicated … uh … ness of it all, I think this is the kind of activity my particularly brand of anxiety just won’t let me engage in. Part of me was thinking it might be kinda fun but like Bobbie, I still don’t exactly understand how you DO all the things, plus it seems like something that would draw people’s attention to me or make them want to strike up a conversation. Shy person’s nightmare.

    I did hear a funny story about a shelter that RAN OUT OF DOGS because people were volunteering to walk them so no one would think they were an adult out playing Pokemon, and then they realized they actually *liked* the dog and decided to adopt it.

  4. Thank you so much for posting this–I have been having a very similar experience with the game and it is just exactly what I need right now.
    My office is really close to a pokestop (I can usually spin and collect items right from my desk) which means that I’m not even stressed by attacking gyms held by other teams–I have so many revives and potions stored up that any Pokemon I use is just fine after? And that’s the kind of thing that would normally really stress me out. I think that part of what I’m enjoying about the game is that no one else can see how well or poorly I’m playing, so I feel really comfortable just going out and trying things I don’t know how to do?

  5. Oh, my girl…MY HERO…THANK YOU!!! ?

    SO glad to have these instructions for the weekend! I completely missed my chance to get Pikachu first, but hopefully I’ll get another shot later?

    K, I gotta go read all the articles so i can get my PokémonGo on FO’ REALZ now!!! ??

  6. I’m 35, no kids, female and I have been sucked into this game. I never knew anything about Pokemon so I went in blindly. So if I have like 50 of those little purple rat dudes do I keep them all or transfer some to the professor when they are weaklings?

  7. When you get enough rat dude candy – you can evolve him to a BETTER rat dude, so if you need to transfer 49 of them to evolve one then you can! Once you have one or two evolutions (depending on your grand goal, if you just like collecting like I do then you really only need one) just keep transferring them, in my opinion. That rat dude candy will let you power up the one or two evolutions you keep! 🙂

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