EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – “Pokemon Go.” It’s all the craze right now, but still, some people are wondering, what exactly is it?
Basically, it’s a virtual version of a game that became popular in the late 1990s.
The difference between this app on your phone, compared to the original game that was played on the Nintendo Game Boy, is that the app uses your GPS location and phone camera, so where you move in real life, your Pokemon trainer moves in the game.
For parents, this is a game that will get your kids (even your kids who are 28) off the couch, because you have to physically move to places to catch Pokemon or go to Pokestops or ‘gyms.’ I’ll explain those later.
Disclaimer: This game should NOT be played while behind the wheel of a car.
The safest way to play is to walk with a buddy to various locations, staying away from dark alleys at 2 a.m.
I could go on for days explaining every aspect of the game, but I’ll stick to the basics.
Here’s how you get started:
First, download “Pokemon Go” from the App Store or Google Play Store.
You can sign in using your Google account or with the Pokemon Trainer Club. You can register for the club if you don’t have an existing account.
Signing up with the Pokemon Trainer Club may be the safest option, as there have been concerns about the app’s access to your Google account information.
Next, you pick how your character – a Pokemon trainer – looks by selecting hair color, clothing color, etc.
Then you’re ready to go.
Wherever you are when you download the game, a Pokemon will appear.
How to Catch ‘Em All
To catch the Pokemon, put your finger on the Pokeball (little red & white ball at the bottom-center of your screen) and swipe it towards the Pokemon.
It may take a few tries, you have to hit the Pokemon with the Pokeball just right, usually on top of its head.
Each time you miss, your Pokeball count goes down.
Once you catch a Pokemon, it’ll be added to your Pokedex, which is where you keep track of everything you’ve caught.
Pokestops are various places or landmarks where you must visit to get more Pokeballs or other items.
I’ve found the most Pokemon and Pokestops in public parks, which is why at any given time you may see people walking around with their phones out, searching for both.
To get more Pokeballs, get close to the Pokestop, which is a blue square-ish figure on your map, and click on it.
The app will let you know if you’re too far away.
The name of the location and a picture of it in a circle will appear.
Swipe your finger on the circle to get it to spin, then a few Pokeballs should pop out. Tap them with your finger to pick them up.
While there may be Pokemon and Pokestops at national memorials and museums (like the National Holocaust Museum and Arlington National Cemetery), some officials are asking people to not play there.
Pokemon can appear out of nowhere, so stay alert (except when you’re driving).
Players can also acquire eggs, which have Pokemon inside, though you need to be moving in order to hatch them.
Driving in a car doesn’t count towards catching eggs; the game goes by the pedometer on your phone, so you must have the app open while you walk/run in order to hatch your eggs.
Be prepared for your phone battery to be affected by this.
Medals can be earned from accomplishing various tasks, including catching 10 flying-type Pokemon or catching 10, 20, 30 Pokemon, etc.
You’ll see some Pokemon more often than others: Pidgey, Weedle, Rattata, etc.
Even if you’ve already caught one of each, it’s beneficial to catch more that you find. Eventually, you will gain enough “candy” for the Pokemon to evolve.
For example: Weedle evolves into Kakuna, which then evolves into Beedrill.
It’s rare to find fully-evolved Pokemon on its own.
There is plenty more that I haven’t covered, but this is the basics to get you started.
Local Hunting Grounds
If you’re hunting in Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts, here are SOME of the best places to go:
- India Point Park in Providence
- Roger Williams Park in Providence
- Fort Phoenix in Fairhaven
- Buttonwood Park in New Bedford
- Oakland Beach in Warwick