Pokemon Go – First 24 hours

Pokemon Go has been on everyones radar for a very long time, even to the point where people thought it was a fake because of just how good it looks. There was no certain release date, other than it being sometime in 2016. All of sudden, I woke up yesterday to hear stories of people in Australia and Japan getting hold of Pokemon Go from the usual Apple Store and Play Store. I wasn’t able to install the game until later in the day, long after my friend had taken a picture of his flat mate with Pidgey.

 

It was a struggle to wait and be behind those people who had already taken to the game earlier in the day, but it was worth the wait. Creating an account is simple, you sign in with Google or Poke Trainers Club, enter a username that isn’t taken, and then customise your trainer. The options here are few, with it mostly being colour changes but you’re not here to spend your time on character creation. You’re greeted by Professor Willow, who gives the usual spiel on the world of Pokemon before allowing you to start. Once you do start, the 3 original starting Pokemon are around you and ready to catch. From here, the rest of the adventure is up to you!

 

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I went around catching whatever Pokemon I could. When they’re not close to you, they appear on the map as a rustle of leaves before appearing fully on the Google Maps layout of your area. Simply tapping them brings them up in your camera display and you can throw the Pokeball at it. There’s no need to weaken it, battling doesn’t seem to be a thing here. It’s not a simple throw ball and catch though. Holding down the Pokeball you wait for the circle to get smaller and centre on the Pokemon before throwing the ball and then swipe to throw, making sure you’re on target. It’ll do the usual 3 bobs if you’ve caught it and then add it to your Pokemon. You can hold 250 of these, with the option of many duplicates being available.

 

Organising your Pokemon appears to be quite easy. Each will have CP (Combat Points) displayed next to their name and this dictates their ability to fight. You can easily ‘transfer’ these Pokemon to the professor in order to get candy. To improve a Pokemon’s CP you must have candy and stardust. These can be gained in a number of ways, but will help the development of Pokemon greatly. Only candy is used to evolve Pokemon that are able. At the moment, there doesn’t appear to be any benefits to levelling up Pokemon before evolving them to get the better stats.

 

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Gyms are everywhere, mostly on key points in the area you’re in. They’re great huge structures that are plainly coloured if no one is a leader. Once someone is a leader they join a team colour to join (red, blue, yellow. Giving you hints on what generation of Pokemon we’re on yet?) and that is displayed at the gym with a Pokemon they choose to leave behind. Once someone hits level 5 they can then challenge that gym leader for the position. It’s early days yet, but rumours have come in that you if you’re on the same team as the gym leader you can lend your Pokemon to defend the gym. This would make the fights longer, more intense and mean having to fight multiple Pokemon with your multiple Pokemon. It would be just like the old days. We’re also not sure how it works if you own a gym but no one challenges you for a certain time.

 

On your map you’ll find Pokestops. These are normally local landmarks and require you to spin a coin when you’re within range of it. It’ll give out supplies, mostly Pokeballs and eggs (they hatch once you’ve walked a certain distance in real life) and are great to resupplying. This has meant that you don’t really touch the micro transactions. There are options to buy loads of bits from the store, but so far I’ve not found the need to do so. If there’s a pay to win structure to this game, I don’t see it yet.

 

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Powersaving issues are where it starts to tricky. The game is constantly draining your battery because the screen is on, the camera is sometimes in use, the GPS and data from your phone is constantly in use while the game is running. Although you can turn on powersaving (the screen will dim if you have the phone nose down at your side but the game is still active), turn off sounds and turn down your brightness you’ll see a significant drop is juice. Niantic are said to be working on this, and I hope changes the way the game works. To add to this, you can’t lock your change and expect the game to run in the background. Most of us expected it to run in our pockets and get our phones out when it vibrated. Of the list of features I hope they include in the future, this is at the top. Walking around with my phone out all the time, hoping to find a Pokemon to see where the nearest stops and that are brings you closer to it all but fully immerses you (in the best way, I promise).

 

The worst thing so far (and the most expected) is the connection issues. Within half an hour or starting it I was getting issues of not being able to catch Pokemon and not seeing any stops in my area. After restarting the app you then can’t get back in. The idea here was to stagger the release of the gain, presumably to lessen the burden on the servers. With the open source nature of the Android phone downloading the APK for the game was easy for most, so people in other countries were able to download the game before their release. More rumours are floating around of people being banned for getting hold of the game early. Other than ruining the experience for everyone else by crashing servers there is nothing wrong with installing a free APK. Unfortunately, I can’t confirm whether or not this is true, but I imagine there would be a lot of people without the game if you banned those that got hold of it early.

 

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Having said those last parts, the potential for this game IS ENORMOUS. People are getting up and about to catch Pokemon. This is the closest we’re going to get to Pokemon being in our world, even if it is through augmented reality. You feel encouraged to go out for a walk in the evening, even if it’s just to stock up on Pokeballs. Imagine the events they could hold for this? Rare Pokemon is only found in Scotland during one month of the year? People will fly there to catch them. One particular gym gives you extra Pokeballs for being the gym leader? Everyone converges on it to fight. It’s almost easy to spot people in the street who are playing this. So with that, you could approach them, challenge them to a fight right there and then! I appreciate I’m rambling towards the end here but I’m running on pure excitement. This is amazing. This is the pinnacle of our time, much like Twitch plays Pokemon was before it. This is going to be huge. I’m already talking with my friend about going out an hour an evening to get Pokemon and see what’s around. With all of this in mind, the next few days and weeks are going to be very interesting indeed!

 


 

Have you managed to hold of Pokemon Go yet? What do you think of it?

 


 

– Bean

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