Tuesday, 19 July 2016

What you should know about Pokémon Go before you let your Kids Play

A lot of parents will be wondering what all the hype is about surrounding Pokémon Go. Here at Tech Age Kids we've been playing the game to help parents get to grips with the basic language and gameplay of the latest augmented reality mobile game app - Pokémon Go. In our opinion it is a fantastic game to get kids out and about and discover new places we may have not noticed before.

Unfortunately there is very little in the form of instructions on how to play the game in the app. A quick search on Google, soon provides a wealth of information on how to play the game.

It is great fun to figure it out as you go, and you are sure to meet plenty of people on your journey willing to share their experience.

What is Pokémon Go?

Pokémon Go is a mobile app developed by Niantic, Inc. based on the popular Pokéman Console Games, Cartoon and Trading Card Game.

The Pokémon franchise was created by Satoshi Tajiri in 1995, in Japan. Interestingly, Tajiri loved collecting insects as a child and based his Game Boy game on the concept of hunting for bugs and collecting them. He liked the idea of capturing the creatures in a simple tool, hence the Poké Ball.

In Pokémon, humans are called Trainers and they capture Pokémon using their Poké Ball. The ultimate goal is to train your Pokémon for non-lethal battles in places called Gyms. Trainers can capture wild Pokémon and tame them. Once tamed they belong to the Trainer. A Trainer can also capture other Trainers wild Pokémon during battles.

There are three teams in Pokémon, Red (Valor), Blue (Mystic) and Yellow (Instinct). In Pokémon Go, you can only select your team when you hit level 5 in the game.

You earn XP (experience points) by capturing Pokémon, battling in Gyms, hatching eggs, etc. For each level you need a certain amount of XP to get to the next level. You can see your XP by tapping your trainer picture on the bottom left.

The goal is to be the very best like no-one ever was, to catch them is your real test and to train them is your cause.

What is Augmented Reality (AR)?

Augmented reality is technology which allows a computer generated image, sound, video or data to be superimposed on a user's view of the real world.

Typically this view is through a camera on a mobile device. Augmented reality isn't new. It's used in many games and tech like Google Glass use AR to display data in front of your view, when wearing the glasses.

What are Pokémon?

Pokémon is the Japanese contraction for "Pocket Monsters". They are fictional creatures or animals who live in our world. There are hundreds of different Pokémon, ranging from sea creatures, to bird, land animals, bugs and even mystical creatures.

They are categorised into broad Pokémon types, namely Normal, Water, Bug, Fire, Dragon, Electric, Fairy, Fighting, Ghost, Grass, Rock Ice, Flying, Poison, Psychic, Steel, Dark and Ground.

Pokémon have various Combat Power (CP), the higher the better.  Each Pokémon has different stats, including HP (hit points), Attack, Defense, Special Attack, Special Defence, Speed.

Pokémon is also refered to as the game / TV series / even the franchise. You could say "I'm playing Pokémon" and "I just caught a Pokémon".

Some creature can evolve into a different form - some only once and others can evolve twice. There are Pokémon that doesn't evolve.  In Pokémon Go you need Stardust and Candy to evolve your creatures.

In the game, the creatures are randomly located in the real world. Rarer creatures are harder to find. Pokémon creatures can also be hatched from eggs.

The Pokédex is an index of the Pokémon you have caught.

How do you get Poké Balls

AR Setting Turned On
When you start the game you are given a number of Poké Balls and each time you level up, you will receive more. They soon run out, as you need to use the Poké Balls to catch the creatures. You can collect Poké Balls for free by finding Pokéstops and collecting items. You are not always guaranteed Poké Balls. You can also purchase Poké Balls through in-app purchases. One hundred Poké Coins (£0.79 / $0.99) will give you 20 Poké Balls.

When you spot the Pokémon, click on it and a Poké Ball will appear at the bottom of your screen. You swipe the ball up, aiming for the Pokémon, to capture it. It gets harder the capture the Pokémon the higher your level in the game.

You also have to wait, once you capture your creature, as some do have the tendency to jump out. Sometimes you'll be lucky to have another go, but the creatures can also run away.

Turning off the AR setting in the top right hand corner can make it easier to capture and will also help save battery power, but it isn't as cool!

What are Pokéstops?

Pokéstops are places of interest in the real world, like museums, churches or statues. On the Pokémon Go app they are displayed as blue (active) 3D squares. When you get close enough to a Pokéstop the square turns into a circle and you can spin the inner circle to collect items. Swipe the inner circle once and then tap on the bubbles of items to collect and add to your items.

Item List

You can view your items, by clicking on the Poké Ball on the main screen and select "Items".  You'll first see a list of Pokémon, swipe left to find your items.

Once you have collected your items the Pokéstop turns purple (not-active) and you can't collect items from it again for 5 - 15 min. The point is to walk around, not stand still at one Pokéstop!

You will also gain XP by visiting Pokéstops, which helps you to level up.

We've noticed lots of places on interest in our local area which we've not noticed before. Some Pokéstops also include a little information about it, which we found very interesting. Be aware when you visit Pokéstops that they are not on private property or located in an inappropriate area. For example, if may seem strange to onlookers if you are an adult roaming around a church, based on a school property during the school day!

What is a Gym?

Gyms are really obvious to spot in the app. Each Gym is controlled by either a Red, Blue or Yellow team. You can battle your Pokémon at a Gym once you have reached level 5. Initially you'll have a grayed-out "No Teams" icon on the bottom right hand corner. More on gyms in another post.

A Gym is a physical spot for people to congregate and stay for longer periods, whilst they battle their Pokémon.

Where to find Poké Eggs?

Hatched from a 5km egg

You can get Poké Eggs when you level up, at Pokéstops, or you can buy them with Poké Coins.

There is only space for 9 Poké Eggs in your inventory.

When you start the game, you get an infinity incubator, which you place the egg in to hatch. Walking 2, 5 or 10 km will hatch eggs, depending on the type of egg.

The longer walking-distance eggs will hatch more rare Pokémon.

Read about using Pokémon Go as a fitness tracker whilst hatching eggs.

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