By the G33K GURU
Nerds rejoice! The long anticipated Pokémon Go is finally here and you can see it all over Denton. It seems like every where you look there are people with their heads in their phones trying to catch them all, but there are some people out there asking "What is it?" or "How do I play?" The good news is that we have all the answers here at We Denton Do It!
Last September Niantic (the developers of the hit geolocation game Ingress, more on that later) and The Pokémon Company announced that they were working on an augmented reality version of everyone's favorite Nintendo game, Pokémon! This was huge! It meant that there would be Pokémon just around the corner from you in the real world! So when it officially released last week, people started coming out in droves to find Pikachu, Squirtle, and so many more on their Android and IOS devices.
After downloading the game, you're thrown into a virtual world with your own avatar that walks around on a Pokémon Go version of Google maps and you're given a number of Poké balls and a meter to track down nearby Pokémon. The goal is to be the very best, like no one ever was. You do that by catching as many Pokémon as you can and making them more powerful by evolving them and fighting them against each other for control over Gyms, which appears to be the big end game. You don't have to be a hardcore competitive gamer to enjoy this game, though. For most people it's fun to get out with their friends, find new Pokémon, and see cool new places.
One of the coolest mechanics about the game is that it incorporates real world locations like businesses and monuments as Pokéstops and Gyms that give you items and let you battle your Pokémon against others. So who chose these locations? It was the Ingress players that did. Ingress was Niantic's first go at an augmented reality game where in the story there's an unseen energy called XM, or Exotic Matter, that exists in our world that people are not aware of. When you download Ingress your phone becomes a scanner that you use to track this energy to portals that are real world locations and capture them. The problem was that not very many of these locations existed in the game for players to use, so Niantic made it a function of the game for players to be able to submit locations and create more portals. Just before Pokémon Go was announced Niantic turned off portal submissions for Ingress, but you can still find all the criteria for them here.
So when Niantic started working on Pokémon Go it made good sense to use the same locations. There are some hot spots in Denton like the Historic Denton Square, TWU and UNT, but if you'd like to find out if somewhere you haven't been has Pokéstops and/or Gyms, you can start an account with Ingress and use their Intel map, something Pokemon Go doesn't yet have (cross your fingers). Not all portals in Ingress will be Pokéstops or Gyms because of the sheer number of portals that exist, but If it's a Pokéstop or Gym then it's a portal in Ingress.
If you want to get out and play, here's 10 pieces of advice from other Pokémon Go players and Ingress players:
1. Don't Drive and play. Not only could you get a ticket, but someone could get seriously injured.
2. Stay Hydrated. Squirtle's water gun won't help you from getting heat exhaustion. For that, you need good old fashioned water.
3. Speaking of heat, put on sun screen or play after the sun goes down. No one likes sun burn, and it will also help with that heat exhaustion.
4.Wear comfortable shoes. There is a lot of walking involved, so there's no need to have sore feet, or worse, blisters.
5. Join the community and socialize. Everyone playing wants to have fun, and unlike other MMO type games the community is really pleasant. You can find a public Pokémon Go: DFW Community on Facebook.
6. Be respectful to others and mindful of when locations close. There are Many Pokémon in yards and Pokéstops in non accessible areas, just let them go. Don't play in cemeteries while Funerals are being held. Cemeteries and parks all over Denton are full of Pokéstops, but they all close at 10 p.m. and the court house lawn on the square has a curfew of midnight. (Maybe now the city will post more than just one sign or eliminate the curfew all together.)
7. Play with friends, especially at night. Most people are playing Pokemon Go, but doing this will reduce the risk of anything bad happening while you play. There's already been reports of muggings in secluded places that have Pokéstops with a lure on it.
8. Invest in a portable charger. Augmented reality games like Pokemon Go and Ingress drain battery power faster than anything else because they rely on an internet connection and GPS location.
9. Stay aware of your surroundings. There's a good reason why Niantic says this on the loading screens for both of their games. Walking into traffic is the last thing anyone wants.
10. Have fun! What's the point in playing if you're not having fun?
Join me next week for an in depth guide on how to maximize your game play that you won't find anywhere else!
Think there's something I may have missed (other than rooting for the other two teams)? Please feel free to email me your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org You might see your thoughts in my next article.