Sunday 24 July 2016

Why I Love Pokemon Go?

Before you judge me, read on!

For the last two weeks, our two booklets (now aged 19 and almost 16) have been talking a lot about this whole pokemon go thing.

It's been lovely for two reasons.

One, over the past year or so, they actually haven't been bonding very well (B19 is oblivious to this problem which is, of course, part of the problem), however pokemon go has become a thing that has brought them together again. It's a tad competitive as they compare how many pokemon they have, their combat power (CP) and what rare ones they've managed to catch, but they're talking nicely to each other and they seem to enjoy sharing their tips and hints and adventures with each other.

Two, in the middle of our recent winter school holidays, when it turned really cold, B16 spent several hours each day, outside, walking and exploring our local area in an attempt to catch more pokemon. He still can't tell me the names of any of the local parks, despite visiting them several times for pokestops, but he at least knows that all these little parks now exist!

Over the past two weeks there has been lots of social media coverage (good and bad) about the pokemon go phenomenon. During the week, a young customer in our bookshop, caught two pokemon. Her excitement was contagious and we had a lovely chat about how many, what kinds and where.

So this weekend I decided to find out for myself what all the fuss was about.

B19 gave me a quick lesson on how to catch pokemon and what all the various symbols and icons in the app meant.

With this little bit of knowledge, a healthy dose of scepticism and a little bit of embarrassment, I headed off into the wilds of Balmain yesterday to find me some pokemon!

The first thing I had to do was stock up on some balls at a pokestop. Fortunately we have a park nearby with about five pokestops in it. You need the balls to catch pokemon. Pokemon with small CP levels can usually be caught with your first ball, as long as your aim is accurate.

My first couple of captures used up several balls, but once I got the hang of it, it was easy.

Pokemon with high CP are good if you want to do a battle in a pokemon gym. There are about four or five gyms in my suburb.

On my first pokemon walk though, I didn't have enough pokemon or a high enough level to do anything with the gyms.

After 45 mins, I came home with about 12 pokemon in my bag and a stack of balls up my sleeve!

Later on in the afternoon, we had to do a trip to the airport. Mr Books was driving - lets be clear about that upfront! After seeing a few people in the street catching pokemon, I wondered if you could also catch pokemon in the car. Turns out you can!

There was quite a bit of traffic on the road to the airport and we weren't moving very fast - I not only stocked up on loads of pokeballs and other icons, but I also caught quite a few pokemon.

On Sundays, I walked to B16's soccer game. It's an hour walk around the bay - the perfect way to spend a wintry Sunday afternoon. Today I also caught a few pokemon along the way.

I learnt that the higher the CP value of the pokemon, the harder it is to actually catch them. Several of today's captures actually had to be caught two or three times before they stayed caught!

I also saw lots of families with young children and small groups of tweenies walking and cycling around together capturing pokemon.

I learnt that there are no pokespots in schools or in front of people's homes.

When B16 learnt that I had been pokemoning this weekend, he was thrilled. He asked to see what I had caught and was impressed that I had caught a rare-ish Electabuzz. He explained about lures and showed me that there was one just around the corner.

We looked at each other, quickly put on our shoes and headed off into the cold wintry evening to catch more pokemon.

A lure, lures rarer pokemons to a certain area for half an hour. We caught a couple before the lure vanished.

We decided to keep walking to see what we could see.

And this is the main reason why I love pokemon go.

For the first time in months, B16 and I spent a wonderful, relaxed, easy hour together. We walked and talked and explored. We laughed and bonded and caught stacks of pokemon together.

I learnt that before they released the app, pokemon sent out teams of photographers around the world to take photos of all the plaques, signs and monuments that feature in the pokestops. And I levelled up enough to join a team. B16 and I are now on the same team :-)

We had a lovely evening. And we plan to do it again tomorrow after we finish work and school.

Once upon a time, families sat around the dinner table playing card games and scrabble and monopoly together.
Now, if you play your cards right, you can now spend time having the same kind of fun with your modern teenagers by playing pokemon go together.

And you can get some exercise together at the same time.

(Updates & new information about the game stats are included in the comments below.)


  1. Way to go! My son is a fan and I have come so far as to download the app. Have to practise the actual catching! Is it not nice when you can do tjis over the generations and at the same time move around. Great game it seems.

    1. It really is Lisbeth. I've been a bit game obsessive ever since I was a little girl. I spent entire school holidays playing Guess Who? monopoly, patience, scrabble, yahtzee and canasta. My siblings and I always made up games to play in the car on our long family car trips. So it's very easy for me to get into the modern types of games.

      B16 and I had a great night on Monday. It was such a lovely time together. Our enthusiasm then convinced Mr Books to join us on the Tuesday night!

  2. I think it sounds like fun! I'd bet that we'll see more of these kinds of games.

    1. I'm sure that this is the first of many augmented reality app games to come.

      Now that B16 & I have got Mr Books onto the game as well, he has been telling us about the amazing coding that has gone into creating all the layers and levels within the game. It's very impressive.

  3. I've read loads of positive stuff about pokemon go - I have downloaded it and caught a few, and I've found the Alternate Reality aspect of it fascinating. I've certainly seen people out and about and exercising as they go - I think it's great!

    1. The augmented reality aspect is rather fascinating, but it sucks your phone battery.
      B16 showed us how you can turn off the AR function. It also makes it less obvious that you're playing the game, if you're concerned about what people might think (all great tips from B16, of course!)

  4. I'm trying to get to Level 8 so I can put a lure outside our library. I haven't got an electabuzz - sad face. But I did catch a Scyther which is apparently quite exciting.

    1. Ohh a Scyther, I don't have one of those! B16 caught a rare Jynx on Monday to great general delight. And Mr Books caught a Pikachu on his first outing.

      Turns out some of the 'lesser' pokemon are pretty common depending on your area. We catch a LOT of zubats, magikarps, pidgey's, weedles and spearows in our area, but I've read that ones like drowzee are everywhere in other locations (& we've yet to see one of those at all).

      Ten days ago several pokemon had not been seen at all - Articuno, Zapdos, Moltres, Ditto, Mew and Mewtwo. Farfetch’d is apparently exclusive to Asia, Kangaskhan is only found in Aust/NZ, Tauros in North America and Mr. Mime is in Western Europe. But you may luck out and hatch one of these region specific pokemon if you incubate the right egg! Farfetch'd, Tauros & Kangaskhan can be hatched from a 5km egg and Mr Mime from a 10km egg.

      There is now a North American Pokemon Master who has caught all the pokemon available to NA users.

      Maybe Niantic will release new pokemon with updates at some point? There are 151 original pokemon. So far only 143 are 'out there'.

      Great marketing and forethought all round really. And people are out walking and catching pokemon everywhere - even on a cold, cold winters night!

    2. B16 returned from school camp last night and very excitedly showed us that whilst visiting Parliament House in Canberra, he and a few friends caught the Australasian specific pokemon, Kangaskhan! One-upping my capture of a Vaporeon in his absence :-)

  5. You did surprise me with this! Good on you for joining in, I can see how it could lead to fun family times. My son has put it on his iPad, but the iPad can't go out of our wifi- luckily for him we live near a park and he's found quite a few just from the house!

    1. I do like to keep everyone on their toes Louise!!

      I went to the Art Gallery yesterday to see the Frida exhibition (hopefully a Sat Snapshot coming up soon) and walked home through the Botanic Gardens. So many people were playing Pokemon Go - individuals, couples, groups of young men, middle aged women and a couple of pasty white teens who looked like they hadn't seen sunshine and fresh air for years - all out walking in the glorious winter sunshine yesterday.

      Circular Quay was packed with players and pokemon. It was quite a sight!
      It's an amazing phenomenon.

  6. Love this. I'm playing too and have got 66 types in my Pokedex, but haven't got an Electabuzz. So that's a good one! :)

    1. Hope you find an Electabuzz soon - they must be fairly common to our area as I have 3 of them now.

      I did some evolving tonight & now I have 72 Pokemon in my pokedex :-)

  7. Generation Two coming soon click here Rumour has it it will be March 2017.


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