Pokemon Go has proven once and for all that video games are no longer just for kids.
My wife has been bitten by the Pokemon Go bug despite never being a Pokemon fan or even much of a gamer. Here is her guide for those of us that don’t really remember Pokemon the first time around but feel compelled to wander around the world looking for monsters with our phones.
By Jennifer Vaughn
Full disclosure: I am old and never played the original Pokemon. The extent of my Pokemon knowledge rests with knowing Pikachu. I have no idea what the hell he is, but I could pick him out in an animation line up. No doubt you’ve heard about Pokemon Go. I downloaded it the day it was released and I still barely know how to play, but I’m having fun. So, rejoice all you people of a certain age, I’m here to tell you that you can play Pokemon Go.
Anyone can play. You do not need deep knowledge of the world of Pokemon to play Pokemon Go. Does it help to know the difference between Pikachu and a Squirtle? Possibly. Do you need to be under the age of 12 to play? Absolutely not. This game is not just for children or for people with no lives as some Facebook memes have suggested. It’s a way to kill time just like anything else.
The goal of the game isn’t set. You don’t have a lot of choices when you play a game like Pac-Man. You can either move to escape the ghosts or you can stand still and let them eat you. In Pokemon Go, you can decide that your end goal is to collect every single character. Or you can level up one creature or multiple creatures as high as they can go. Maybe you just want something to get you off the couch. Personally, I like finding the poke stops of things I’ve never noticed in my town before. You have a lot of options on how you play this game.
You Might Make Some New Friends…Or Find Some Old Ones. If you’ve read anything about Pokemon Go then you’ve probably heard some stories about strangers ending up at the same place thanks to Pokemon Go. It’s hard to make new friends so bravo to those folks. However, don’t forget that you can use this game to reconnect with your old friends, your significant other, or your child. Take your surly tween for a walk and catch some Pokemon or chase that little Ratata around your living room with your toddler. If you’re going to play a game, Pokemon Go is much more social than crushing some fake candy.
No Direction. While there is a lot of value in games that are somewhat open, this game provides no instructions at all. When I downloaded the game, I had no idea what to do and found myself relying on friends and the internet. As a result, I just learned some very basic game play components like swiping to collect items at a Pokestop and what to do with those poke eggs. I’m usually left feeling like there is so much more to this game that I don’t know about yet.
Stupid People. You know the types. These are the people trespassing in a landfill or running into you with their shopping cart in the grocery store. Worse, they’re robbing people who show up at Pokestops or crashing their cars or falling off the side of a cliff because hey, you gotta catch ’em all. You don’t gotta catch ’em all. Don’t be a stupid person.
Data and Battery Drain. Because you’re an adult and probably paying for a data plan you should know that this game will drain your data plan if you can’t find some free wifi. I would love to go on a long walk with my phone in hand and find some cool landmarks that happen to be Pokestops but I find myself worried that my shared data plan will explode before the next billing cycle. A few minutes with this game and you’ll be reaching for the charger, too. I suppose a dead battery would solve that data drain issue though.
If you’re old like me, I encourage you to beef up that data plan and download Pokemon Go. Find a young whipper-snapper to show you the ropes and get yourself outside. Better yet, take that whipper-snapper with you because they probably could use a walk and fresh air, too.