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How to Master Pokémon Go

Millions are learning how to master Pokémon Go, the app that transformed an old favorite into a modern phenomenon.

By Jake AronskindPublished 8 years ago 7 min read

People are traveling across the land, searching far and wide. From the grasslands of Central Park to the cliffs of Beverly Hills, dozens are getting off of their couches and heading outside into the world of Pokémon Go. The location-based augmented reality game brought to us by Nintendo and Niantic opened the golden gates into the Kanto Region. Crowds hit the streets as they fight to rise through the ranks of the world and become the very best. So dust off your starter cap and toss a couple Poke Balls in your backpack, your childhood dream finally became a reality.

In a world so consumed by the smartphone, you would expect another mobile app to simply add to our society’s ever-growing hunger to live in the dimensions of our iPhones. But this one is different. Rather than simply allowing users to waste away in the trenches of their couches, Pokémon Go has forced players to explore the streets. The creators of the game scattered “Poke Stops” at designated landmarks, sculptures, and miscellaneous locations deemed worthy enough by the Poke Gods. These plotted sites give the users free items as well as attract more wild and rare Pokémon than your everyday residential area. And that’s the pure beauty of the game.

Far and Wide

Photo via World Subtitles

Not only are crowds walking the streets in search of these elusive creatures, they are getting a little exercise along the way. The benchmark Poke Stops are forcing people to rediscover their own towns as they bounce around collecting items and learning more about the landmarks around them. Although most trainers are still looking at their phones while playing Pokémon Go, any lagging or slow points during the game pushes users to look up from their mindless devices. You might be surprised how often this actually happens. With a little help from everyone’s favorite pocket monsters, players might just realize the allure of the natural world around them rather than the artificial one in their hand.

In addition to scattered Poke Stops throughout the world, Pokémon Go includes an “Egg” feature which further pushes individuals to get out and walk around. Eggs come in distances of 2, 5, or 10 kilometers, and the user must walk the specified distance in order to hatch the Pokémon waiting to join their collection. The only problem: You must simultaneously use the app while walking to track your distance. Fortunately, the developers of Pokémon Go thought of this beforehand. Introducing… the “Battery Saver” function! Sounds very exciting, but it actually might be the most underrated aspect of the game. After selecting the option in the Settings menu, users can hold their phones at their hips, and the screen will turn black while still running the app. The user’s phone will vibrate if a Pokémon appears, just as if they were watching the screen the entire time, and the player’s egg will continue to track distance. But the phone’s battery life and the player's sanity just might be saved. Rather than staying glued to the pixelated screen of your phone, the Battery Saver option allows you to enjoy the sights around you in our world while you catch Pokémon in their world. Although it might not be a perfect solution, Pokémon Go has finally forced kids to listen to their parents’ constant demand: “Go outside!”

Become the Very Best

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In a society where there are more deaths in a Game of Thrones episode than books most of us read in a year, what would a Pokémon world be without a little battling? Similar to Poke Stops, Gyms are scattered at random locations worldwide, ranging from churches to public libraries. Each player is required to choose one of three teams (Team Valor, Mystic, and Instinct), and the teams battle for control of each Gym. The separation of players into teams has forced trainers to unite amongst their teammates in an effort to conquer the world together as one cohesive unit. The waving flag of each team hanging from Gyms stands prominently among the flat buildings of the augmented reality world, providing players with comfort when they know they’re amongst their own. Loyalty among teams has grown so exponentially as the question: “What team are you in Pokémon Go?” has become just as common as: “How are you today?” And with rewards such as in-game coins and community-wide respect, Gyms are some of the most sought-out landmarks in the world. It might just be time to find your Brock and Misty and step foot onto Victory Road.

While Gyms serve as great confidence boosters, they are far from the main objective of the game. I mean, what is Pokémon exactly? I’m sure we’ve all had those same four words bouncing around our heads since we first heard "Gotta catch ‘em all!" And with wild Pokémon dancing through the streets of almost every neighborhood in the world, there’s never been a better time. Since mastering Pokémon Go might not be everyone’s destiny, here are a couple helpful tricks to put you on a direct path to the Elite Four.

Catch, Catch, and Catch Some More

Image via Tumbr user Techinsider

What are the only three rules of real estate? Catch, catch, and—wait that doesn’t sound right. Nonetheless, it still works in the world of Pokémon Go. While a fifteenth Pidgey doesn’t sound very enticing, catching duplicates of Pokémon actually helps in several ways. Not only does it help you level up your highest rated Pokémon of that kind, it also increases your experience level, thus opening the door to more items and higher-level Pokémon. It’s a win-win scenario, with the only opportunity cost coming at the hands of a single Poke Ball. Keep calm and keep catching.

Patience is a Virtue

We’ve all heard the infamous suggestion that rustling leaves mean more Pokémon, and I know we’ve all mastered the varying footprint length technique. But at the end of the day, does it all really matter? Well, yes, it probably does. A Pokémon that is three footprints away is probably a lot less likely to show up than one that is only one footprint away. However, it’s still just a mobile app, and mobile apps make mistakes. Don’t beat yourself up too much after chasing a pile of rustling leaves with the shadow of a Dratini for hours just to find out that nothing was there to begin with. It happens to the best of us. Therefore, be patient; Patience is key in the world of Pokémon Go. If you wait, the Pokémon will come, or something like that.

Poke Tricks for the Brightly-Minded

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While the first two tricks might seem fairly obvious, they are two of the most important pillars to live by in the world of wild Pokémon. But for the thrill seekers, the trainers who aren’t okay with just getting by, the Ash Ketchum Jrs. of the world, here are a couple tricks that not your everyday Nurse Joy knows. Everybody knows how to choose Pikachu over any of the starter Pokémon at this point, (if you don’t then you need to take your eyes off your phone and go to YouTube immediately), but this trick is ultimately unnecessary. Unlike the game, every starter Pokémon is available in the wild, and Pikcahu is no exception. If you really want to impress your fellow Pokémon Go confidants, before you throw a Poke Ball, circle the ball with your finger a couple times. This will enhance the ball with a slight curve, adding extra experience points for a throw known as a “curveball.” Although it might not shoot you directly to stardom, this skilled throw might surprise a few of your friends while also speeding up your experience level along the way.

Pack for an Adventure

Pokémon Go is more than just a mobile app, it’s an adventure. Trainers are forced to leave the comfort of their homes as they take on the outdoor world of wild Pokémon. Therefore, if you’re going to play the part, you must pack for the part as well. While water and sunblock might be the first and most essential items to cross your mind, there’s one that might slip through the cracks that is just as important. Although Battery Saver mode helps some, Pokémon Go drains your battery faster than an Abra will use teleport. Luckily, we live in a time of wireless chargers where no man has to live without his mobile phone for more than the time it takes him to grab it out of his pocket. Any trainer with a chance to become the very best understands the importance of a portable charger. And to those who disagree, you might just reconsider when your phone dies during a stand-off with a CP 948 Dragonite (yes, this actually happened to someone). These wireless devices can run costly, however, and it’s difficult to tell the good ones from the scams. The Anker PowerCore+ Mini is an option that will last and perform as well as, if not better than, any other portable charger out there.

Pokémon Mobile Revolution

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Pokémon Go revolutionized the mobile app, combining the addicting act of staring at a virtual screen with the beauty and elegance of the natural world around us. The wild world of Pokémon is upon us, and it’s up to each trainer to decide his own place among the very best. Each Team foretells a different future, and it’s up to the trainer to decide which band of brothers to join. At the end of the day, however, it's still just a game. Don’t lose any best friends over it, but more importantly, don’t put yourself in dangerous positions. Venturing into isolated parks in the middle of the night in search of a Gengar is never worth the added risk to your life. Grab your best friends, your Brocks and your Mistys, because regardless of your team, the Pokémon of Earth will not wait. Crowds are coming in like Beedrills, so get outside and find your path to Victory Road as you take on the entire world. You never know, it just might be your destiny.

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About the Creator

Jake Aronskind

Born from the blood of Ash Ketchum and Lyanna Stark. Walks past unfinished jigsaw puzzles and can't help but solve them. Just might be the most interesting man in Essex County.

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