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Pokemon Go 101: Starting your Pokemon Journey

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It’s finally here, guys! Niantic Labs and the Pokemon Company officially launched the highly-anticipated game in the Philippines and 14 other countries in Asia and Oceania. We can now begin our Pokemon Journey. “But, where do we begin?” One might ask. Well, we’ve put together a little primer to help you on your way to be the very best that no one ever was as you and your friends try to catch ’em all.

Choosing Your Starting Pokemon

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After downloading the app from the App Store or Google Play and going through a brief introduction by Professor Willow, you’ll be asked to select your starting Pokemon. Just like the early iterations of the game, you’ll be given three choices: Charmander, Squirtle, and Bulbasaur. Each have their own unique attacks and affinity — which we’ll get into in our in-depth guide that’s coming soon — but you can select them based on how cute you think they are as well. Personally, we went with Charmander.

Pikachu

Tip: There is a secret fourth choice. Walk away from the trio a couple of times and Pikachu will appear as a fourth choice.

Start Walking

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You’ve done it! You’ve caught your first Pokemon. Congratulations! It’s time to begin your journey! As is with every journey in life, preparation is key. You’ll be doing a lot of walking or — if you choose — biking, so its best to prepare a little kit fitted with all you might need to stay out in the field. Whatever else you choose to bring along with you, we highly suggest bringing a powerbank because the app drains battery life like crazy. Also, we can’t stress this enough, be safe!

A Wild Pokemon Appeared! Catch it!

Photo from Nintendo/Niantic
Photo from Nintendo/Niantic

Now, you’re out in the wild and look there’s a Pidgey nearby! Tap on it and the phone goes from the map view to the UI you’ll be using to catch it! You can toggle the Augmented Reality on or off, depending if you’re into it or not; either way it doesn’t really affect actual gameplay. If you do have it on, you’ll have to look for where Pidgey is.

You’ve found him. Great! Tap on the PokeBall and you’ll see a ring around Pidgey. Now, all you have to do is flick the Pokeball in its direction and, voila, you’ve caught yourself a Wild Pokemon.

Tip: The colors of the ring may vary and indicate how touch a Pokemon is to catch. If you fail, you’ll get a few chances before they run away though. You’ll also get bonus XP for catching the Pokemon at the right moment, so time those throws correctly and get extra style points for curving your shots too.

Hit Up Those Pokestops!

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Professor Willow will set you up with a decent amount of Pokeballs to start with, so you can begin catching them all. Don’t wait until you’re low though, walk to nearby PokeStops to get free PokeBalls, Incense, Eggs, and Potions. As you begin to level up in the game, you’ll gain access to even more items to help you as Pokemon Trainer. After use, the PokeStop will need a few minutes to refresh its stash so you can claim it again.

Reminder: You only have to be within the Stops proximity to access the items, so make sure you are not trespassing or disrupting places of business just to get the stash waiting for you.

Lure them with Lures! Attract them with Incense!

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As mentioned above, there are several items available for Trainers to use to be able to attract more Pokemon to you or your area. These items are called Lures and Incense. They both attract Pokemon, but in different ways. Lures can only be used at PokeStops, so if you’re feeling generous you can deploy one for all to use. Incense on the other hand, attracts Wild Pokemon to you, so youc can walk around and catch more them. These cost PokeCoins, which cost real money if you don’t get them at Stops. Make sure you don’t break the bank!

Caution: There have already been reports of criminals using Lures at PokeStops to attract Pokemon and potential targets. Please be careful, guys!

Keep Catching the Same Pokemon? Turn Them Into Candy!

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Our brief walk around Unbox HQ had us catching a number of Spearows, Pidgeys, and Ratatas. What do you do with them? Spares can be transferred to the care of Professor Willow, who will give you a candy type depending on what you give him. These Candies can be used to Evolve your Pokemon. Be mindful of their CP levels though and make sure you keep the highest one in the bunch!

Eggs Will Make You Go the Distance

Photo courtesy of our friends at JAMOnline
Photo courtesy of our friends at JAMOnline

We also mentioned Eggs as one of the item you get at PokeStops. Eggs will hatch after certain distances are achieved. The distance you have to travel will vary depending on the egg and longer distances may be the indication that you have a rare Pokemon. Get to walking!

You’re Level 5! Time to Pick a Side and Go to a Gym!

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Screenshot courtesy of one of our buddies who shall not be named.

Once you’ve hit level 5! You can now enjoy another part of the appeal of Pokemon. Battling and taking over rival gyms! To do that, you’ll first have to select a team. There are three choices: Team Valor, Team Mystic, and Team Instinct. Choose one and head to a Gym! If you see a Pokemon on top of the gym in your vicinity, that means someone has taking it over and you might have to battle to gain control for you gym. Check the gym to see the strength of its defenders and how much prestige it has to see if you can take it over. If not, you can at least battle it to soften it up for other players in the area.

Stay Safe and Keep Your Head Up!

There have been a lot of reported incidents that vary from the completely hilarious to the extremely serious. These incidents could have been prevented if Trainers had been more careful as they went about playing the game. While we encourage everyone who wants to give the game a go to have as much as they can with it, we do have caution you and urge you to put your safety and the safety of other above all else. Keep your head up while walking and don’t have your eyes fixed on your screen the whole time. Your phone will actually vibrate if there are nearby Pokemon.

That’s it for our primer for Pokemon Go! Stay safe everyone and Catch ’em All! Want more tips and tricks? You can check out the article by our friends at UnGeek for 11 Tips and Tricks to get you started.

Jamie Inocian

A self-confessed geek. Jamie started out helping out on the Unbox Podcast and became the Digital Sales Manager when he joined the team full time. He has since then transitioned into one of our Senior Editors and Head Video Producer.

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