The greatest tragedy in our history (which means last week in the Internet) is that while some countries (US, Australia, Japan, New Zealand) are already evolving their Squirtles, wanna-be Pokémon trainers in the Philippines may go as far as their weary legs can take them but no cute little monsters would appear on their smartphones. #thestruggleisreal, I know – especially when you see news, updates, 9gag memes, and buzzfeed articles fawning just how fun the game is.
As Filipinos are wont to do, we can turn our geo-locked torture into something productive. While we are still waiting for the Poké gods to finally grace our lands with their presence, we can plan our moves and strategize so that when the gates our unbarred, we can all come out rushing and maximizing our hunt. Pokémon catching and training is serious business, after all.
Here are 5 things you need to remember when you finally get to play Pokémon GO:
1. CONSTANT VIGILANCE
First thing: be safe. No Pokémon – not even a Mewtwo – is worth you getting hurt. Niantic, the company who made Pokémon GO, said that no Pokémon will appear on roads or other dangerous places (they said you don’t have to go to a volcano to get a Charmander, for example) but data glitches and GPS errors can always happen. Mind other people and the vehicles around you. Be careful and don’t fall into the river while you try to catch that Magikarp. Always be aware of your surroundings.
And for goodness sake, don’t be easy pickings for snatchers and other criminals while you wave your phone around. There are already reports of robbers luring people to secluded places using the app. No trainer ever became a Pokémon master by being careless. After all, you can’t play Pokémon GO if you’re hurt or without a phone, right?
2. STOP BEING AN ASS; DON’T TRESPASS!
“I’m just playing a game” is not and will never be a valid excuse for you to trespass on private property. In these troubled times, you can be mistaken for suspicious behavior when you keep circling a house with your phone out. Let’s all try to avoid the hassle of dealing with the authorities – or worse – getting shot – just because of a game.
But even if you’re on public establishments, you still need to be respectful. There have been reports that people are finding an inordinate amount of churches to be Pokéstops (where you can get free supplies such as Pokéballs and eggs). It would be extremely rude for you to barge into these establishments if there’s a mass (or worse, a necrological service) going on. Don’t be an ass. Be a decent person first, Pokémon trainer second.
3. GEAR UP
In some ways, Pokémon GO can be the best fitness app ever – no app has been as successful in making getting up from bed, going out, and walking around as fun as Pokémon GO has done. There’s always more Pokémon nearby to catch, and the next Pokéstop is just around the corner — if you will just walk a little more.
In order to maximize your ‘hunt’, you need to wear the right gear. Nothing fancy – just wear comfortable shoes, snug clothes, and an extra bimpo or two to wipe away the sweats. And don’t forget to bring water – walking around can be thirsty work.
4. BRING EXTRA AMMO
Pokémon GO can be an absolute monster – to your phone battery. Even with the music and sound effects turned off and the battery saving feature on, Pokémon GO can annihilate your phone charge in no time. Jogging with Pokémon GO, I’ve found, brings down my 3000mAh fully-charged battery down to 20% in just an hour and a half.
To avoid running dry while you’re out in the field, bring some high-capacity (yet portable) powerbanks with you when you’re on a Pokémon run. You know what, go nuts and bring some energy bars you can munch on – after all, it’s not only your phone that can run out of energy while you’re outside.
It’s funny, but there’s an instant kinship when you see fellow adults out in the sun, trying to catch that rare Aerodactyl, excited about a game that started 20 years ago. You’ll feel silly, but also strangely giddy – as if you’ve found a fellow traveler on life’s road.
On a more strategic note, socializing can also guide you on how you would choose your teams. Once you reach Level 5, the app will ask you to choose a team: Team Mystic (blue), Team Valor (Red), and Team Instinct (Yellow). Pokémon gyms can only be owned by one team – if you’re on Team Red, for example, and you encounter a Yellow Team-owned gym, you can battle the Pokémon stationed there for dominance.
Right now, the significance of gyms end there, but future game updates might change that. The absence of Legendary Pokémon, for example, make people speculate that Niantic may organize city-wide events in the future that may award winners (like the team with the most gyms in a city, perhaps?) with the much-sought after Legendary Pokémon. So before you choose your team, scout your area. Would you prefer to be an underdog and grab a come-from-behind win or would you just like to go with the majority?
BONUS: TRY NOT TO SPEND
Most free-to-play games earn their keep by making players avail in-app purchases that can cost a lot of money in the long run. If you want to get ahead or have the good items, you have to pay.
Pokémon GO doesn’t ask for your money – it asks you to sweat. Right now, there are no shop-only rare Pokemons or super items you can buy. If you want to build your Pokédex and evolve your Pokémon, you can play the game as it’s meant to be played: by going out, walking around, and catching wild Pokémon. The game is pretty open-handed; you can get key items on Pokéstops and not spend any real-world money at all.
If you want to (and that’s a big IF), you can, of course, spend money on the app’s shop to make life easier. There are items, for example, that attract nearby Pokémon to your location – just in case you’re stuck in a boring, whole day meeting and can’t go out. But as I said, this is for convenience, not unfair advantage on the game.
So, once the PH market gets unlocked, remember: keep safe, don’t be an ass, be prepared, and go have fun catching Pokémon!