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Pokemon Go! - A Beginners Review

Updated on July 20, 2016

Pokemon Go!


Where did you first hear about Pokemon Go?

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Pokemon Go! is a brand new trend in Massive Multiplayer Mobile Gaming, and it's taking both the virtual world, and the real world by storm! In this hub, we're going to explore this crazy new world like pioneers of the old west. At times it will be bumpy, and other times it will be genuinely awe inspiring.

Though before you dive right into this fantastic article, I was hoping you could do me a favor and tell me what brought you here? I'm quite astonished at this game's rather unique ability to bring us out of our comfy caves, and as it did this with me, I'm really curious how it did so with you.

Was it a newly obsessed friend or family member who just couldn't stop raving about the game?

Or maybe an already addicted co-worker?

Maybe it was the news, with all their talks about the craziest things that have happened since the games release?

I must know! Will you take this poll and enlighten me?

A Screen Capture taken while I was playing Pokemon Go!
A Screen Capture taken while I was playing Pokemon Go! | Source

What is Pokemon Go?

In the simplest terms, Pokemon Go! is a mobile phone game played on your Android smart phone, or Apple iPhone.

To be more specific, it's an Augmented Reality game that works in tandem with your GPS, cell-phone camera, pedometer, and Google Maps to create a unique gaming environment that blends real life and video gaming. Think of it like an RPG, though the only story line it has, is the one you create as you travel around capturing, training, battle, and trading Pokemon.

Where can I get Pokemon Go? Does it cost anything?

Pokemon Go! for Android Smart Phones

  1. Go to the Google Play store on your iPhone or Smart Phone.
  2. Search for "Pokemon Go!"
  3. Select "Install" (Takes between 2 and 10 minutes depending on your internet connection)
  4. Select "Play"
  5. Sign Up with your Gmail or Google+ account, or create a "Trainers" account with a different email.
  6. Think up a Pokemon Trainer name you like, make sure it's not already taken, and then create your account. That's it!

Easy and FREE Sign Up

Signing up and downloading the game was spectacularly easy, actually. Right on par with what I would expect from Niantic, Inc. Ingress never asked for any money to begin playing the game, nor does Pokemon Go. Thankfully, Niantic is in the business of creating addicting interactive games that can be played completely without spending real world money, and that's what they've provided.

Additionally, there's no annoying ads or strange pop-ups to get in the way of your game play. Just you and the distance until your next catch.

Week 1: My Experience

Screen capture of my Pokemon Go! Avatar near my home in Seattle, as I travel around trying to get to level 5..
Screen capture of my Pokemon Go! Avatar near my home in Seattle, as I travel around trying to get to level 5.. | Source

Pokemon Glossary

Avatar - The virtual representation of the player.

Battle - A fight between two trainers using their chosen Pokemon. Battles equal more Experience, coins and prestige.

Bugs - Problems in the game software that are inconvenient or prevent you from playing a part of the game.

Candy - Used to evolve and increase the power of matching pokemon.

Capture - Throwing a Pokeball at a wild pokemon which captures it.

Coins - Virtual currency. Can be won or purchased.

Collection - The different Pokemon in your deck.

CP - The strength of the Pokemon.

Crash - When the game either completely freezes, closes itself, or causes your entire phone to freeze up.

Duplicate - Two or more Pokemon of the same type and evolution.

Dust - Star dust used to power up Pokemon.

Experience "XP" - The measurement of your activities, distance traveled, pokemon captures, battles won, collection size, badges earned, and other achievements.

Hatching - Walking long distances in order to hatch Pokemon eggs.

HP - Health Points.

Hunting - Looking for and capturing Pokemon.

Incense - A strong scent that attracts Pokemon.

Items - Tools, tech, potions, supplies, etc...

Lag - When game play becomes choppy, or freezes because from lack of signal or a large server space.

Leveling - Gaining large amounts of experience at one time, to get your trainer or Pokemon to higher levels faster. This is usually done in groups.

Lucky Eggs - Items that double any experience gained while they're active.

Lures - Devices attached to Poke Stops that attract more Pokemon.

Patch - New features or improvements from developers that come within app updates.

Pokeball - The device used to capture wild Pokemon.

Pokemon - Creatures that you catch, collect, evolve, trade, and use in battle.

Pokemon Eggs - Used to hatch new Pokemon.

Pokemon Evolution - 1 of 3 stages of a Pokemon's evolution. Example: Pidgey evolves into Pidgeotto, who then evolves into it's final form: Pidgeot.

Poke Gym - Where you battle other trainers, gain prestige, and earn coins.

Pokemon Type - Each Pokemon has a type. Example: Water, ground, fire, flying, poison, electric, fairy, etc...

Power Up - Increasing your Pokemon's strength.

Rarity - The availability of different Pokemon.

Throwing - When you toss a pokeball at a Pokemon to capture it.

Trainer - The person playing the game, and the players avatar.

Update - When the game developers offer an app update to fix bugs, and add patches.

Level 5: Here I come!

My initial experience of Pokemon Go! was a slight let down, until I realized that it was just launched worldwide, only a few months ago. My expectations were something on par with third gen Ingress, but instead I found myself arriving into the world of Pokemon Go! at an exciting time -- when they start rolling out updates, and fixing bugs that can only come up when millions of people are playing the game all at the same time. The time when so many people are getting on board with a new gaming fad, that there's tons of other players to meet and hunt with. When I first joined the game Ingress, it was near the end of a big lull, after most of the honeymoon period had worn off. So now I get to be a part of the unique point in a new game when it's all still new, interesting, and more importantly - GROWING.

So, within the first 7 days of downloading and playing Pokemon Go!, I'll admit it, I spent most of my time trying to play it like I played Ingress, which I could do mostly drivebys in my car around my neighborhood. There aren't many concentrated ares with portals close together in my direct neighborhood, so that's what worked best for me in that game (Plus, I'm particularly lazy when it comes to exercise these days). Pokemon Go, on the other hand, has enough differences that it cannot be played in quite the same way. Especially considering the PokeStops are not the biggest ticket in this game, as much as the Pokemon themselves are. I quickly realized that if I wanted more Pokemon, and to actually play the game right, it was going to take more than a few short drives around the neighborhood to catch em' all.

And believe me when I say that sitting around your house all day, is no way to play the game unless you can afford to buy a bunch of extra Incense. Even then, the incense works better when you're walking around. I tested this theory out in several different ways. Just sitting in a chair at my house while using incense, brings in 3 to 5 super common Pokemon. Sitting near an active PokeStop using my incense brought me around ten common Pokemon. Walking around the block nearest to my house while using the incense, brings me 8 to 12 Pokemon, mostly common but a few less common Pokemon as well. Parking my car near a concentrated group of Poke Stops in an active area like a neighborhood community center, brings 6 to 8 Pokemon of different statuses, while using the incense.

Of course, by the time I felt like I had experimented enough with the incense to figure out how to lure in more Pokemon than usual, I ran out of incense. At this point, I really had to sit and think about how much I wanted to play this game. Though instead of my usual battle about whether or not I should be wasting time playing a silly game, the battle in my head was over whether or not I could get my post-surgery body up and moving enough to keep up with other players. The aspect of having something to motivate me to get out and exercise more, was really what won out with this game over others. I already need more exercise, and if it takes a silly AG game to bring me some joy and motivation, then why not use that?

That being said, it still took me a few days before I really got up the gumption to get out into the Poke-World and adventure. Those days weren't wasted though, as I spent as much time as I could, learning about some of the confusing elements of how to play Pokemon Go!

I learned things like:

  • How to dodge Pokemon attacks
  • How to level up my Pokemon Trainer faster
  • How to hatching Pokemon eggs, and which eggs will hatch rarer Pokemon
  • How many kilometers are in a mile
  • How to transfer Pokemon to get extra Pokemon candy
  • Where to find water, fire, earth, air, and electric pokemon types
  • How to connect with other Pokemon trainers on Facebook

I also watched half a dozen YouTube tutorials, mapped out 2 and 5 km distances around my house, and checked out local Poke Stop hotspots. I also took look up a detailed Pokemon type chart the time to learn about common, uncommon, and rare Pokemon. The self-education has definitely been worthwhile.

Leading up to the final days of my first seven days playing Pokemon Go!, are when the adventure really began for me. I usually don't take walks in my direct neighborhood until the autumn mushroom hunting season arrives. The summers are usually spent away from home, at beaches, parks, and other places the kids enjoy. So summertime exploration of my neighborhood on foot, has been a virtually new experience. Niantic and Nintendo definitely deserve extra points for getting me and millions of other American's up on our feet and outside exercising over a simple game. As a fellow gamer once said, "Michelle Obama has been trying for years, and spent over $30,000,000 in taxpayer dollars to do what Niantic did in 48 hours."

To be honest, one of the only big pitfalls that kept me from jumping out and playing more Pokemon Go!, was all in my head. It was the fear of what other people would think about seeing an adult out in the world playing what is commonly referred to as a kids game..."

— ~Every adult who likes playing Pokemon Go!
4.5 stars from 2 ratings of Pokemon Go!
A "Shelldor" Pokemon I caught one night by my house.
A "Shelldor" Pokemon I caught one night by my house. | Source
On occasion, Pokemon Go! will crash or the server will go down right when you've captured a Pokemon. In most cases you can get it back, but sometimes you just lose that Pokemon. This can really suck if it's a Pokemon you've been after for a while.
On occasion, Pokemon Go! will crash or the server will go down right when you've captured a Pokemon. In most cases you can get it back, but sometimes you just lose that Pokemon. This can really suck if it's a Pokemon you've been after for a while. | Source
Screen shot of my first weeks Pokedex
Screen shot of my first weeks Pokedex | Source

Thankfully, that fear was abated fairly quickly after I met a few neighbors on my first evening out hunting. It turns out, Pokemon Go! is definitely not just for kids, as is perfectly natural to think. In fact, most of the neighbors and other players I've so far met in my north Seattle neighorhood, are over 30. I'm not sure what that says about the world on whole, but I know as far as I'm concerned, I need a little more stress-free fun in my life. Right now, Pokemon Go is providing that, at no cost to me except a little time that I'd probably be spending on the couch.

Though even with many fantastic experiences during my first week playing, within the days I spent out in the world playing Pokemon Go, I found several bugs in the system that lowered my enjoyment level of the game, and almost turned me away. The first bug is one where my Augmented Reality feature doesn't work properly. I can turn on the feature, and even fight the Pokemon, though I cannot see them in on my screen. As I quickly learned, not all phones are compatible. This is something to be aware of before you play. It turns out that my phone is compatible in terms of software, though it's old enough that Niantic hasn't rolled out any fixes yet. This means that I can do everything that others can do in the game except for taking pictures of Pokemon in the wild, or fighting them using the AR feature. It's not a serious gameplay blocker, though it takes away from one of the main features of this game genre. Something I sincerely hope is fixed.

Other pesky bugs that popped up within the first week were things like:

  • The Pokedex only showing Charazard, no matter which Pokemon I selected.
  • Losing in-game sound effects and music whenever my phone received email notifications.
  • The game lagging whenever a Pokemon appeared near me.
  • Being unable to see the Shop or Items when using only WiFi.
  • Losing GPS signal in areas where it's always been strong.

By the time I'd been playing for 7 days, I finally achieved Level 5, opening me up to the world of Poke Gym's, easier leveling for my trainer, and an even higher level of Pokemon to catch.

Overall, I'd give Pokemon Go a 4 star rating. The graphics are great, the game play is fantastic, and the functionality is great considering the brand new genre of gaming and that the game was just released. If they had included a small story plot, a chat room, a friends list, and fixed the Augmented Reality bug for older smart phones, I would happily give them 5 stars for a freaking amazing mobile game.

All in all, Pokemon Go! is an absolutely inspiring start to what I hope will be a new line of Augmented Reality games for mobile phones.


No Tutorial?!?

How to Play Pokemon Go!

How to Throw a Pokeball

Yes, that's right, there no tutorial programmed into the game itself, at least not in the traditional or expected sense.

I know, it's a little bizarre, especially for an Augmented Reality game, which is a whole new genre of mobile gaming for billions of people all over the world. You would think that Niantic, or at very least Nintendo would have wanted to throw in at least a brief tutorial for the millions of people who are just now learning about both Pokemon, and Augmented Reality games.

That being said, Pokemon Go! is certainly not a difficult game to learn how to play. They've made the whole thing so user friendly, that it's leaves pro-type AR gamers feeling a bit jilted from such a huge AAA game title. Though obviously they're not upset enough to stop playing. Thanks to the modern ability to patch in game add-on's, fixes, and features; it's only a simple matter of submitting suggestions to Niantic to get them added.

Additionally, there are already tons of thoughtful Trainers who have felt your pain, and created great tutorial videos that you can use to quickly get over whatever learning curve you're starting with. I've added several of them to the left of this text.

Depending on you're level of natural game play intuition, you'll want to consider looking for tutorials on things like:

  • How to use a PokeStop
  • How to use a PokeGym
  • How to Throw a PokeBall
  • How to Capture Pokemon
  • How to Evolve my Pokemon
  • How to Hatch a Pokemon Egg
  • What to do with Duplicate Pokemon
  • How to meet other Pokemon Trainers

How to Battle in the Pokemon Gym

Pokemon Go! - Pro's and Con's



This game can become highly addictive and distracting. As a general layer of caution, try and make sure you're not playing this game while:

  • Driving
  • Operating heavy machinery
  • Working at your job
  • Watching children
  • Handling Sharp or Fragile Objects
  • Crossing a busy street
  • Hiking near cliffs
  • You're heavily intoxicated

Obviously, a healthy dose of common sense should be all you need. Be aware of your surrounds, who you're with, and what frame of mind you're in. Do this, and there shouldn't be any reason you're not always having a great time playing Pokemon Go.

"Constant Vigilance!" cried Mad-Eye Moody in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
"Constant Vigilance!" cried Mad-Eye Moody in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire | Source

Common Sense Stranger Danger Avoidance Strategies

How to avoid stranger danger:

  1. Travel in pairs or packs of people whenever possible.
  2. If you're under 18, don't go hunting without an adult present or at least aware of what you're doing, and have a plan for communicating with your parents while you're out.
  3. If you're a parent, no matter how old they are, don't let you're child go hunting alone in new areas unless you're nearby, they're with a group of friends you trust, or you have a plan for communicating with them while they're hunting.
  4. If you are going hunting alone or with only one other person, make sure someone else knows what you're doing and where you're going to be hunting. Make sure they're available to receive texts or calls from you at any time while you're out, and that they are aware they need to respond and be watching for your communication.
  5. Make sure your phone has a full battery, and that you have your charger with you, and preferably an extra fully-charged phone battery.
  6. Try and meet as many other players in the areas you hunt in, so that you're able to recognize anyone who has placed a lure on Poke Stops. If you see a new lure from an unknown trainer, that's not a reason to freak out or necessarily avoid the Poke Stop, but it is a good reason to be cautious. It's also an extra good reason to check in with any nearby trainers who might be open to going with you to the Poke Stop, or meeting you there.
  7. Follow your intuition, if something doesn't feel right, don't go -- or leave quickly. We've all experienced those times when the hairs on the backs of our neck raise up, and our arms get covered in goosebumps. Sometimes you just know when something isn't right. This is your subconscious's only way of alerting you to danger nearby when you cannot directly see it. If you experience this, leave the area or don't travel to it in the first place. Trust me, there's always another lure or time to level up.
  8. Leave your valuables at home, and travel light. It's better game play that way anyways.
  9. In crowds, keep your phone in your hand and close to your body to avoid it being taken out of your hand.
  10. In crowds, make sure any backpacks, bags, purses, or wallets are securely closed, or hidden and not easy to access.
  11. If you live in or travel to any high crime areas, consider carrying mase, pepper-spray, a small tazer, a whistle, or another form of legal protection just in case you need it.

Screenshot of the message that Niantic displays whenever Pokemon Go's server crashes.
Screenshot of the message that Niantic displays whenever Pokemon Go's server crashes. | Source
Screenshot of one of the cutest Pokemon I caught in my first week; Oddish!
Screenshot of one of the cutest Pokemon I caught in my first week; Oddish! | Source

I've found some definite pluses and drawbacks to playing Pokemon Go. You might experience them in your life as well, or you might not, it all depends on your lifestyle and circumstances.


  1. Exercise - Obviously everyone is going to have different elements they favor, but for me, this is the best part. I need to get out more to exercise, lose weight, get my post-surgery ankle in shape, and just not be such a couch potato. What stops me? I can't read or do anything particularly fun while walking around, and I cannot afford to go somewhere more interesting to walk around. So far, in just the first week with Pokemon Go, I've walked 8 km just going around the block a few times a day as I'm able to.
  2. Sunlight & Fresh Air - Niantic was brilliant to release this game in the middle of the summer, whether they did it on purpose or not. Most games are released in the autumn, which works since most people stop being so adventurous in the fall when it's time to hangout inside more because of the weather. With Pokemon Go, you want to be outside hunting, and that means lots of time spent in the fresh summery air. Heck, this might even be a great weapon against Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) that people in cities like Seattle often combat because of a lack of year round sunshine, and too much stress.
  3. Meeting New People - Another fantastic plus to this game, is that it gives people an excuse to say hello to a new person. So far, I've met five new neighbors of varying ages, schedules, and adventurousness. I've also met at least a dozen fellow Seattlite's near different parks, community centers, and interesting landmarks. So far none of them have been scary axe murderers, and all of them have been happy to trade tips and fun stories.
  4. Ease - Nintendo has been going with a theme of "user friendly" games over highly complex games, so that they can capture the attention of more potential players. In this instance, it's definitely paid off. Despite a slight learning curve without an internal tutorial mode, Pokemon Go is still exceptionally easy to play.
  5. All Ages - Unlike many games that are set for certain ages or cultures of users, this game in particular is one of those all-ages, all generations, all-cultures, all-inclusive sort of games.
  6. Free to Play - As said above, so long as you already have a smart phone and a plan with it, then there's no reason for this game to cost you one single red penny if you don't want it to. Unless you fall to the temptation of buying coins, incense, lures, or other fun devices, then you can catch 'em all without it cost you everything.
  7. Excitement - Honestly, I'm not sure which element is more exciting; getting to play a game that's going to continue to grow, improve, and become more amazing; or wondering what rare Pokemon or cool new people might be just around the block. Either way, it's absolutely exciting!


  1. It's Addictive - This was a hard one to label as a con, but it definitely has to go here. While addictiveness is largely a plus for most gamers, when you're an adult with responsibilities and all that nonsense, you cannot spend all your time wondering around the city looking for Pokemon; no matter how much you may wish to. Addictiveness can also become a major pitfall with the news highlighting adults playing the game while driving which is NOT a good idea. So just keep in mind that while it's great to want to enjoy the full extent of this awesome game, it can become a crutch like anything else. When you decide to play, you must take into consideration the times when it's NOT appropriate to play.
  2. Stranger Danger - Sadly, Murphy's Law is strong in this universe, and that means that anything that can go wrong, probably will. That also means that no good thing comes without a cost. In this instance, the most common cost is not in money, it's in constant vigilance. There have already been rumors and reports of an occasional teenager or adult using the game for nefarious purposes. Please keep in mind that this is NOT the norm, and most people are just like you, and are going to be nothing more than awesome new aquaintances. What this does mean, however, is that you need to be aware that there are going to be some folks who are not okay. These folks are not beholden to common stereotypes of only being out at night in creepy alley ways. They could be anyone, any time of day, and in any place. They could be one person, or a group of individuals.
  3. Money Adds Up - While the game can be played without spending any money, even as a person who generally detests spending money on frivilous things, I have still found myself wanting to spend a few bucks here or there to get ahead or have a little more fun in the game. This has been especially true for me when it comes to getting Incense or Lures. Ordinarily, I'd just walk further or be out longer to level up, but with my current physical limitations and time constraints, I need to maximize what little time I have, when I have it. By using Incense, preferably in combination with a lure, I'm able to capture 4 times the Pokemon I would be able to otherwise, and I can do it within a small radius from my home, making it easier to get back home before my leg hurts too much, or if I'm needed by my partner right away. Now, a few dollars here or there wouldn't be a bad thing. The part I'm especially cautious of, is when those few dollars here or there snowballs into a few hundred here or there. Now, I'm not so worried about myself in this situation, as I don't have enough money throughout the month to put into any game, no matter how good. Though I'm concerned for fellow gamers, teens, or anyone whose not great at budgeting. It's easy for a dollar or two here or there, to turn into $10 or $20 every other day. Remain vigilant, and try not to get so wrapped up into catching Pokemon or leveling up that you spend away any money you needed.
  4. Crashes & Bugs - Keep in mind that Pokemon Go! is a game is that is still in development. Right now in particular, there are plenty of bugs, and lots of crashing. Most of the time these bugs and crashes will be minor inconveniences, like the global server crash or the too many pidgey's bug. Though there are probably going to be a few times when something more serious happens with the game, where you'll need to get a hold of Niantic and wait for them to fix it before you can play. Issues like these are kind of the nature of the beast when you get into next-gen video games. It's not all bad, but things like these certainly don't add to the value of the game.
  5. Mobility Issues - Unlike most players, I'm still healing from ankle surgery a few months ago. In addition to this, I also suffering from consistent low back pain, mostly from my job. I'm not alone in dealing with physical challenges, and it's important to note that for those of us with certain physical concerns, this game does take it's toll. Now, if you're in a similar position to myself, then the benefits of getting out and exercising while playing the game, far outweigh the drawbacks. The more I exercise, the better I feel overall. Yes, there's some residual pain from it, but I would be feeling much of the same pain from sitting around anyways. At least I can feel like I achieved something good for myself, even if it was just catching some weird looking virtual creatures. That being said, playing this game often means traveling long distances by foot, being out around germ-carrying humans, being in the sunlight, and travelling off the beaten path. If you are experiencing any physical challenges or conditions that require you to avoid any of these elements, this game might not be for you. At least not yet.
  6. Battery Drainage - As with most fantastically addictive games, Pokemon Go! is a battery vampire. It will suck the fully-charged life-blood out of your cell phone battery in very little time. This is bad for both your general game play enjoyment, as well as for your cell phone battery. Overtime the fast drainage takes a toll on your mortal battery, requiring you to replace it before it's time.
  7. Distraction - When you're trying to write fantastic hubs and articles, or you're at work, and all you can think about is catching that Meowth, or you keep humming that silly little tune the game plays when you start it up -- you're distracted. By this time, you've gotten hooked on Pokemon Go, and that can absolutely become a large distraction. As humans, we're genetically wired to seek out pleasurable experiences, especially when we're experiencing stress or boredom. It make absolute sense, and it's not something I have any fantastic tips to help you avoid. It's definitely a downfall to this game. Obviously it's the side effect of it being such an awesome game, but it doesn't add value to it, when you find yourself unable to stay focused on more important task in your life, regardless of how much less fun they are.
  8. Data Drain - If you don't have a cell phone plan that comes with unlimited data, this game can cost you in data minutes on your phone plan. Niantic has done a fairly good job of allowing the game to be mostly operational on Wi-Fi alone, but it's not 100% effective. You will end up using up a sizable amount more of your data minutes than you would doing anything other than watching YouTube videos. The best way to avoid this is to try and play in populated areas that offer free long range WiFi and are near a few Poke Stops. Many malls, libraries, zoo's, and other public venues offer this sort of setup, and can help you avoid data overage charges if you play frequently.

Screenshot of a Beedrill Pokemon right before I caught it!
Screenshot of a Beedrill Pokemon right before I caught it! | Source

Suggestions for New Trainers

As a new trainer, there are many things you're going to need to learn. As someone who has only played for a few weeks now, I know there are some suggestions I can offer to those of you who are brand new trainers, though being newer myself means that I can only offer so much information until I learn more. So until those updates come, here are my suggestions for brand new pokemon trainers:

General Tips

  • Research & Learn - Check out as many Pokemon videos as you need to in order to in order to become a Pokemon Master. Read other hubs and articles that can teach you unique tips and tricks.
  • Make Friends - Not only is this good for your general mental health, it's great for your game play. I've learned more just from talking to other players than I have from doing my own research.
  • Undivided Attention - Try and reserve yourself to playing when you can put your full attention into the game. If you're stuck at home, busy with the kids, at work, or doing something else important, it's best to wait until you have some free time to go for a walk and really enjoy the full effect of the game.
  • Report Bugs & Other Issues Quickly! - The more you report bugs to the developers, the sooner they're aware of the bug and just how many people are effected by it. The more you do this for bugs you experience, the higher priority they're likely to be given, and the sooner they're be fixed.
  • Get to Level 5 Quickly - One of the main actions of the game is battling in the gyms to gain prestige and to win over the gym's for your team. The sooner you can get to level 5, the sooner you can battle int he gyms.
  • Travel - Walk in as many different environments as you can. Different Pokemon can be found near water than you'll find in forests, just as large grassy meadows will hold different types than industrial areas. Try them all out to get newer and rarer Pokemon for your collection.

Incense & Lure Suggestions:

  • If you're stuck in one location and you just have to play for a while, use some Incense to attract Pokemon to you.
  • The BEST combination for attracting Pokemon is to place a Lure on a Poke Stop and then throw out some Incense. This gives you double the attraction power and twice as many Pokemon to catch.
  • The best way to use Incense is when you're out walking. It attracts Pokemon who might otherwise be hiding in a neighbors yard, behind a private building, or somewhere else that you don't want to trespass. It also makes it so that you can pretty much just walk down the street and run into Pokemon.
  • Lures are a great way to meet active trainers in the neighborhood. If they like to play as much as you do, they'll see the lure you've placed on the poke stop and cautiously approach. This makes a great time to say hello, and share your user names so that neither of you has to be as cautious the next time you put up a lure.

Suggestions for quickly getting your trainer to level 5:

  • Keep those Pidgey's! - Don't immediately transfer your lower CP or duplicate Pokemon. It's easy to think that by transferring them quickly you can save space, and get more candy. Though if you save them and evolve them at least one evolution before transferring them, you get a great deal more XP than you would if you transfer them before they have been evolved. Evolving Pokemon earns the highest experience before you're allowed to start battling in the gyms. Use this to your advantage and get up to level 5 faster by evolving more Pokemon before you set them free.
  • Spin Your Pokeball - When you spin your pokeball before throwing it, you earn extra experience points. The sooner you build XP, the sooner you get to level 5!
  • Don't Save Your Dust - Once you're past level five, you're going to want to save your Dust for your best Pokemon to battle with. Though until then, you're goal is to get to the level that allows you to battle in the gyms in the first place; which is level 5. To do this faster, you need to more experience, and every little bit helps. So if you're at the end of your hunt, and you have 200 bits of dust you can spend powering up your Jigglypuff, than do it. You can get more dust when you go on your next hunt, and you'll already be that much closer to the next highest level.
  • Hatch Eggs! - Niantic has given high priority to the part of the game that gets you exercising the most - Egg Hatching. In order to do this, you need to walk a min of 2 km, and so far, a maximum of 15 kms. Doing so offers you large doses of experience, and new Pokemon -- some of which are very rare in the wild.
  • Hatch & Evolve - Another fantastic tip, is to evolve all your little Pokemon while you're doing your egg hatching walks using a lucky egg. Hatching lucky eggs gives you double the xp you would normally gain. Use it wisely!
  • Play A.S.A.P, - In this instance, I mean "As Often As Possible". The more you play, the more experience you gain, the sooner you get to level 5.

A "Ponyta" Pokemon that galloped right up to my house while I was using a lure. Definitely a rare but welcome find! Ponyta has always been one of my favorites!
A "Ponyta" Pokemon that galloped right up to my house while I was using a lure. Definitely a rare but welcome find! Ponyta has always been one of my favorites! | Source


To be absolutely honest, you don't need any accessories to play this game. Though they are out there, and they're designed to either enhance your experience, or to allow you play longer. Check out accessories like:

  • Wireless Bluetooth headsets
  • Extra Cell Phone batteries
  • Mobile Power Banks or Battery Chargers
  • Team T-Shirts, Decals, or Hats
  • Pepper Spray, Whistles, or Mace
  • Light up pokeball badges for kids
  • Flagger Vests or Reflective Stickers
  • Pokemon franchise Belts
  • Shock Protective Cell Phone Case
  • GoChat - An app that allows you to communicate with other players outside of the game
  • Ash Ketchum Hats
  • Water Bottle
  • Flashlights
  • Sunscreen
  • Local Maps

Updates and Add-On's

Screenschot of a Magikarp water type Pokemon.
Screenschot of a Magikarp water type Pokemon. | Source

Before any cool additions are brought into the picture, what most Pokemon Go! Players really want to see from Niantic is Bug Fixes, Fast Server Repairs, a BIGGER Server, and smoother gameplay over all.

What Pokemon Go Players want Niantic to add

I know Niantic and Nintendo are always on the look out for insights into their customers minds. So in this section, let's talk about what I and many other Pokemon Go players have been crying out for in future Pokemon Go! updates. Hopefully Niantic will take in some of our suggestions.

  • Local Chat Room - If Ingress can have a live local chat room, there's no logical reason Pokemon Go can't have it, and no reason it shouldn't.
  • Friends lists - Who doesn't want to be able to reach out to other local players you meet while you're out playing? At very least, if they're on the same team that you are, you should be able to communicate with them when you're not standing right next to them. How else will you know when it's time to go on a raid?
  • Friends locator - This one might be a bit too radical considering that bad people could use it for their nefarious desires, but it would be nice if Niantic could come up with a way for us to see each other. It doesn't even have to show screen names. Just little blips on the screen that show team colors or something, so that you can find friendly team mates while they're on their games too.
  • Fighting Wild Pokemon - One thing I expected when I first installed Pokemon Go, was that I would be using the Pokemon in my collection to wear down wild Pokemon before being able to capture them. Right now, you just throw the pokeball at wild Pokemon until you've captured them. Occasionally you get a tougher one that dodges your throws, or pops back out of the ball, but really, it's leaves too much to be desired. It'd be nice if I could call upon Charmander or Pidgeotto to come and subdue that pesky Zubat so I can catch it easier. It would take up more server space, but it would be a welcome addition if we at least had the option to fight wild Pokemon.
  • More Incense and Lures from poke stops - I understand this is of the only ways that Niantic makes any money from trainers, though it would still be nice to see at least a few more incense and lures tossed out from time to time. I'm lucky if I see one incense from every 25 poke stops. It'd be nice if that was either 3 incense every 25, or 1 in every 10 poke stops.
  • I'd like to see an option to "submit new poke stop or gyms" option, similar to what they have in Ingress when you want to submit a new portal.
  • Local Poke Gym alerts - If an opposing team is about to take down a gym in my area that is currently taken by my team, I'd like to know, especially if I have any Pokemon at those gyms.

Common Answers to Questions About Pokemon Go!

A "Poke Stop" at St James Cathederal in Edmonds, Wa.
A "Poke Stop" at St James Cathederal in Edmonds, Wa. | Source

How do I use a Poke Stop?

  • When you are close enough to the Poke Stop, swipe your finger across the circular image in the middle of the screen. When the circular image starts to spin, it will spit out bubbles with different things like Pokeballs and Raspberries. Pop the bubbles to take the items. Poke Stops will refresh every five minutes or so and you can use them as many times as you like.

How do I find Pokemon?

  • Walk around in parks, near landmarks, at community centers, at malls, or just around your neighborhood. They will appear on your phone.

How do I find uncommon and rare Pokemon?

  • Go to unusual places that you wouldn't normally think to look. Hatch more eggs with longer hatching distances. Play more often. Use lures and incense whenever possible.

How do I pick a team?

  • When your trainer reaches level 5, go to the nearest poke gym and click on it. Before you can do any battles, it will ask you what team you want to join; Mystic (Blue), Instinct (Yellow), or Valor (Red).

How do I change teams?

  • Once you pick a team, the only way to change teams is to create an entirely new profile and start your game play over again, so choose wisely!

Where can I find other people in my area who play Pokemon Go?

  • The best way to find others who play in your neighborhood, is to get out and play the game! Go to a nearby park or landmark, and you'll find other players. Though if you live in a moral rural area, or you want to find even more players, go onto Facebook and search for Pokemon Go! groups in your area (Ex: "Pokemon Go! North Seattle"). Additionally, by placing lures on poke stops and hanging out is generally a good way to meet a few local players.

What does it mean when the "server crashes"?

  • If you are ever shown a page in the game that says the server is too busy, or that you should come back and try to play later, this means that the server used to host the game around the world is experiencing an overload from too many people trying to play all at once. Usually these issues are quickly fixed, but on occasion they go down for more than 24 hours.

How do I find Pikachu?

  • In theory, you should be able to find Pikachu in any location that you would think to find an electric type Pokemon. That being said, I have yet to hear of anyone actually catching one in the wild, even though he shouldn't be that uncommon. So if you're really jonesing for a Pikachu in your collection, the best place to find him is in the beginning of the game when you're choosing a starter Pokemon. When you are initially offered three options, walk away from them and head in a different direction. Eventually you'll run into three more pokemon. Keep walking away until you are offered Pikachu as one of your three starting choices.

How do I attack other Pokemon in the gym?

  • Once you've entered a battle with another Pokemon, you want to tap the opposing Pokemon with your finger. This is how you tell your Pokemon to attach the opposing Pokemon. Once you've attacked enough times, you should be able to press and hold for a few seconds to attack with your Pokemon's special attack.

Pokemon Go! News, Rumors and Updates

As of July 2016

  • Pokemon Go! Plus Headset - This is supposed to be a unique headset designed specifically for playing Pokemon Go, that allows you to capture Pokemon and other items without looking. It has not be released yet, but many die-hard players are keeping an eye out for it, especially since it's designed to allow those who are driving or riding a bicycle to play the game without needing to look at the screen.
  • More Pokemon - Right now there are somewhere between 250 and 350 Pokemon that are available to catch. Niantic is already talking about releasing more, especially from newer generation Pokemon.
  • Pokemon Trading - The CEO of Niantic has indicated in several interviews that Trading Pokemon with other players inside the game, is definitely a future patch. The only thing he hasn't indicated is exactly when that update will arrive. The best guesses are between 2 weeks and 3 months.
  • Leaderboards - For players who like to see how they rank against other players, there is definite indication that leader boards will be patched in soon too.
  • Friends list - There have been whispered rumors that when Niantic rolls out the Pokemon trading option, that they will also offer a basic friends list so you can keep in contact with your new friends.
  • Raids - If other rumors are true, developers will soon add-on Raids as another feature to the game. This is where multiple trainers will need to go after a super powerful Pokemon together in order to defeat and capture it.
  • Trainers Club Lock Out - A recent update was launched on July 16th that was partially meant to tighten up security within the app, but instead resulted in a lock out for iPhone users who signed up using the Trainers Account option. Niantic is working on a fix for this as we speak.

Tell me about your experiences!

How was your first week playing? Are you hooked or totally done with it? Do you have any news or updates other players might want to know? Or maybe you see something I've experienced that's been fixed or figured out? Whatever it is, tell us about your experiences with this crazy new game in the comments section below!


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