Arts & Entertainment

Lessons Learned Playing Pokémon Go

July 9, 2016

The highly anticipated release of ‘Pokémon Go’ has hit your favorite app store earlier this week and millennials everywhere are rejoicing/practicing really unsafe walking habits. Pretty much everyone I know born between 1985 & 1995 have been reliving their childhood with Pokémon, which I would argue is one of the greatest influences of our generation. It truly crossed race/class/gender/age lines of childhood—I remember being a 7 year old at the bus stop trading Pokémon cards with kids older than me and younger than me (not to mention this was the first time I would entertain the idea of playing with boys). This piece of 90s nostalgia is better than the resurgence of flannel/floral/Blink 182’s recent album. It is bridging those same gaps and bringing people together.

Since its release earlier this week, I’ve learned a lot—both tips for enhancing game play and life lessons. Of course I don’t know anything, so I’ve enlisted the help of my Pokémon Go group chat (titled ‘Team Rocket’. I am not kidding) to get some of their tips and tricks too.

Be careful.


You will walk into something at least once. I tripped over nothing but the sidewalk yesterday. The sidewalk. Remain alert and stay woke. I use the same rule of thumb that I just learned in driver’s ed: don’t look down for more than one second. I’ve calculated that to be about 3 or 4 steps, depending on how fast I’m walking. One second is typically enough to make sure I’m not about to slam into a person/traffic/etc. Also, if it is late, grab a buddy. Last night I could see a Meowth in my neighborhood around midnight. I had to fight every impulse in my body to not walk around Baltimore City alone at midnight with my iPhone out in the open. But I remembered to be reasonable and save and maybe that wasn’t a great idea. I still don’t have a Meowth tho so 😑. My friend Mike seems  to think people will die playing this game (he has said it 3 times already). I’m a bit more optimistic, but I guess that just stresses the importance of safety.

Don’t Pokemon Go & drive! 

pokemon go car crash meme

I have this in a separate section from ‘Be Careful’ because I really need you to hear me. Just don’t do it. Now I don’t drive but I know it is not safe, and multiple people in my Team Rocket group chat who all drive also gave this advice. Just put your phone down. What you can do is leave your app open, if you have eggs incubating your drive time counts as km traveled.

You will kill your battery life.


Seriously. Just expect it. I took the bus one day from home to work. Left my house at 100%, got to work with 53%. I have a 45 minute bus ride. So yeah…this might be the time to invest in an external battery for your iPhone. Utilize lower power mode as much as possible, available in the app. Also, you will probably blow through your data as well.

You’ll become way more active.


My co-worker Susie said it best: “I learned that I really hate moving but will walk around in hot ass summer to catch childhood monsters”. No matter how inactive you think you are, you’ll get your ass off the couch because there’s a damn Butterfree in your neighborhood and the little bitch ran away last time you tried to catch it. My friend Haylie has gone on 3 mile walks just to see what she can catch. I’ve started going out of my way to walk more. On Thursday, I got off the bus 7 stops before my stop and walked the 10 blocks home. Yesterday, I left my house 20 minutes before I needed to just so I could do a loop around my neighborhood. I kind of wish I was kidding but also whatever, I’m getting my steps in.

But remember active does NOT mean productive.


Although you’ll get creative and start exploring more, you may find yourself skirting your everyday responsibilities. Remember to go to work. Remember to eat dinner and take a shower. Remember to write that blog post your promised your business parters you’d write (no matter how close that Psyduck is).

Have a support system. 

pokemon go squad

Or as my friend Aaron puts it, “have a squad group chat for your training adventures”. In addition to Team Rocket, I also work with ~85% millennials so also have all of them to lean on. Questions will come up and you will want someone to lean on to give you some good information. Here’s a Facebook group I was invited to for players in Maryland. (PS: you can totally add this post to your list of resources. If you have a game-play question, I’ll answer it and will outsource the answer if I’m not totally sure).

13620281_273373039693130_252307564532520679_nTake a buddy with you on some of your more adventurous quests. If I’d had a Poké-buddy, I could’ve gone exploring to find that Meowth the other night! Also, the more people in an area, the more Pokémon the game brings to that area, so group exploring is totally encouraged.

Somethings aren’t what you’d expect.

Pokémon use stardust and candies to evolve and power up. When you catch a Pokémon, they come with a certain amount of species-specific candies and general stardust (can be used for any Pokémon). These candies are used to help Pokémon get stronger but also to evolve them. The more Pokémon of one type you collect, the more candies and stardust you get. So go ahead and catch that 25th Pidgey, you’re that much closer to your dreams of owning a Pidgeot. Except Eevee. Eevee is a little betch and evolves on her own 😑. You also can’t interact with other people really, although I’m hoping this changes.

You’ll want to throw your phone.


You will become all-too familiar with the friendly ‘our servers our down, sorry’ message even though they don’t look fucking sorry in that picture. Also, why is Magnemite even there????? You’ll get pissed when a Pokémon runs away from you after you’ve wasted 15 Pokéballs on catching them.


You also may start to resent the people around you.

pokemon go meme

Hearing about victories of people catching Growlithe and you’ve just seen your 50th Zubat of the day. Its tough to not be a little jel of everyone but just know that you’re about to catch a Clefairy and then they’ll be jealous.

You’ll explore uncharted territory.

pokemon go meme

A teen in Wisconsin stumbled upon a dead body. People are exploring college campuses, parks, and using public transportation because these seem like ways to get even more Pokémon. Just you know, don’t trespass and you’ll be fine. And alert the authorities if you find a dead body.

pokemon go spongebob meme

I think my friend Becca sums it up best when she said: “what’s so awesome is how much this game is bringing people together. I’ve heard nothing but stories of strangers coming together which is awesome”. She also thinks gaming is heading in this direction. And that is also pretty cool. I’ve talked more about Pokémon in the past 72 hours than I have in the prior 15 years. I forgot how big Pokémon was in my life, and I am grateful

Are you playing Pokémon Go? What is some of the most valuable advice you’ve received? What questions do you have?


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