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Kids React – E3 2018: Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu! Trailer!

E3 2018 is over and the EFG Staff has gone out of our way to share OUR thoughts. But, we wanted to reach out to some kids and see their thoughts!

 

Evan – 12 years old

Pokemon is awesome. I think We’re going to get Pokemon Lets go Pikachu. A lot fo the things I have to say about this one I already said on the podcast, Integrating Pokemon go into the core RPG style sounds pretty cool.

 

Jacob – 9 years old

It’s kind of like Pokemon Go and a normal Pokemon game all in one. I’m sad that the Pokemon catching is different from a normal Pokemon game. The Pokeball Plus looks cool! I hope we get one!

 

Brynne – 8 Years old

I really, really, really, really, really, really, really like Pokemon. The Pokeball Plus is a real pokeball where you can put a Pokemon in it and take it with you!

 

Jeremiah – 9 years old

Boring.

 

Asher – 7 years old (From The Family Gamers!)

It feels like you walk into the Pokemon world and you go to the doctor and they give you your starting Pokemon. But it’s always Mew before you get there. It’s really cool. I like the Pokeball and that you get an actual ball and can have Mew.

 

Claire – 9 years old (From The Family Gamers!)

Can we get it?

 

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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The Pokemon Company Announces New Games for 2018!

The Pokemon Company has announced Pokemon: Let’s Go Pikachu!, Pokemon: Let’s Go Eevee!, and Pokemon Quest during a press conference in Japan.

Tuesday night started quiet enough. I was driving home from my sister’s house when I got a frantic phone call from a friend. They told me to pull over and watch a trailer for a new video game. They were being coy (and kind of annoying if I’m being honest), but it is E3 season so I pulled over at a local gas station and pulled up the trailer on my phone. It took a matter of seconds for my emotional state to go from mildly annoyed and sleepy to full hype mode.

They announced a new Pokemon game. The funniest part about the whole thing is that they had already told everyone that a Pokemon game would be coming in 2018. So, I knew, but it just didn’t feel right until I *knew*.

Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokemon: Let’s Go, Eevee!

These are two versions of a game that has been heavily inspired by Pokemon Yellow. Players control a young Pokemon Trainer who partners with either Pikachu or Eevee to go on an adventure in the Kanto Region.

The key features in the new game are as follows:

Pikachu and Eevee

“Explore the iconic Kanto region like never before. You can embark on your adventure together with Pikachu as your partner in Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! or choose Eevee as your partner when you play Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee!”

Play in a whole new way

“Experience intuitive controls by using your Joy-Con to throw Poké Balls at wild Pokémon you encounter. Need some help? Your friend can grab a second Joy-Con to join in on the fun and even boost the chances of catching Pokémon for the first-ever collaborative gameplay in a Pokémon RPG.”

Play even when on the GO

“Connect your game for Nintendo Switch with the mobile game sensation Pokémon GO. Players can capture a Pokémon originally discovered in the Kanto region in Pokémon GO and transfer it into their Pokemon: Let’s Go Pikachu! or Pokemon: Let’s Go Eevee! adventure.”

Have a ball

“Take your Pokémon journey to a whole new level with the Poké Ball Plus. More than just a controller, the Poké Ball Plus features motion controls, lights up with a variety of colors, vibrates, and plays sounds. When catching a Pokémon in the game, you will be able to feel it moving within the Poké Ball Plus. The Poké Ball Plus also works as a Pokémon GO Plus for those playing Pokémon GO. Using the Poké Ball Plus, you can bring one of your Pokémon from Pokemon: Let’s Go Pikachu! or Pokemon: Let’s Go Eevee! with you as you explore the real world, even when you’re not playing the game. Additionally, you can receive a variety of rewards once Pokémon are returned to the Nintendo Switch games.”

Release Date

The games will be released on November 16th, 2018 (just in time for the holidays)!

Pokemon Quest

Pokemon Quest is a free-to-start action RPG that where you get to play with adorable, cube-shaped Pokemon! You explore Tumblecube island with your new friends to find hidden treasure!

Pokemon Quest is available on Nintendo Switch right now, but will be coming to mobile devices this summer.

The key features are listed below:

Familiar Friends

The Pokémon you know and love from Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue inhabit Tumblecube Island, become your buddies, and appear on your adventures.

Power up

Use Power Stones you find on expeditions to help your Pokémon improve their moves and change their characteristics. Power up your favorite Pokémon in your own unique way!

Battle by tapping

The simple controls make for lively and fun battles! Danger is lurking, so you’ll need the help of your Pokémon team on your expeditions. When wild Pokémon appear, your Pokémon will battle ferociously to try and knock them out one after another!

Befriend Pokémon to make your own unique team

You can use the items you get from your expeditions to befriend more Pokémon or make your Pokémon stronger. Cook up dishes that Pokémon love, and you’ll befriend more of them. Create a team that’s all your own and head out on more expeditions!

Basecamp decorations

Your base camp is your home for this adventure, and you can spruce it up however you like with decorations that look good and also provide in-game benefits.

What do you think? Are you picking up any of these games? Sound off in the comments!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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Nintendo Logo

Nintendo posted a new Nintendo Direct video today. It was approximately a half hour long and featured games for both the Switch and 3DS. All of the games they discussed are currently planned for a 2018 release (with one exception). Take a look below for all of the big announcements!

The Nintendo Direct Video

The Nintendo 3DS

Wario Ware Gold

I have been wanting a Wario Ware game on the Switch for a while. Unfortunately, I’m not getting one. But, we are getting one for the 3DS. Wario Ware Gold is going to include over 300 mini games which makes it the biggest game in the franchise.

Dillon’s Dead Heat Breakers 

I have no idea what this game is about. It appears to be a sci-fi combat racer with some other combat elements. I like the aesthetic. It feels like a cross between Star Fox and Mad Max. We’ll have to wait and see.

Bowser’s Inside Story

Bowser’s Inside Story is a part of the Mario and Luigi series. It involves a giant Bowser and the Mario brothers adventures inside his body. Its like a cheeky role playing game version of Inner Space. It was a big hit when it released in 2009. I think it is a great time for it to be re-released with a fresh coat of paint. In fact, it will include Bowser Jr.s Story. This will be a separate adventure that will explain what happened in the Koopa Kingdom during the events of the main game.

Detective Pikachu!

Detective Pikachu is nothing new. Its been available in Japan for a while. There is even a movie coming out starring Ryan Reynolds (No. I’m not joking.) The big announcement here is that is is available for digital pre-purchase starting today. The game will be released on March 23rd.

Luigi’s Mansion

Luigi’s Mansion is a well-loved game from the GameCube era. It was one of the first games to feature Luigi as more than just a sidekick. The 3DS already has a sequel to the ghost-dustbusting adventure in Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, but this is a full on re-make of the original.

The Nintendo Switch

Kirby Star Allies

Kirby Star Allies launches on March 16th, looks gorgeous, and features up to four-player multiplayer action. It was featured in the direct so they could announce Dream Friends; characters and villains from other Kirby games that can accompany you on your quest.

Okami HD

Okami HD is one of the most beautiful games ever made. It was remastered last year and released on PC, PS4, and Xbox One, but the Switch was conspicuously left off. It looks like Capcom is fixing that error now. I can’t wait to get my hands on this game this summer.

Sushi Striker: Way of the Sushido!

Sushi Striker looks like a pretty wacky game all things considered. It may be anime as all get out, but it has a certain wholesome fun that I think will fit in well on the Switch.

Mario Tennis Aces

Mario has had a lot of success in sports games in the past. The Mario Tennis line has long been one of my favorites. The Wii U version was disappointing, but Mario Tennis Aces looks like the real deal. I’m concerned that some of the mechanics that Nintendo has piled on might make the game less accessible to new players, but they are including a simple mode that will limit some of the shenanigans.

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker

YES! Captain Toad was one of my favorite games on the Wii U and I am very glad to see it given a new life on the Switch. It is perfect for the handheld. They even announced a 3DS version as well!

Crash Bandicoot N-Sane Trilogy

Crash used to the the Sony Mascot. He was their answer to Mario. Now? He has found his way onto a Nintendo console. Its weird how the world works.

Splatoon 2

Splatoon 2 has been a smash hit on the Switch ever since it launched. It only makes sense that Nintendo would cash in on that success in the form of paid DLC. The Octo Expansion will feature a new single player campaign and players will be able to play as Octolings in multiplayer once they complete it!

Super Smash Bros.

Super Smash Bros. is coming to the Nintendo Switch. This is a very big deal and will likely dominate the conversation between now and E3 where I am certain that they will give more details. The interesting details we can catch from this video are the following:

  1. Inkling boy and Inkling girl
  2. Link is in his Breath of the Wild costume
  3. The title card doesn’t list Bandai Namco as the developer

We won’t know much more until Nintendo decides to tell us. But, I will be eagerly awaiting more news.


What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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Legendary Pokemon Groudon and Kyogre

The Pokémon Company International announced today that 2018 is going to be a Legendary year for the Pokémon franchise. This is all because of a suite of announcements that include video game distributions of legendary Pokémon , TCG products, mobile game updates, and animation features that will launch throughout the rest of the year.

The Legendary Pokémon Announcements

Pokémon Video Game Distributions

Players will be able to receive a different Legendary Pokémon each month this year  from February until November. The distributions will be made through as of yet unannounced Pokémon brand partners, but we can assume that there will be download cards from places like GameStop, Toys ‘R” Us, and more.

Owners of Pokémon Sun, Pokémon Moon, Pokémon Ultra Sun, and Pokémon Ultra Moon for the 3DS family of systems will be able take advantage of the free promotions. Unfortunately, this means that players who are still hanging on to previous generation Pokémon games will be left out in the cold this time.

The Pokémon Company was very vague with the details so far, but the following Legendary Pokemon will be available:

 

FebruaryDialga, the Steel- and Dragon-type Legendary Pokémon, or Palkia, the Water- and Dragon-type Legendary Pokémon, from the Sinnoh region

MarchRegigigas, the Normal-type Legendary Pokémon, or Heatran, the Fire- and Steel-type Legendary Pokémon, from the Sinnoh region

AprilRaikou, the Electric-type Legendary Pokémon, or Entei, the Fire-type Legendary Pokémon, from the Johto region

May: Xerneas, the Fairy-type Legendary Pokémon, or Yveltal, the Dark- and Flying-type Legendary Pokémon, from the Kalos region

June: Zygarde, the Dragon- and Ground-type Legendary Pokémon with three distinct Formes, from the Kalos and Alola regions

July: Tornadus, the Flying-type Legendary Pokémon, or Thundurus, the Electric- and Flying-type Legendary Pokémon, from the Unova region

August: Groudon, the Ground-type Legendary Pokémon, or Kyogre, the Water-type Legendary Pokémon, from the Hoenn region

September: Latios or Latias, the Dragon- and Psychic-type Legendary Pokémon, from the Hoenn region

October: Reshiram, the Dragon- and Fire-type Legendary Pokémon, or Zekrom, the Dragon- and Electric-type Legendary Pokémon, from the Unova region

November: Ho-Oh, the Fire- and Flying-type Legendary Pokémon, or Lugia, the Psychic- and Flying-type Legendary Pokémon, from the Johto region

Pokémon Trading Card Game (TCG)

The Pokémon TCG will have a number of Legendary-themed products released during 2018. The details are non-existent now, but the press release did indicate that more details would be forthcoming closer to the actual product launches.

Pokémon Mobile Games

Pokémon Shuffle for Android and iOS will be a part of the action as well. Players will have two new event stages featuring Legendary Pokémon Dialga and Palkia available for play between February 6th and 13th.

Pokémon Go

The smash hit Pokemon Go would never be left out when it comes to these types of promotions. There will be special Legendary themed events spread throughout the celebration. Details will be revealed soon.

Pokémon Animation

The Pokémon TV app for Android and iOS will feature Pokémon movies that feature Pokémon movies each month that feature the Legendary Pokémon currently being distributed. For example, Augusts Pokémon Movie will feature Groudon and Kyogre.

Pokémon The Movie: The Rise of Darkrai, which features the Legendary Pokemon Dialga and Palkia, will be on the app during the month of February.

Fans can also expect to see these movies appear on broadcast partners like Disney XD.


A Legendary celebration indeed. Will your family be partaking in any of the Pokémon fun? Let us know in the comments!

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Teaching Math By Making Up Your Own Rules for the Pokemon TCG!

Guest Writer: Nicole Tanner

Lots of games are designed specifically to teach something. But often, you can find ways to teach with otherwise “un-educational” games. My daughter’s interest in Pokémon has provided us with an opportunity to teach math. The main Pokémon TCG is a great way to teach addition and subtraction, but we had to improvise a bit and the result ended up teaching multiplication.

Ana had been asking for Pokémon cards for a few months, so when Emerald City Comic Con rolled around my husband came home with a slew of cards, picked up willy-nilly from multiple booths. Not having played the game ourselves, we had no idea we had to have a “Trainer’s Kit” in order to play the game properly. Ana still wanted to play with her cards until we got one, so my husband designed a variation on “War.”

 

 

Here’s the basic idea. Each player has a deck of Pokémon – no Trainer Cards or Energy – just Pokémon. The number of cards in the deck doesn’t really matter as long as each player has the same amount. Evolutions and special powers don’t matter either. Taking turns, each player picks a Pokémon from their deck to play. The other player then selects a Pokémon from their own deck to do battle.  You have to figure out how many hits it would take for your Pokémon to beat the other one using the highest scoring attack on each card. The Pokémon that would use the least hits to knock out his opponent wins. Once the match is over, the winner gets both cards. You continue playing this way until the decks are empty. Then the player with the most cards at the end is the winner.

Ana picked up the gameplay rules after just a few play-throughs, and she was able to figure out the math with little help pretty quickly. We now have all the pieces to play the real thing, but the official card game is a bit too complicated for her to understand at this age. This game suits her skill level and doesn’t mean the hundreds of Pokémon cards have to go unused until she can understand the real thing.

Oh, and it’s helping her learn math.

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Pokemon Ultra Sun and Moon

The Pokémon Company held a Pokémon themed Nintendo Direct today that was eight minutes long, but packed a big punch. They made three significant announcements regarding Pokémon games that we can expect to be playing by the end of the year.

The announcements went as follows:

 

Pokken Tournament DX

A deluxe edition of Pokken tournament will be coming to the Nintendo Switch on September 22, 2017. The game will be a full port of the Wii U game, but will include new characters and game modes.

At this point we should be confident that every halfway decent Wii U game will be ported over to the Switch with some bonus content. I’m glad to see Pokken Tournament given that treatment because it was a great game and went largely unnoticed thanks to its place on the Wii U.

Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon

Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon will launch on the Nintendo 3DS on November 17, 2017. They are new games in the Alola region that feature new Pokémon that weren’t available in the original. The announcement for these games was very short, but the Pokémon Company indicated that more information would be coming later on this year.

This would not be the first time that a mainline Pokémon game was given a sequel if that’s what these games turn out to be. They released Pokémon Black 2 and Pokémon White 2 towards the end of the DS life cycle as well. On the other hand, these could very well just end up being special editions of the original games that don’t include much new content. It is tough to say now, but we’ll find out soon enough.

 

Pokémon Gold and Silver

The Generation 2 classics, Pokémon Gold and Silver, will be coming to the Nintendo 3DS eShop Virtual console this fall. These games are considered by many to be their favorite games in the series.

These virtual console releases are particularly interesting to family gamers like us because we may very well have kids who have squeezed all the juice out of Pokémon Sun and Moon and might be hungry for something else. These will be budget friendly options to do just that.

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Kid’s Corner: A Kid’s Guide to Pokemon Breeding

Welcome to the EFG Kids’ Corner! This is a series of articles written by gamer kids all over the country! If you are a gamer kid (or know one) send me your best stuff in an email at editor@engagedfamilygaming.com! You just might see it here!

Without further adieu… here we go!


Evan, 10 years old

Have you ever wondered about Pokémon breeding?

Well you’re about to learn because I’m going to teach you how to breed Pokémon with a few simple steps.

Step 1: Find a Pokémon daycare (in Omega Ruby, Alpha Sapphire, X, or Y) or a nursery (in Sun and Moon).

Step2: Catch a Ditto. It’s a vital Pokémon to breeding. They are also used in competitive play.

Step 3: Choose a Pokémon you want more of (like a starter).

Step 4: Put your Ditto and the Pokémon from step 3 in the daycare or nursery.

Step 5: Wait a day or two and talk to the person outside of your nursery or daycare and you will get a egg.

Step 6: Put the egg in your party.

Step7: Find a place that is a circle where you can continually walk around without having to stop.

Step 8: Walk around the circle from step 7 until the egg hatches (The Pokémon that comes out of the egg will be the Pokémon that you bred with the Ditto) and talk to the person from step 5.

Boom!!!!! You just learned how about Pokémon Breeding.

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The release of Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon is racing toward us. Before we know it we will be knee deep in the Alola region and experiencing the seventh generation of Pokémon games. (Yes, before you ask, that does make me feel old).

We don’t know everything about these two games yet, but The Pokémon Company has been kind enough to give us dollops of information every few weeks. This has helped to give everyone a peek at the games and to help build hype for them at the same time.

Take a look below for a listing of everything that we know about Pokémon Sun and Moon!

The More Things Change…

pokemon-sun-y-moon

Sun and Moon may be new games, but there is no question that they will follow some of the same formulas and tropes as the previous games in the franchise.

  • They will still feature a young  Trainer on their journey across a region as they collect different Pokémon and complete challenges. 
  • They will choose between three different “starters.”
  • There will still be secrets all over the place,  and treasures to collect.

In truth, Pokémon will still be an RPG just like it always has even. I’m not saying that as a pejorative either. Pokémon is a series built on formulas. It makes them immediately accessible to experienced players, and simple to explain to newcomers.

Settling into a new game in the seriesis like sitting in a favorite chair that you just pulled in from the garage. It is warm, comfortable and feels just right even if you haven’t sat in it for a while.

Island Theme

pokemon-sun-moon-gen-7-region

Every Pokémon game is designed after a different real world location. Sun and Moon are no different. These games take place in the Alola region, which is deeply analogous to the Hawaiian Islands.

This is reflected in the art direction for the landscape, the landlife, and even in the costuming of the characters you run into.

The fact that the region is a series of islands as opposed to one contiguous landmass also makes traversal more interesting as well. You can’t just walk from route to route anymore. This could make getting from place to place more interesting as you have to find boards, choppers, ferries, or even Pokémon to help get you where you need to be.

It is worth noting that the Hawaiian Islands are a very diverse. It isn’t all grass and beaches. There are cities in Hawaii just like everywhere else, so we can expect to see some of that diversity reflected in the art design as well.

Poké Ride

pokeride

Residents of the Alola region have a very close relationship with the wild Pokémon who live there. This goes beyond the capturing and battling that happens in other regions. There are certain Pokémon (some familiar and some new) that will help transport residents of the region from place to place and help to overcome obstacles. This is what the Alola residents called “The Poké Ride.”

This isn’t entirely new. There are times in previous games where players have ridden on Pokémon to get over certain terrain, but this feels like it will be a much more common phenomenon in Sun and Moon.

Alola Forms

alola forms pokemon sun and moon

There is something very mysterious about the Alola region. Not only are there different Pokémon there, but some known Pokémon have different forms that have different typing as well! For example, Vulpix and its evolved form Nine-Tails have an Ice/Fairie type form as opposed to their usual Fire type.

The more I think about this, the more I am excited to see what other unique Alola forms there are. This is a great way to expand the diversity in the Pokémon available in the game without having to create new character models. It is also a way to help players play with their favorites even if the typing is different than what they need.

Z-Moves

pokemon sun moon z moves

Pokémon trainers who are adventuring across the Alola region will eventually come across a special bracelet. This bracelet, when combined with items that can be equipped to Pokémon, will give trainers and their Pokémon access to devastating Z-Moves. These are advanced maneuvers that can only be used once per battle that and look awesome when used.

The debut video stated that there was one per type, but it was unclear if there are multiple moves available per type and that you need to choose one, or if they are truly are unique.

New Pokémon

pokemon sun moon new pokemon

What would a new Pokémon game be if it didn’t include new and never before seen Pokémon. Sun and Moon are no exception and we have already seen some splendid additions to the Pokémon roster. Some fan favorites, like the adorable Mimikyu, have already emerged.

New Legendary Pokémon

solgaleo-pokemon-sun-moon

Sun and  Moon follow the form from the last several generations by each including legendary Pokémon that is unique to their game.

Pokémon Sun features Solgaleo a massive white Lion that is Psychic and Steel type. His ability is Full Metal Body. It prevents his statistics from being altered by his opponents moves or abilities.

Pokémon Moon features Lunala. This is a giant bat that is both Psychic and Ghost typed. Lusaka has the ability Shadow shield, which limits the amount of damage taken when at full health.

There will definitely be more legendary Pokémon available in the region, but they haven’t been announced yet.

Island Challenges

pokemon sun moon island challenges

It appears that at least one standard Pokémon game formula is being turned on its head. It looks, based on the videos we have been shown, that there are no Gyms in the Alola region. Instead traveling Pokémon trainers complete Island challenges on each of the four main islands in the region. Each challenge consists of a task, or series of tasks, laid out by a powerful Pokémon Trainer who specializes in a specific Pokémon type (a la gym leaders). Once the task is completed, trainers can then challenge the Kahuna Pokémon. This is a Pokémon that is more powerful than others of the same species and is even able to summon other Pokémon to help it in battle.

Battle System Updates

pokemon-sun-and-moon-fight-options

The Pokémon Company is always striving to update the combat system to make it more user friendly and interesting to look at. At the end of the day Pokémon is a turn based RPG so it is important for players to have all of the information they need at their fingertips. Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon take this even further than previous games by including information about each move type and its effectiveness against other Pokémon.

This change has been criticized by some long time players, but anyone who is still learning or just starting, this is a godsend- helping new players learn the increasing complexity of the game with each iteration.

Keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for more information about Pokémon Sun and Moon as we get closer to the game’s release on November 18th 2016!

This article originally appeared on Pixelkin.org. Make sure to check them out!

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Pokemon Go Logo

Pokemon Go! is a game that has already taken the world by storm. It is impossible to go anywhere without seeing dozens of people playing the game. They are everywhere from parks, to shopping centers, to their neighborhoods.  Its popularity, however, is not indicative of the finished product. The reality is that Pokemon Go! has been released as a “minimally viable product. ” That means that is includes the smallest number of working features possible in order to sell it. 

Niantic, the company behind Pokemon Go!, has a lot of work ahead of themselves.  The game has attracted a large audience. In order to maintain that audience it is important that they continue to add new features. This will help keep people excited and engaged.

We polled our audience and reflected on what features we wanted to see included to the game as it continues to develop. Take a look below and check out our list of some of the requested features. 

Trading

We already know this feature is coming. We just hope that it comes soon. This will give a lot more opportunities for gathering Pokemon and would give players a chance to use teamwork help complete their collections.

There are reports out there that this feature is going to include NFC (near field communication).  But, we really don’t know all of the details outside of the fact that it is on the way.

Battling

One of the key components of the Pokemon franchise is the idea of two trainers battling it out with their Pokemon collections. This combat  happens at gyms in Pokemon Go!,  but we don’t think there are enough opportunities to battle friends or to even battle in the wild.

Our hope is that Niantic will provide opportunities to have the battle experience outside of the gym environment either with NPC controlled Pokemon trainers that wander the map, or with friends locally.  This can use some of the same technology as the trading mentioned above if they don’t want to deal with the logistics of friends lists. But, honestly, we know they are smart people, they can figure it out.

Leveling

One problem that a lot of younger gamers have is that they don’t have the ability to level their Pokemon easily.  We hope that Niantic adds some alternative routes to increase each player’s Pokemon.  Some suggestions from our audience included things like earning XP for a given Pokemon by tracking walking distance or being able to ship Pokemon to Professor Willow for dust in lieu of candy.

Social

A healthy portion of our audience requested the ability to have more interaction with people that they deem as “friends.”  They wanted to be able to challenge their friends to combat or to other competitions.  There’s already some light social elements because everyone can join one of the three teams. Some people feel that the game is still an isolating experience (at least within their own phone)  and are hoping that they can make a more  social experience.

Accessibility

One member of our audience is actually color blind and mentioned that some of the coloring in the game specifically regarding the rings that represent difficulty for capturing Pokemon or difficult for them to see our hope is that they make the game slightly more accessible over time by implementing different colors to accommodate the color blind.

What Pokemon Go features are you looking for? Sound off in the comments and let us know!

 

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Pokemon Go Logo

Pokémon GO has been out for a little less than a week. To say that the game has had an extraordinary impact on daily life is not an exaggeration. The app has been the number one downloaded app in both the iPhone’s App store and in the Android’s Google Play store since the day after it launched. It’s currently installed more than Tinder and is getting more usage than SnapChat and Instagram. Many statistics show that it is approaching the worldwide daily usage of Twitter.

Pokémon GO is HUGE. Don’t believe us? Take a walk to a local park and look at the sheer number of kids, teens, and adults wandering around with their phones trying to catch ‘em all. Is there a monument nearby? Check out the crowds surrounding the monument. Check out some local businesses. Do they have signs up offering discounts to Pokémon GO players? Are they asking people to not loiter with the app outside of their storefront? Has your local Police Department put up cautionary notices and posts on their FaceBook page or Twitter account?

Here at EFG, we were aware of Pokémon GO way before it showed up on mainstream media’s radar. We knew it was coming, had a basic idea of how it would work, and were familiar with the company’s first Augmented Reality game called Ingress. We had plenty of time to discuss this game with our family and brainstorm possible safety issues and solutions to those issues. We were lucky enough to put a game plan into place and set up rules and limitations before the game was available. Many families did not have this luxury and have seen both awesome and terrifying things about Pokémon GO on the news/internet. In this article we will address some of the biggest Safety & Security concerns associated with the game and we are going to share our rules and some tips to help keep your family safe while playing this exciting new game.

Below are some of the major headlines we’ve seen regarding Pokémon GO in the last few days. Some of these headlines are pure fiction from gag websites, some are real and documented by mainstream news reports, some are pure speculation, and some are a mix of fact and fiction. We will look at each one individually.

Pokémon GO causes major traffic incident as man stops on highway to catch Pikachu!

False! (Source)

This article is fiction and originated on a fake internet news site, but it was written as a warning of what could potentially happen and has coined the very valuable hashtag #DontPokémonGOandDrive. This should be common sense. Our phones should NEVER be in our hands when we are behind the wheel. We have told our children this many times and they actively police us if they see us pick up our phone. Whatever it is, it can wait. This is a very important topic to discuss with any teens that may be driving as often as you can. Hearing this often can and does save lives.

Child finds dead body searching for Pokémon in river!

True, but overblown. (Source)

This one is mostly true. Though, just to clarify, it wasn’t a young child and the girl was not physically in the river searching for a Pokémon. It was 19 year old out for a walk and she was looking for water type Pokémon so she decided to take a walk on a bridge by a river. She saw a body floating in the water in the distance and called authorities. She was being safe, was not overtly frightened by what she saw, and she continues to play the game and was not discouraged by her gruesome find.

This is a great place to bring up one of our first safety concerns that we discussed with our children. Even though you are playing a game, it is important to be aware of your surroundings. You still need to look up from your phone, look both ways before crossing the street, and follow the same common sense safety techniques you follow on any outing. Niantic even includes warnings within the app to stay alert and aware.

Man/Teen/Black Man shot while trespassing in park/graveyard/church/neighbor’s yard trying to catch a rare Pokémon!

This headline has many variations that have turned up on Twitter and fake news websites. No credible or substantial news source has any documented information about Pokémon GO related shootings. This seems to play on fears from recent US events and headlines and is a form of clickbait. The only credible information similar to this headline seems to come from a few Sheriff’s Offices and Police Departments asking players to be aware of private property regulations and public property hours and asking players not to trespass on local properties.

The idea of trespassing has become a MAJOR concern with Pokémon GO, and we want to make sure we touch on a few key facts. First, the game is DESIGNED so that you do not HAVE to trespass. If you see a Pokémon in a neighbor’s yard, you do not actually have to walk on their property. You have to be in range (generally on a sidewalk or public street in front of the property) and then you can tap on the Pokémon and it will bring the Pokémon up directly in front of you. However, it is good to make your family aware that monuments, parks, public buildings, beaches, and historical landmarks do have typical hours of operation and you need to respect those hours. In most US locations, those hours are dawn till dusk. Please do yourself and fellow gamers alike a favor, and honor those times. Also, before going on Pokémon adventures with your family or allowing your children to go out by themselves in your neighborhood, it is a good idea to discuss the concept of trespassing and also to discuss how certain innocent behaviors may seem suspicious to outside observers.

Pokémon GO a massive front for the government to steal all of your information via Google account!

False! (Source)

This one has less extreme versions on national news networks, in local papers, on conspiracy theory websites and on dozens of technology websites. The basic story is that by logging into our Google accounts and by agreeing to the privacy agreement and acknowledging the fine print legal information at the start of the game, we gave Niantic access to our Google email, our iPhone or Android photo albums, our location histories, and all of our Google account data including Google Docs.

Originally, it appeared to be true and a mistake made by Niantic. Thankfully, tech savvy users picked up on this potential breach of security and notified the game makers who promised to fix it as soon as possible.

Here’s the full statement Niantic provided to The Verge:

“We recently discovered that the Pokémon GO account creation process on iOS erroneously requests full access permission for the user’s Google account. However, Pokémon Go only accesses basic Google profile information (specifically, your User ID and email address) and no other Google account information is or has been accessed or collected. Once we became aware of this error, we began working on a client-side fix to request permission for only basic Google profile information, in line with the data that we actually access. Google has verified that no other information has been received or accessed by Pokémon Go or Niantic. Google will soon reduce Pokémon Go’s permission to only the basic profile data that Pokémon Go needs, and users do not need to take any actions themselves.”

Further research revealed that there never really was a breach. But, if you are still concerned with privacy, you can always create a dummy Google account and log in fully incognito. If you want to be even more secure you can either use a spare phone or buy a cheap used one off eBay. Set up your main phone with a VPN, turn it into a Wi-Fi hotspot, and play from your spare phone with your dummy gmail account. This seems a bit extreme, but we are here to provide the information.

Children lured to dangerous situation by armed robbers via in game connection.

Misleading, but true. (Source)

First of all, the people *lured* to the *dangerous area* were not children, they were adults. Second, these incidents occurred at 2am. It is likely safe to assume most young kids won’t be out at that time. Unfortunately, the perpetrators of the attempted robberies were teens who have been caught. The whole thing is actually very sad.

What happened in this situation is scary and unfortunate, but could have been avoided with some common sense safety preparation. In Pokémon GO there is an item called a “Lure Module.” This item can be used at a Poke Stop to lure Pokémon to that specific area. That Lure Module is universal and works for all players in that area, and all players walking near there can see that a Lure has been used and can take advantage of that to catch more Pokémon. The Lure lasts for 30 minutes.

In this situation the robbers dropped the Lure hoping to catch players unaware and rob them. Yes, it was scary. Yes, it was taking advantage of game mechanics to commit a crime and draw people to an area. No, this shouldn’t/won’t happen to you or your children if you have a plan in place. Make sure your children know not to go exploring at night. Make sure your children know to use the buddy system and never walk alone. Make sure your children are aware of their location and the people around them. They shouldn’t randomly walk up to a Poke Stop with a Lure by themselves without first looking around to make sure the area is safe. At this point (a mere week after the game’s release) most police and authority figures know where most of the Poke Stops are in their areas and are policing them to keep them safe during daylight hours.

Finally, it is important to note that at this point in time there is absolutely NO WAY to communicate with other people via the Pokémon GO app.

Thousands injured who were not paying attention while playing the trendy new app Pokémon GO.

Yep, it’s true. If you search Twitter, you can see hundreds of photos of Pokémon GO related injuries. There are images of scraped and bruised up legs, bumped and bruised foreheads, scraped up arms, and even a black eye or two. Obviously the game is dangerous. It must require extreme activities. Right? Nope. These are people who were injured while walking. Yes, just walking. Now, we are not going to call these people clumsy or careless…OK, maybe we are. These injuries are a result of a lack of common sense. Look up from your phone. Pay attention to where you are going. Wear good walking shoes, not flip flops or high heels. Don’t randomly cross streets, wander off the road into brambles, climb tall rocks or jump into lakes or rivers searching for Pokémon.

With each and every one of these headlines, any of these situations could have easily be avoided. Talk to your kids about safety the same way you would if you were going on a hike. Discuss the areas that they are allowed to go. Give them a real world map. As a matter of fact, give them a backpack so they can be like Ash Ketchum or a Boy Scout and always BE PREPARED. Toss a water bottle and a few band aids or maybe a granola bar or two into the backpack along with the map. If you get into this game you may be walking farther and longer than expected. It’s just that fun and engaging.

It is also worth noting that Pokémon Go vibrates when a Pokémon is nearby. This means you can hold your phone in one hand while you walk and just pay attention to the vibrations. This will prevent most of these types of injuries.

Our Pokémon Go Family Rules

  • Pay attention to where you are and where you are walking. Look up and around as soon as you catch a Pokémon. Make sure the area around you is safe.
  • Stranger Danger rules apply. Never EVER approach a Poke Stop with an adult standing alone. It’s not safe for a child to be in an area with a lone adult who is a stranger.
  • An adult out by themselves will never legitimately need a child’s help. Say ‘I’m sorry, I can’t” and offer to get your parents for them or another adult that can help them. Walk away quickly.
  • No matter how innocuous it seems and how innocent it seems, a child should never assume an adult is playing Pokémon GO and offer to assist them.
  • Use the buddy system whenever possible and walk with a parent or friend.
  • Do not go out searching for Pokémon at night and always walk in a well lit area that you’re familiar with.

If you have listened to us speak on our podcast (Engage! A Family Gaming Podcast), joined in our chats on our Engaged Family Gaming Community, or if you have read a lot of our articles, you will be familiar with one of our most popular sayings. Here at EFG we believe that playing games WITH your children is the best gaming experience that you can have. It is more enjoyable for you as a parent and for your child. It is a great bonding experience, a great way to get in some family time, and a perfect way to develop trust and encourage discussions with your child. To that end, we can not think of a better game to enjoy together as a family. But, it is important to have a game plan in place, a clear set of rules and guidelines, and maybe even practice some safety drills before going on your Pokémon GO adventures.

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