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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! 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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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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Pokémon Go is taking the world by storm. It was developed in partnership between Niantic (The people behind the augmented reality game Ingress) and Gamefreak (The people who make Pokémon video games). When it was announced a year ago it had a lot of potential. Pokémon is a well loved brand that is popular now AND old enough to have nostalgic players hungry to recapture the glory days of their youth.

The game itself can be difficult to describe. It is an augmented reality game. This means that is a game that layers game mechanics onto real world locations. In the case of Pokémon Go, this means using Google Maps data and dropping Pokémon all over the map for us to find. The difference is that we can’t just go there in a game, we have to walk their or drive there ourselves.

A lot of parents have been caught off guard by the game’s release. As a result we are publishing this guide to help parents understand what the game is and the basics of playing it. We will follow up with additional content including an FAQ and a deeper strategy discussion to help people play the game at any level they choose. Take a look below and be sure to share this with any of your bewildered friends.

 

What is Pokémon Go?Catch Pokemon in Pokemon go

It’s a hot new app developed by Niantic labs (makers of Ingress) that is being played by kids and adults alike all over the world. It’s making headlines everywhere, and here at EFG, we’ve got all of the details.

At it’s core, Pokémon Go is an augmented reality app playable ONLY on your phone. It uses the camera on your phone along with your phone’s GPS features.  As you walk various places, the GPS places your avatar on a map and you can discover Pokémon in the world around you.  You get to be a Pokémon trainer and catch Pokémon. The app also interacts with the map by bringing you to landmarks such as parks, historical sites, municipal buildings, churches, etc. that are Poké Stops where you can get free goodies to aid you in your endeavors to catch ‘em all!  There are even gyms where you can test your Pokémon trainer skills and have a Pokémon battle.

But, all of these cool features are based on the idea that you KEEP MOVING.  If you don’t walk, you quickly become unable to advance in the game. It’s designed to get people outdoors and moving.

How do I get started?

After downloading the app and FULLY CHARGING (more on that later) your device, you can go ahead and load up the game. You need a Google account or you need to sign up for a Pokémon Trainer Club account to log in.  Once you log in, you start by immediately choosing a Trainer avatar to represent you on the map. You can customize gender, skin tone, hair and eye color and basic clothing.  After you choose your avatar, you are introduced to Professor Willow. He will explain some very basic info about the game and ask you to choose your first Pokémon. The Pokémon that you can choose from are Squirtle(water type), Bulbasaur(grass type), and Charmander(fire type).  Anyone familiar with the earliest incarnation of Pokémon will immediately recognize these little guys.  That’s all there is to starting the game.

How do I play?

 

pokemon go map

When you start, your screen will look like a grid of unmarked roads.  If you look closely, you will recognize the map as the area that you are physically standing at. You may see rustling grass (marking Pokémon in the area), and local landmarks disguised as Poké Stops and Pokémon Gyms. As you move in the real world, your avatar does too. Pokémon will pop up on the map with a small vibration as you walk along. If you tap on the Pokémon that appears, you can attempt to capture it.

You will also see your avatar icon on the bottom left of the screen. You can tap on this to view your character’s level and achievements. In the center of your screen you will see a Pokéball. Tapping on this Pokéball will bring up other items such as your backpack, your Pokédex, your personal Pokémon inventory,  and the settings and tips for playing the game. On the bottom right of your screen you will see a grey or white rectangle with nearby Pokémon in it. You can tap it to expand it and see what else is nearby.

Once you’ve found a Pokémon, it’s time to throw a Poké Ball to try and capture it. You “throw” in game by touching and holding your Poké Ball. When you do this a glowing ring that shrinks and expands will appear around the Pokémon. When the ring gets to its smallest, you want to swipe your Poké Ball directly toward the creature and release your finger.  You want to aim towards hitting the Pokémon on the head. If you have successfully captured the Pokémon the ball will shake a few times and it will say “Gotcha”. If you are unsuccessful, the Pokémon will jump out of the ball after one or two shakes.

A note on the rings around the Pokémon: if the ring is green, it means the Pokémon is friendly and easier to catch. As you get farther into the game, it gets harder to catch Pokémon.  If the ring is yellow or red, you know this match will be a challenge. Don’t worry though, the game provides ways to make it so you can still catch plenty of those cute creatures.

More than one player can catch the same Pokémon; if you and another person see the same Pokémon on your screen, you can both capture it. There is no need to race each other to be the first to catch it.

Game Features

Poké Stops

Poke Stop in Pokemon Go

Poké Stops are the tall poles with blue cubes on top of them spread out across your map.  These typically coincide with physical landmarks in the real world. You can tap on it to find out exactly what the location is even if you are not in range. When a Poké Stop is within range, the blue cube will transform into a spinning circle. Inside the circle, you’ll see the Poké Stop symbol, the location’s photo, and maybe some historical info. Swipe the disc with the picture on it to spin it, and bubbles with pop up with items like Poké Balls, Poké Eggs, potions, lures, incense and more.

Please note: you can’t activate the Poké Stop to collect items, experience, and Poké Eggs unless you move within a close proximity to the actual landmark. As you increase in levels, you unlock new items to collect. After you visit a Poké Stop, the blue icon will turn purple and you will be unable to access it for at least five minutes.

Teams

pokemon-go-teams

When you reach level five and visit a Gym (Don’t worry we’ll explain that in a bit), you’ll be asked to join one of three color-coded teams:

  • Yellow – Team Instinct – Mascot: Zapdos
  • Blue – Team Mystic – Mascot: Articuno
  • Red – Team Valor – Mascot: Moltres

The teams do not affect the types of Pokémon you encounter, they only affect gym battles. Choosing a team of a specific color is the only way to interact with your friends (so far). You use your color to help take over and level up gyms.  If you possess a gym, you get rewards like Poké Coins and Stardust, which can help you level up and evolve your Pokémon.

Pokémon Gyms

Pokemon Go Gyms

Much like Poké Stops, Gyms are physical landmarks.  You interact with a gym by tapping it and activating it just like a PokéStop. This is where Pokémon battles happen. Players can claim them for their team, or help level up a Gym already claimed for your color to build up its prestige. Trainers can take over an unoccupied Gym and claim it for team Yellow-Instinct, Blue-Mystic, or Red-Valor.  If you encounter a Gym and your team’s color is already in control of it,  you can train your Pokémon in the Gym one at a time.  If the Gym is controlled by another color’s team, you’ll need to battle the Pokémon standing guard to lower its prestige and take over control of the Gym.

Gyms earn prestige when you train your Pokémon in one that your team controls, and lose prestige when opposing teams win battles against the Pokémon left there. As a Gym’s level increases, so does the number of Gym Leaders allowed.

Gym battles are mini-games where the goal is to attack the opposing Pokémon, and dodge their attacks. While battling, you have three options: You can tap the screen to attack, press and hold the screen to initiate a special attack, or swipe left or right to dodge an opponent’s attack. Your goal is to lower the opponent’s Pokémon to zero hit points.

To steal control of a Gym that is already occupied by an opposing color you have to defeat ALL of the Gym Leaders’ Pokémon in it. Beating leaders lowers the Gym’s prestige and it can take multiple attempts to actually take over the whole Gym.

Why do we care?  If you occupy a Gym, you help your team AND earn Poké Coins, too! Every 20-24 hours, you earn 10 Gold Poké Coins and 500 Stardust as reward for staying in the Gym.  You can use these Poké Coins to purchase items in the Shop and the Stardust to level up your Pokémon to make them more powerful.

The Shop

The Shop is where you can purchase items that are necessary to advancing in the game.  You can purchase these items with Poké Coins or with real world money via microtransactions and in app purchases. Items that can be found in The Shop include Poké Balls to capture Pokémon, Incense to lure them, and potions and revives to heal them after Gym battles.  Please note: You don’t ever HAVE to spend real money. You can stock up on most items just by visiting Poké Stops.

Items

  • Incense- lures Pokémon to your location for 30 minutes
  • Potion- Spray type medicine for treating wounds. It restores the HP (health) of 1 Pokémon by 20 points
  • Revive- a medicine that can revive fainted Pokémon. It also restores half of a fainted Pokémon’s maximum HP
  • Lucky Eggs- grant you double experience for 30 minutes
  • Lure Module- draw Pokémon to a PokéStop for 30 minutes. Other nearby players also benefit from the effect. (This is a great way for friends to help each other!)
  • Razz Berries- feed it to a Pokémon, it makes it easier to catch on you next throw (use when Pokémon is circled red or orange)
  • Poké Eggs- which can hatch into new Pokémon with the use of an Egg Incubator (you hatch eggs in the incubator by walking a certain distance listed with each egg)

Advancing in the Game

Upgrading your Pokémon

 

If you want to battle at Gyms you need to have strong Pokémon. The strength of the Pokémon is displayed as CP (combat power). A Pokemon’s Combat Power determines how useful it will be in Gym Battles.

You can increase your Pokémon’s CP by either using the “Power Up” option or the “Evolve” option. Pokémon evolution is a major theme in both the cartoon series and the games. It is no different here in Pokémon Go. Evolving a Pokémon gives it a boost to its CP, health, and changes it’s abilities. It also turns the Pokémon into a new form, giving you access to more entries in your Pokédex. This gives you experience points and helps fill out the Pokédex to make you one step closer to catching them all!

Pokémon can only be Powered Up or Evolved using two specific items.  These items are called Stardust and Candy.  You earn both of them by capturing Pokemon and by leveling up or completing challenges. Stardust is universal. You can use it for any of your Pokémon. Candy is specific to different species and their evolutions. For example, capturing Caterpies will earn you Caterpie candy that you can use to evolve Caterpies into their various forms (Metapod and Butterfree)

To Upgrade your Pokémon you need to complete the following steps:

From the main screen of the game, tap the Pokéball in the center.

  • Tap on the Pokémon button.
  • Select the Pokémon you wish to level up or evolve.
  • Scroll down to the Power Up or Evolve buttons and select the one you’d like to use. (The cost for each is listed to the right of the button, with your total supply of Stardust and Candy listed above the buttons.)
  • The game will automatically either power up or evolve your creature.

Advancing your Trainer Level

Your Trainer Level advances in multiple ways. The easiest way to advance your trainer level is to catch Pokémon. Every time you catch one you gain XP. You also gain XP by interacting with Poké Stops and Gyms as we discussed above. One of the best ways to advance your Trainer Level is to Evolve your Pokémon. As your Trainer Level advances you can take on more difficult Gym Battles, you may encounter stronger and more rare Pokémon, and you get access to better items from Poké Stops.

 


This is our guide to Pokémon Go so far! Sound off in the comments if you have additional thoughts or if you think we missed anything! We’ll be updating this post regularly and adding even more content to Engaged Family Gaming in the coming weeks!

 

 

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Nintendo held a Q & A for Pokemon Go at the start of their second Treehouse Live @ E3 event. The panel was loaded with people from Nintendo, Gamefreak, Niantic, and even a few of the more active beta testers. The panel lasted for about an hour, where they went over some of the interesting things that they have learned during the beta process.

The first thing they did was clarify and reiterate exactly how the game works. Pokemon Go is a so-called “real world game.” This means that the game uses GPS data gathered from your phone to locate Pokemon that have been spread throughout the world. When you encounter a Pokemon you will be able to use your phone’s touch screen to throw a Pokeball at it. The likelihood that you can capture the Pokemon is based one whether you can actually hit the model of the character in field of play and if you can hit them when a targeting reticle is at the perfect spot in its cycle.

Pokemon in your collection gain experience and ultimately evolve by eating special Pokemon candy. They specifically mentioned that the candy is earned by capturing Pokemon during your travels, but I am pretty certain that you will also be able to spend real world money on it too. This is a free to play mobile game after all.

One item that got a lot of discussion was the Pokemon Go Plus device. It is a red and white device that can be worn as either a pin or a watch. It connects via blue tooth with your Android or iOS device and lets you play the game without taking your phone out of your pocket. The device has an led light in the center that will flash different colors to tell you what is happening. You can actually use the buttons on the Pokemon Go Plus to capture Pokemon without even taking your phone out.

They also let the release window for both the app and the Pokemon Go Plus slip. They will release in July of this year and the device will retail for $34.99.

Keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for more information as we get closer to release.

 

 

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We haven’t even reached the 20th anniversary of the release of Pokemon in Japan yet and the celebration has already started.

We will be able to download legendary Pokemon each month for most of the year. Pokemon Red, Blue, and Yellow are heading to the Nintendo 3DS eShop over the weekend. And now it appears we will be getting two new games.

Nintendo had already announced a Nintendo Direct focused on the Pokemon franchise for February 26th. Unfortunately, the cat looks to be out of the bag regarding their big announcements.

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Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon have been leaked ahead of tomorrow’s Nintendo Direct thanks to trademark filings in Europe. We don’t know much aside from the titles and a pair of (gorgeous) logos, but speculation is already running rampant online.

The good news? We don’t have long to wait before they give us more details. The hype train is officially leaving the station! ALL ABOARD!

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Pokemon Go is one of our most anticipated games of 2016. We have been downright hungry for this one since it was announced. There was some sort of Beta test this past Winter, but that never came to pass.

The good news is that we will have many of our lingering questions answered in a few months when details are shared at the Game Developers Conference 2016 (GDC 2016 for short).

The details will be revealed in a panel that will be held for developers attending the conference. The panel description is below:

“Over the last three years, Niantic, Inc. has been defining the genre of Real World gaming, using smartphones and tablets to connect the digital world to the physical world. Niantic’s newest game, Pokemon GO, ups the challenge of real world gaming design, taking a beloved franchise and setting its hundreds of brightly-colored monsters loose across the globe, adding a new Bluetooth wearable device created by Nintendo to the mix. Join Niantic founder and CEO John Hanke as he discusses how the company has developed a unique vision for delivering a mobile Pokemon experience that gets would-be trainers into the outdoors.

Takeaway

Attendees will get a first-hand, in-depth look at how players are interacting and exploring the world with one another through Pokemon GO, the collaborative approach to design and development for the game and the next evolution of augmented reality and real-world mobile gameplay experiences.”

Source

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Pokemon’s 20th anniversary is this year and The Pokemon Company and Nintendo are going out of their way to celebrate with their fans. One major portion of the celebration is the monthly release of a different rare Pokémon. The program starts this month at GameStop where players can get special cards with download codes for the Mythical Mew!

All of the Pokémon released as part of this celebration will be playable on Pokémon Alpha Sapphire, Pokemon Omega Ruby, Pokémon X and Pokémon Y.

Mew might start the party this month but additional Pokemon will be released on the following:

Celebi: March 1 – 24 (Nintendo Network)
Jirachi: April 1 – 24 (Nintendo Network)
Darkrai: May 1 – 24 (GameStop)
Manaphy: June 1 – 24 (Nintendo Network)
Shaymin: July 1 – 24 (Nintendo Network)
Arceus: August 1 – 24 (GameStop)
Victini: September 1 – 24 (Nintendo Network)
Keldeo: October 1 – 24 (Nintendo Network)
Genesect: November 1 – 24 (GameStop)
Meloetta: December 1 – 24 (Nintendo Network)

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The mythical Pokémon Diancie is being released as a free download for players who own Pokémon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire from July 24-27. It is hard to pass up on a free Pokémon (especially one that is very powerful), but It is easy to imagine that parents might be a bit intimidated by the process of downloading the Pokemon.

The good news? It is super duper easy and will take you less than a few minutes. Take a look below for the simple steps to take and a video to show off the prize!

    • Make sure you are connected to the internet via Wifi
    • Turn on the Pokemon Alpha Sapphire/Omega Ruby
    • Select “Mystery Gift” on the main menu.
    • Select “Receive Gift”, then select “Yes.”
    • Select “Get via Internet”, and then select “Yes.”
    • Go to any Pokémon Center in the game (or have your child do it) and speak to the Delivery girl to receive Diancie.
    • Save the game. (Make sure to save before you do anything else. You can only receive the gift once!)

 

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