Pokemon Go dominates alternate reality gaming in 2016


By Karren Shamo

IT’S 2:13 a.m., and I’ve been walking around the seminary building outside Granger for three hours. If I walk for another three kilometers, my egg will hatch. The only problem is I don’t know how far is three kilometers.

Why the seminary building, you ask? Well, it’s very simple. The seminary building is a Pokestop, and I am a Pokemon master. Well, actually I’m still level four, but I will soon be a Pokemon master, most likely in three kilometers. As I document this, a legendary Pokemon is incubating in my backpack. OK, I actually don’t know what Pokemon is in the egg until it hatches, but I’m pretty sure it’s legendary.

Every five minutes, the Pokestop resets and I can get valuable resources from its effervescent token of generosity, such as Pokeballs, eggs, revives, and potions that are too strong for just any traveler. I’ve also acquired some lures and incense that attract Pokemon to me.

Suddenly, a wild Pokemon emerges from the depths of the night. I arm myself, ready to catch the vicious beast. It’s a Pidgey! I must capture it. The ring around the Pidgey is a neon green, so this should be a cinch for an expert trainer such as myself. Just as a precaution though, I feed the little bird a razz berry, ensuring my victory. I throw the ball with grace and finesse, spinning the ball first and performing the perfect curve ball just as the ring is at its smallest. The Pidgey is easily caught, and I now have a collection of 23 Pidgey. I’ve never felt so alive.

I’ve just gained some experience from my expert capture, and I’m now advancing to level five. I can join a team now! I race over to the nearest gym and confront professor Willow. Now I have the option of being on team Instinct, Mystic, or Valor. The choice is easy because Articuno is the very best of the legendary birds.

The very instant after I had made my decision though, the gym turned a florid red. I snap my head over at the trainer across the street. Their gaze switches from their phone screen and meets mine. Time for battle.

I tap on the gym again, ready to meet this challenger. Their Growlithe is defenseless against my team of Pidgey. I skillfully dodge the bouts of flamethrower and hold down to attack with my beloved Pidgey’s special attack, air cutter. Battle by battle, I take down the prestige of the gym and reclaim my territory. I give a smug look to the trainer across the street, placing my Pidgey inside the gym. Within moments, the gym is assaulted and changes to a ghastly shade of red. Coincidentally, the Pokemon inside the gym is now ghastly shade, too.

Feeling defeated, most likely because I have just been defeated, I trudge back over to the seminary building. As I approach though, my hand vibrates. What’s this? My egg! It’s hatching! I cross my fingers and hope for the best.

Please let it be a mew, please let it be a mew, PLEASE BE A MEW. The egg cracks.

“It’s a Bellsprout!” my screen flashes. I name it Mew, because if I’m going to harbor this disappointment plant, it may as well have a name to remind it what it should have been.

Do you want to be a master of Pokemon, too? Here are a few tips to get you on your way. First of all, remember to be safe. If you’re going out to catch Pokemon at night, always go with a friend.  Remember that there is safety in numbers. You should also convince your friends to join the same team as you so that you’ll be able to capture gyms together and not be pitted against one another.

Never play Pokemon while driving. Not only is it distracted driving, but your steps won’t count toward hatching your eggs once you hit a certain speed, so you may as well just put that phone away. Walking while playing Pokemon will hatch your eggs much more effectively and you also get the benefits of exercising: eggercise, if you will.

Transfer your extra Pokemon, too. Transferring gets you candies that will help you evolve or power up your Pokemon, making them stronger and harder to overthrow during battle. When battling, remember to consider your Pokemon’s type as well.  If you put your Ponyta against a Blastoise, expect your precious fire pony to be fainted in about three seconds or less.

If you’re having a hard time collecting Pokeballs, make your way downtown. As you’re walking fast and the faces pass, you’ll be able to pass a multitude of Pokestops. Highly populated areas have a generous number of landmarks where Pokestops are located. If you can’t go downtown, you can always stop by your local church. All LDS churches happen to be either Pokestops or gyms, which is convenient since we live in Utah where churches are bountiful.

I wish you the best of luck in catching them all. Maybe one day you can be a Pokemon master like yours truly. Stay safe and go find that Pikachu!