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Pokemon GO vs. Nintendo 3DS & GBA Games

Pokemon Sun Moon 3DS rom emulatorPokemon Go: Everyone' s New Addiction

Just about everyone has heard of the Pokemon GO. This augmented reality game is Nintendo's very first major smartphone game, and it lets you capture Pokemon in the real world. Gamers young and old have gone crazy over the Pokemon GO and I myself have been playing it for several days now. My verdict - it's not perfect but you have to give it a try!

Invasion of Pokemon

This may come as a surprise to some (but not really in my circle) that at my age (I'm in my 30s), I still play Pokemon games. I always bring my Nintendo 3DS wherever I go. So you can imagine my excitement when the launch of Pokemon GO was announced. This game, after all, is one you can play on your smartphone. How convenient!

The developer of the game is Niantic, which made the AR game Ingress and it's also a former Google subsidiary. Pokemon Go offers a somewhat similar experience - you basically use the camera of your smartphone to look for Pokemon around you. The game will put a Pokemon on top of the image so that it will seem like it's showing up in your world instead of the virtual world. That is how you get Pokemon pictures in bathrooms and just about anywhere.

But this is just one aspect of the game. It also uses the mapping technology of Google as well as a built-in GPS to put you in the actual game. You will be walking around and your avatar will also follow wherever you go. It transforms real landmarks like churches and bus stops into Pokestops. When you top on one of these Pokestops, and then you swipe the coin which you see at the center, you will get free Pokeballs, eggs and potions. Some places (busy areas) have lots of Pokestops, others have few.

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You'll also come across different types of Pokemon depending on where your real world location is. If you are near the ocean or lake, you will see water Pokemon. If you're in the park, you'll see grass Pokemon. Pokemon GO also uses the clock of your phone to bring out ghost Pokemon at night. There are also more Pokemon in the afternoon than late at night.

Catch, Catch, Catch!

The objective of the Pokemon series is to catch these tiny creatures and battle them against each other. You will engage in battles with gym leaders and trainers so you will (if successful) become a Pokemon master.

Unlike the traditional Pokemon games however which have turn-based battles, this smartphone app has real-time combat. During a battle, you tap on the screen of your phone to unless an attack. If you tap several times, you can use a more powerful attack but you have to learn the technique - which is basically to long press the display.

You cannot pick what attacks you can use however. The game will automatically pick it for you when you tap and long-press the screen. Not much fun, I know, because in the traditional games, you can choose strategically which attack based on the situation. But what you can do with the Pokemon GO however is to dodge incoming attacks by swiping right or left on your smartphone screen.

In this game, capturing a Pokemon is different from what you're used to because you throw a Pokeball and cross your fingers that you capture the creature. If it connects, you're good. Moreover, the system for capturing is still a little wonky. You swipe as accurately as possible so you can hit your target and if you toss a lot of times there's a chance your Pokemon will escape. It might be very frustrating at first. But you'll get the hang of it.

Gearing for Gym Battles

As you start to catch Pokemon in your area, your level increases. When you get to level 5, you can start joining gym battles. It's without a doubt the coolest part of this whole game. To participate in a gym battle, you will need to go to a specific location and go inside a virtual gym. Mind you, this “gym” is a real location (but not exactly a gym!). Once you're near the place, you will do one of two things - claim the gym if no one is occupying it or try to take over if someone already owns it.

The first time you enter a gym, you'll have to pick between 3 teams - yellow, red and blue. I started with red and came across a gym that was controlled by yellow team. I had to battle with the owner of that gym so I could claim it for my team. It was a lot of fun!

Every gym in Pokemon GO has a Prestige Level. If your team is able to defend a gym successfully against an attack from another team, your Prestige level grows. The higher your level, the better because it will mean other teams will have a difficult time attacking your gym. You can build your gym's Prestige as a team by joining in friendly battles with your own team mates.
If your gym loses a Pokemon battle, your Prestige level will go down. Once it reaches zero, it will be open to being overtaken by another team.

Pokemon GO, just like other free to play mobile games, offers in-app purchases. But you don't need to pay to be able to continue playing it. The game provides you the option to buy potions to heal sick or injured Pokemon as well as incubators so you can hatch Pokemon eggs. There's also an option to buy Pokeballs but they're available free when you visit Pokestops so it's really not required to buy them.

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How to Be the Best at Pokemon GO

It's so much fun finding those cute creatures and battling for power in gyms. But the best aspect about this game is the social experience that every gamer gets. You won't be able to play with players outside the gyms and sure, catching Pokemon is a singular experience. But once you have played it, you'll realize like I did, that it's a lot more fun playing it with other people than what you're used to playing multiplayer games. Why? Well, when you're walking to find Pokemon, you're not really alone. You should be able to meet at least a couple of trainers in any area who are also wandering and looking for the exact same things you are looking for. This creates a very fun and friendly community.

One time, I was out grocery shopping with my son and came across a Pokemon in one of the aisles. I saw another dad who gave us a quick glance and a grin. He told me, “You're also looking for a Pokemon huh?” Then he gave me a thumbs up and walked away. And he wasn't the only one that day. There were probably at least 5 other people doing the same thing. And just imagine how many people in your city, in your state and in the whole country looking for rare Pokemon right now. Heck, think about how many people around the world are doing the same thing?

The game might not have a social element within its gameplay but Pokemon GO gets people together in the real world and for me, that's a much better experience.

Popular But Not Perfect

Pokemon GO is exceedingly popular but it's not without issues. Right now I have noticed that the game is often crashing. Not a big deal until you find yourself in the middle of catching a hard to find Pokemon and bam! It crashes! Another problem is how much it uses up battery. It's a major battery hog and as you know, smartphone batteries are already an issue. I played using my Samsung Galaxy S6 for an hour and my battery was reduced 40%.

The servers are also a downer. Once I received a message that I cannot play because the server is down. A friend of mine complained she had received the same message three times already this week. Moreover, there's a bug that appears to force players using iPhones to log in every time they have to restart their game.

That's not all. There have been instances wherein gamers walk around looking for Pokemon and they end up wandering into churches. I've also heard reports of people not paying attention when they cross busy streets. One report also said that criminals have been hanging out near a Pokestop and robbed unsuspecting players. It's very important to be fully conscious of your surroundings when you play Pokemon GO.

Still Undecided? Stop Thinking and Download It!

Pokemon GO is addictive and fun, amidst all the initial issues players have with it. On your lunch breaks you can go out and see people playing this game. Nintendo has finally taken a big step into the smartphone game market and they have been ridiculously successful. If you have not yet downloaded Pokemon GO, man, you need to do so NOW.

 

• Download iPhone and Android Emulators for Gameboy, DS and GBA Pokemon games

 

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