I guess I need to do better at keeping up on pushing blog content out on the website. Well, now that I look at the website again, I am not sold on the design either. I did do some re-designing this weekend, so now it looks more like how I want it to look, but that’s not the point of this blog post. We’re going to talk about something fun. POKEMON.

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Pokemon Go dropped on 07/06 of this year. At midnight, my friend John messaged me saying that Pokemon Go was live. As I was just about to fall asleep, I stood straight up from the couch and ran to my computer. It took me 10/15 minutes before I found a legitimate APK file to load onto my phone for installation. Once loaded, I couldn’t believe it. Turns out, it was only released for Austrailia and New Zealand. No one in the US had the app except the people who were able to find the APK. I couldn’t believe after such a long time of waiting that we were finally able to play this highly anticipated game.

John and I met up at around 12:45am, only minutes after we got the app and we walked around the Island Park. We hit up some pokestops, found some Pokemon, and made our way to level 5 within the next hour. We were pretty excited that the game was cool, but we knew little of what was to come.

Within 24 hours, we got the official release of the game and it was then that we began our official Pokemon journey, along with millions of others in the United States. That dream of 11 year old Jake was finally realized. To go out into the real world and capture all of the Pokemon and be the best trainer in the world, even if it was through the Augmented Reality Experience of the mobile phone.

Hanging out downtown Sacramento

Hanging out downtown Sacramento

It didn’t come without cost though. Server issues and app performance issues plague the game for people. Many bugs were discovered and many compromises were made by Niantic to increase server performance. I won't go into much more of the details (just go to /r/pokemongo and you'll understand...), but there's quite a hill that Niantic Labs has to overcome to keep the life of this app going. Overall though, the experience has been absolutely delightful.

Although there are many Rattatas, Pidgeys, Weedles, and Spearows, there is enough variety of rare Pokemon in Fargo to make the experience enjoyable as a Pokedex completionist. There are still many Pokemon that haven’t been found in Fargo yet (Aerodactyl, Chansey, and few others), but through some of my travels around the country since its release, my Pokedex is currently at 106 Caught and Seen. Incredible progress, considering the variety.

Leveling is a whole lot of grinding. It feels realistic to be catching as many Pokemon as you can, but sometimes, catching many Pidgeys, Weedles, and Rattatas feels like a chore, as they are not the most exciting Pokemon to catch. During my time in Sacramento, I found Rhyhorns, Ponytas, Growlithes, Doduos, and Ekans mostly, and that variety felt a lot more exciting. However, there is one advantage to the common type Pokemon, and that’s their 12 candle evolution requirement. Most Pokemon require 25 candy, these three only require 12 candy for their first stage evolution, but they give the same amount of experience. Therefore, it is more efficient to capture these Pokemon quickly, get the candy, and evolve them for maximum experience. Tie in a lucky egg, and you can get ~60k XP easily, which can get you to level much faster than just walking around and playing.

Philadelphia was kind to me when I visited

Philadelphia was kind to me when I visited

Stardust? Save it. The CP of Pokemon you find in the wild and when evolving Pokemon will keep you going for the most part. Especially if you don’t gym battle often (like myself). The rate of leveling will outpace any spending you do on Stardust, so unless you’re participating heavily in the gym battle feature, save your stardust until Level 30. Then, you will max on the CP potential of Pokemon you find in the wild. Once you find a good Pokemon with great CP and IV-Potential, then invest the stardust.

Speaking of Gym Battles, I am a Valor Member (Team Red!). I found myself instantly drawn to the philosophy of Team Valor and I chose it the night of release. Being able to grab gyms before anyone else had the game was neat and got me a few Pokecoins, but now, it’s just madness. It is super fun to see the team rivalries grow, but personally, I actually feeling kind of detached to it. I almost wished I never chose a team, not because I don’t like being on a team, but just because I don’t care too much about the gym and Pokemon battles as it currently is. It’s essentially a game of territory and I don’t have the drive or time to maintain all of the gyms. I think once direct PvP battling comes into play, Pokemon battle will become pretty cool, but until then, I occasionally will work to take down a gym or post my Pokemon at a gym.

I found Old Sac because players told me it was a place where I could find Water Pokemon! How cool!

I found Old Sac because players told me it was a place where I could find Water Pokemon! How cool!

Many people have asked me why I have thrown myself into this game. Why am I like the millions of others who are playing Pokemon. Part of it is that it’s a cool new mobile experience, building on Ingress, Niantic’s former game of almost identical concepts. The truth is, that as a kid, I wanted to be a Pokemon trainer and collector. I have a knack for wanting to explore the world of universes created. For Pokemon, I wanted to travel the country and be a Pokemon trainer. Digimon, I wanted to be a Digi-Destined hero who had a companion Digimon (THEY REALLY NEED TO MAKE A DIGIMON EQUIVALENT TO GO). Dragonball Z, I wanted to be strong enough to be a Z warrior, and the list goes on (anime or not). I always found interest in these universes, worlds, and lores and always wanted to experience them first hand. This game allows me to do that with Pokemon and share that experience with so many people who are on similar journeys.

In the end, the game is all about immersing yourself in the Pokemon World (and allowing it to be part of the real world) and I enjoy Niantic’s product. At the time of this writing, I am over halfway through level 25 and expecting to hit Level 26 real quick here with another lucky egg session. I am looking to start hunting down some Pokemon that are not in my index and continue to work towards catching all of the Pokemon. Definitely not the one to catch them all first, but once I catch the 151, that childhood dream will be accomplished. Now once generation two gets implemented…

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