The Quintessential Beginner’s Guide to PokémonGo for 2018



User Guide


BRAND NEW PokémonGo Players

Pikachu in his birthday hat


 Introduction to the Guide


1 Tip for Readers who Want to Save Time


In these beginning sections, I provide a lot of personal background information. It’s information that I feel is helpful to understand the context of things in this guide. This may include (but isn’t limited to,) information about me, about how and why I decided to write this, how and  why I decided to play PokemonGo, and why I chose to publish this now 2 years after PokemonGo’s introduction.

Most certainly all of that kind of information is peripheral to the main PokemonGo Overview & Guide, and isn’t needed in the big picture. Most of  my regular readers know me and my story-telling style of relaying new information and they like it…which of course is why they’re regular readers ;-)

Newcomers to vsatips may not appreciate my rambling presentation style however, so I try to separate this out using various methods. Here, you’ll find a shortcut link of sorts immediately below entitled ‘How to Play PokémonGo. By clicking or tapping on that you’ll quickly arrive at main part of this guide.


If you’d like to skip my personal background information and just get to the good stuff, you can do so by clicking or tapping on the link below:

How to Play PokémonGo


1st I’ll Share a Little Background About How I Came to be a PokémonGo Aficionado

My Background

I never intended to become a PokemonGo ambassador, or even a player for that matter, but fate had different plans.

If you’re wondering how this occurred, you’re not alone! I often wonder the same thing myself! So do my other family members. Especially the ones who introduced PokémonGo to me!

I was one of those Mom’s who feared her kid’s acute interest in video games would ruin their lives. My husband and I did everything within our power to keep our kids from playing video games as they were growing up.

This was really hard when they’d only ask for video games or game system related things as presents for their birthday or Christmas. It was so hard to always say no. In fact, we did acquiesce more often than we felt a responsible parent should. This struggle,with video game boundaries lasted their entire childhoods…and even a little into adulthood I fear!

In the summer of 2016 we took our fateful family trip to Japan. That’s when it happened. The tables were turned, so to speak and the floodgates opened for our kids to find out what we as parents had been up against for so many years.

The Japan Trip That Changed My Life

We’d just arrived in Tokyo and the weather was gorgeous! I’d struggled to get there and arrived by wheelchair due to some medical issues which resulted in my needing to have a total hip replacement last month, so I was extra happy to have finally arrived and to be in such an amazing setting. It was during our first full day there, while visiting a beautiful botanical garden that my husband and I grew frustrated because we thought that our now adult aged son’s were spending way too much time texting friends. Granted, it was a bit odd for them both to be so preoccupied doing the same thing at the exact same time…but that was what seemed to be going on to us.

My annoyance grew as their lack of interest in our surroundings did. Finally, I couldn’t stop myself from making a snarky comment about texting instead of enjoying our surroundings.

That’s when my son’s told me that they weren’t texting at all. They told us that they were playing a brand new video game that had been widely anticipated and had just come out that day in Japan called PokémonGo.

They offered to show the game to me, probably to get me off their backs, and I agreed. Truthfully, I thought the game seemed to be a little goofy at first but then I let them put it on my phone…and within a few minutes began to appreciate their fascination. I was immediately hooked too!

It was a few months later, after my sons had for all practical purposes quit playing the game, and I could no longer go to them for advice, when I began to realize how cognitively challenging video games are (even really simple ones like PokemonGo.) I finally recognized how wrong I had been to judge video games so harshly.

PokémonGo players in Japan

Why Write This PokemonGo Overview Now?

Recently I was asked by someone who has a young child who is growing more interested in PokémonGo, and how the game works. I realized that in those instances, where a very young child who’s potentially just reaching the age of finding PokemonGo interesting, it probably wouldn’t be advisable for them to play the game without having an adult partner. If for no other reason than that PokemonGo is primarily a cell phone game. In my opinion, young children shouldn’t even have cell phones yet!

But a child’s adult partner might not have any personal knowledge or understanding of PokemonGo, or even video games in general. So, that was my main reason for deciding to write this post.

Incidentally, while many opportunities have presented themselves as good topics for posts, I’ve only written about 5 posts in total since PokémonGo was released. Each has focused on one specific aspect of the game. The one that’s garnered the most readership focuses on how local businesses can use PokémonGo to improve their business via increasing their overall numbers of customers.

Another reason I decided to write this guide is because I’ve begun to suspect that a slight entry barrier might exist with PokémonGo which prevents new players from joining in on playing. My hunch is based purely upon the fact that the game has been out for almost 2 years now. New players might feel that they could never catch up to their longer playing friends.

That entry barrier shouldn’t really be cause for concern however, because PokemonGo is a game which can present greatly varying personal challenges that are appropriate to each individual player’s level, in the same setting. So, many different levels of players can play the game together, and their levels are inconsequential to the experience.

This post has 3 main goals:

  • To briefly explain the main concepts of the game for new players or player’s parents
  • To reassure new players that there’s no good reason to not begin playing the game today. Starting now won’t adversely impact a player’s ability to enjoy the game nor their ability to be included in the various kinds of events which are being held with great frequency all around the world.
  • To reassure parents that video games really do have a lot more redeemining value than they might think.

Last, there are several good efforts similar to this one which were written when the game first came out. But many of those have become obsolete over time as the game itself has morphed and changed.

One that hasn’t and that’s still an excellent resource is Vox’es ‘PokemonGo Explained in Less Than 400 Words’ (they cheated a little imo because they don’t count the words in their video, which I’m certain takes them way beyond the 400 word mark! Their video I think is the best part! :-)

Me Leveing up to 30

PokémonGo’s New Community Day Event was 1 Impetus For My Writing This Updated Overview

In addition to my friend’s child expressing a newfound interest in PokémonGo, several exciting new game innovations by Niantic have prompted me to write this guide. One of them is an important new Community Day event for PokemonGo players. Community Events are a great new perk that Niantic began in early 2018. They were designed to unite PokemonGo players and to add an aspect to the game which helps connect individual players to others in their community, as well as to keep interest levels high when there aren’t a lot of other new and interesting things going on in the game.

The concept has been really well received. Community days occur for 3 hours once each month. Depending upon your time zone this is usually on a Saturday afternoon. I’ll use the March 25th event, which was the 3rd Community Day event, and which many consider to have been the most successful one ever, to describe this new concept.

Each Community Day event focuses on one relatively important Pokemon. The March 25th event focused on a really popular Pokémon named Bulbesaur. Many people including myself caught tons of Bulbesaurs that day for several reasons. My main objective was to obtain enough Bulbesaur candy to evolve one of my best Bulbesaurs. You earn candy each time you catch a Pokémon, but the candy is unique to just that type of Pokémon. You use this digital candy both to ‘Power up’ your Pokémon, making them stronger for battles, and to ‘Evolve’ them into a higher level form of themselves. Some Pokémon only have 1 level, some have 2 and some have 3. When a Pokémon has 3 evolution levels, these need to be done consecutively.

One Pokémons Evolution Course

So, in my case I wanted to evolve one of my best Bulbesaur. First into an Ivysaur and then a Venosaur (Venosaur is Bulbasaur’s final evolution.) Another cool aspect about Community Days is that the chosen Pokémon highlighted on that day oftentimes can acquire special fighting moves which aren’t available to them by any other means. So, while evolving my new Venosaur, it would acquire a unique battle move that was only bequeathed to Bulbesaurs on this one unique day. The end result was that I’d have a newly evolved Venosaur which held a very special move in its repertoire, making it a really unique Pokémon and quite possibly more important in the game in its future renditions.


 The Actual Player’s Guide Part


How to Play PokémonGo


How to Begin Playing the Game

PokemonGo is primarily a gwme for cell phones but you can also playnit on tablet. I occassionally play on an iPad at home, or I just spend time in the game assessing my Pokemon and getting rid of low value ones to make room for capturing new ones. But certain aspects of the game dont function as well using an iPad. Trying to use special items like lucky eggs or inscence for example can prove difficult, but not impossilbe. So my advice for brand new players is use a cell phone rather than tablet.

You’ll find the game in the app store for you  particular device. The game is free in both the ios app store and the Android app store.

The next thing you need to do is setup an account before yiu sign intomthe game. You’ll need to provide an email address to do so. Gmail accounts seem to work well but really any email account should work.

When you enter the game for the first time you’ll be asked to select a starter Pokémon. Your choice is from one of the 3 original favorite Pokémon…Bulbesaur,  Squirtle or Sandshrew. I describe more about this this a little further down, by the illustration of the 3 starters. It really doesn’t matter which one you choose…just pick the one you like the looks of best.

The Main Objective of Playing PokemonGo is Simply to Catch Pokémon

A By Product is Learning to Manage Large Numbers of Pokémon

In its simplest form, the main way of playing PokemonGo is that as players move around the world they catch Pokémon. Many people have as their ultimate goal the desire to catch or evolve one of each kind of a Pokémon. There are already a lot of Pokémon and more new ones keep being introduced into the game too, to keep higher level players challenged and interested.

This catching aspect is one of the most important aspects of the game, so for many players, especially very young players, it’s essentially the only aspect of the game. In addition, each and every time you catch a Pokémon you get some of that Pokemon’s candy too as well as stardust, which is another important game resource.

This means that overtime you will tend to accumulate a lot of Pokémon. This is especially true because oftentimes people will catch multiple versions of that same Pokémon for the candy and stardust, and also hoping to catch a very high level one that will be the one they will choose to evolve when the time is right. But as your inventory of Pokémon begins to grow unruly due to its large size, the game gives players a good way of resolving this problem.

Transferring Pokémon means that you can ‘return’ some of them…usually the lower level ones…and you receive more candy in exchange. This candy is an important bonus too, because most everything in PokemonGo revolves around 2 items. Candy and Stardust are game resources which you try to accumulate as much as possible of. Both items are needed in fairly significant quantities to either evolve Pokémon to their higher levels or ‘to power them up‘ to make them as strong as possible for battles or Raids.

Why Do Players Want Higher Forms of Pokémon?

Because of 2 Very Important Aspects of the Game…Battles & Raids

The main reason players want to have every kind of Pokemon in all of it’s forms…on up to even it’s highest form, (really it’s the highest forms that are the most sought after,) is because of 2 main aspects of playing PokémonGo. One of those is to win battles in gyms and the other is to win Raid battles.

Before I discuss battling in greater detail however, I have a strong sense that many parent’s will want, or maybe even demand reassurance right about now.

Battles Aren’t What You Think!

They Aren’t A Negative or Worrisome Factor in PokémonGo in the Least!

PokémonGo battles are far from violent. They have a lot more to do with your child’s cognitive prowess than they do with their ‘battle’ savviness, their propensity towards aggression, or any other negative fighting connotations one may be worried about. Simply put…there is nothing about the ‘battle’ experience’ which resembles what we think of as a battle in the real world.

Battling is simply a mechanism for providing additional resources in the game. Those resources are experience and Poke Coins. Experience is important because players earn experience points, and it’s those points which allow them to move to higher levels in the game. But, it’s easy to move up with no battle experience what-so-ever!

When I did finally, cautiously approach the battle aspect, I discovered that success in battles is really quite easy…much easier than I’d believed. This in part is because of a massive update Niantic made to the game which changed much about how the battling system functioned with the aim of making it easier for newbies. That was when I decided to give Battles a try.

I also discovered that the one aspect that can be really challenging about battles, but doesn’t need to be if one chooses to ignore it completely, is that battling can require a lot of high level thinking and planning. This part really surprised me…especially in terms of the advanced mathematics that players were using to ascertain relevant ‘power’ and ‘standings’ information. PokemonGo can be an incredibly complex game to learn strategy-wise. The math I saw being used was calculus, and the formulas that players were deriving were incredible.

But even something as simple as knowing who and when to battle can involve much more strategy than the actual battle itself.

One reason that PokemonGo is so cool is because the game can be many different things to many different people…all who are playing it at many different levels! Yet they can all play together and have fun together!

How to Battle in PokemonGo

When I first began playing PokemonGo I had absolutely no interest in the battle aspect. And the cool thing about PokémonGo is that many players don’t…they just like to collect Pokémon. At some point however I grew a little bored so despite warnings from younger generations, I decided to give it a go anyway.

I might not have learned how to battle as quickly as kids today would…but really, there wasn’t all that much to learn…at least about the mechanics or the physical aspects of battling.  In fact what I think took me the longest was simply learning how to physically battle. Nothing that I found explained the physical mechanics of how to battle. I don’t know if it’s because I’m dense, or if it was due to my lack of experience playing video games…but it took me several weeks after I decided I wanted to try out battling to figure out how to go about doing it. Several Google search’s and reading many articles didn’t help one bit. I didn’t want to know strategy…I just needed to know what to do once a battle began. I was so surprised once I finally figured it out and couldn’t believe anyone could have doubted my, or really anyone’s ability to battle…because there’s really nothing to it at all!

A Video Example of a Battle from Start to Finish is Shown Below

The way a player battles is by choosing the Pokémon he wants to use for the battle…which is the tougher part. Then a player just hits a button which says something like ‘Begin a New Battle.’  That icon looks like this:

Once the battle has begun a player just taps his/her phone screen really quickly with one finger. If that finger gets tired you can switch it. Sometimes, but not always, it’s helpful to throw in a few short ‘finger slides’ back and forth across the screen amidst the taps too. That’s called dodging. Knowing when to do this is useful, and is also one of the tougher, cognitive aspects I have yet to master. It has something to do with yellow flashes of light…I forget truthfully…so I doubt it’s very important.

My clueless style of battling is almost always successful and I can take down whole gyms easily all by myself in record time…all without understanding how to successfully dodge!  I can also win most mid-level Raids alone…which is just a battle too when it boils down to it. So, my inability to perceive what’s going on beyond the basic ‘my guy is expiring faster or slower than the opponents’ doesn’t appear to matter much. I’m currently at Level 34 out of 40, so you can see that a player can get quite far not knowing very much at all!

Below is a great example of a PokémonGo Gym Battle

Sometimes during a battle you should stop tapping your finger to do a long finger-press instead. It used to be that you did this when a green bar at the top of the screen ‘filled up’…now this icon is located at the bottom of the ‘battle screen.’ It looks a little different for different Pokémon but it’s always a pretty obvious button that changes appearance when it’s time to use it. So, when that appears quit tapping and tap on that instead until it ‘greys out’ again. Keep an eye on it so when it’s  available again you can use it. It’s more powerful that your regular ‘finger tapping’ attacks.

Understanding the intricacies of this special, more powerful move is much more challenging than simply employing its use. Because it’s use just requires a long finger-press…employing it is the easy part!  A total battle may last about 2 minutes, and this special move may become available for use 3 times or so per battle. But you can still win the battle even if you don’t use these special moves…it may just taken you a little longer to do it!

Why Battle in PokemonGo?

What is the Purpose of Battles? What’s Gained or Lost by Participating?

There are different kinds of battles in PokemonGo. Depending upon the kind of battle it is will determine what the actual reasons for the battle are.

There are 2 Kinds of Battles and 2 Main Reasons for Those Battles

The 1st kind of battle is a ‘Regular Gym Battle.’ The main function of this kind of battle is so that players can take over and control a gym. By doing so, players can earn money and experience points.

Gym battles were originally the only kind of battle in PokemonGo. When a player takes over a gym they actually have a very good chance of earning real money! That’s right…I was shocked too…you can earn real money playing PokemonGo!!! That, in my mind is the main reason for taking over a gym.

OK…it’s not entirely real money per se, that you earn, but rather it’s Poke Coins. But these Poke Coins do translate into real money because you can use them in lieu of real money. In fact, Poke Coins are the only kind of in-game currency that player’s can use to buy themselves supplies or useful items.

About Poke Coins, the PokeShop and Spending Money In-Game

Poke Coins differ from candy and stardust in that those are resources in the game which are earned, saved and spent like currency, but they are spent on improving Pokémon exclusively. Whereas Poke Coins are spent to buy resources for use by players to help advance them in the game quicker. Things like Poke Balls, Incubators, and Lucky Eggs…etc. These are all tools that a player can purchase to improve their chances of advancing quickly.

It’s very important to note however that buying things is neither necessary nor encouragedwell, at least not encouraged a lot!

The PokémonGo Shop

The PokemonGo Shop is an in-game menu item that I didn’t even know existed for a very long time. Once I did initially things didn’t change much. But then I think, Niantics realized that selling the occasional ‘Gift Box’ which includes a chosen assortment of regular PokemonGo shop items, at a small discount because they are packaged together, encouraged more sales. So they began offering Gift Boxes with greater frequency. Because they did improve the overall cost of items, I’d sometimes get them if I needed the items anyway.

Then I noticed that Niantics began offering Gift Boxes with much greater frequency. Concurrently they’ve also begun holding many more ‘game events’ which keep people interested in playing the game and keep it exciting.

Someone at Niantics probably figured out that by offering Gift Boxes with items that were especially useful for events, and making the events themselves somewhat structured around one or more items available in the PokeShop, sales at the PokeShop rose significantly. I certainly noticed that my own frequency of buying things began to increase with the advent of Gift Boxes.

So, there is now a subtle form of encouragement in the occasional ‘sales’ of Gift Boxes that Niantic’s offers in the PokemonGo Store. Personally I think a very good case could be made for approaching PokemonGo as a completely free game in which the only currency that’s used is currency you’ve personally earned through battling.

This isn’t a difficult stance to take because the PokemonGo game itself, is a completely free game…no matter which platform it’s played on. It can always be played for free without ever spending a dime. I know this to be true because that’s how my son’s played PokemonGo back when they did play it.

But if someone becomes very engrossed in PokemonGo, it’s entirely likely that they may deem more factors necessary or important than they really are. That kind of thinking may lead them to purchase items which will allow them to move more quickly to a higher level in the game. Things like peer pressure may contribute a lot towards this way of thinking. Since you can buy both useful things (like tools) and frivolous things (like trendy clothing) in the PokemonGo store…anyone prone towards overspending may find this aspect of the game more challenging. By the way…the clothing isn’t for Pokémon, but rather for your own in-game persona. My character, shown below, is outfitted in entirely free clothing options.

First Steps in Playing PokemonGo

The very first things that each and every new player does when they begin the game is to select:

  • a username
  • an outfit (selected from several free clothing options available)
  • a starter Pokémon – you have 3 choices that here shown in the illustration below.

I apologize because this 1st Battle explanation has ended up being quite a bit longer than I intended…but it’s allowed me to explain some other necessary concepts too.

The main gist of the first reason to battle is this. When your Pokémon takes over a gym, depending upon how long he maintains control of it, you personally earn Poke Coin credits for their effort. If they hold the gym for around a day, which is the most typical  scenario, then you’ll earn around $.50. This $.50 appears as a credit in your store account where it can be used to buy items like tools or clothing in the Poke Store.

The 2nd Reason to Battle: is to capture very high powered Pokémon. Sometimes these Pokémon are called Legendaries. Legendaries are the best of the best.

The 2nd main reason for battles is to get the chance to capture high leveled Pokémon. This is done in a special kind of battle called a Raid Battle. Oftentimes when you battle these very high level Pokémon, you need to do it with other players, because they are just too powerful to beat all alone. If a Raid Battle is won by a groupt of players, then each player who participated is given a chance to capture that same high level Pokémon. These can be the epitome of the best Pokémon. Since these kinds of Pokémon are highly sought after, they can be what entice non-battling players to begin battleing…at least that’s what happened in my case! But I’m really glad that occurred too. Because, then I knew, once and for all, that all those younger generation members telling me I couldn’t battle we’re completely wrong. I found out just how easy battling really is and also learned that the most difficult aspect of battling is really the thinking, strategizing and pre-planning that’s necessary for consistent successes.

Someday there may be battles where your Pokémon can battle that of a friend

Niantic his promised this aspect for a long time, but it’s been two years now or rather almost 2 years, and it hasn’t happened yet so I’m not holding my breath.

What’s All This Business About Trainers and Training?

I’m glad you asked that question, because it was something that confused me at first too. Essentially all players are considered Pokémon trainers. The reason is because as they capture Pokémon, they can improve those Pokémon (and their powers) by making them stronger (via power ups) or evolving them. That’s why players are called Pokémon trainers.

This concept of training is carried out much more elaborately and throughout all aspects of the game…so the ‘training’ terminology is used much more than it’s reality would seem to dictate.

Examining the Past:  How has the Game Changed Since its Introduction

To say that the PokémonGo game has changed from what it once was when it first came out in July 2016 would be an understatement of pretty large proportions. The game has drastically changed however at the same time, many of its base elements do remain the same.

So what exactly has changed about the game?

Well, one huge change was the introduction of Raid battles, which I talked briefly about earlier. Another huge change is Niantic’s motivation and interest in introducing new and exciting events which act to keep users’ interested and excited about the game. This might be even more surprising given that one of their first few attempts at this resulted in utter and abysmal failure. I’m referring of course to the first ever PokemonGo Festival held in Chicago in the summer of 2017. I can attest to how awful it really was…because I was there…for the whole long sad event.


Raids, as I mentioned above are group battles in gyms. One or more people can battle a super powerful version of 1 Pokémon in order to get the opportunity to catch that same (or really a very similar version of) that Pokémon. So,the 2 main advantages of participating in Raids is that you gain a lot of experience points and, if you beat the Raid boss (the super powerful Pokémon) then you get the chance to catch and keep it for yourself. There is much, much more information about Raids and beginniners can’t participate in them until they reach a certain level. The last I heard it was level 20…but this level has been lowered several times, so who knows what it will be when you read this. I ran across this excellent video the other day which presents a very complete, albeit possibly slightly outdated description of Raids and Raid Battles. The video should appear at the top of this article.

Community Days

Perhaps one of the most important of these new events is one I already mentioned  that’s called Community Day. Since I discuss this event above, I won’t go into more detail here. Suffice it to say that Community Day does truly offer something for everyone. For players who are somewhat house-bound like myself (because I’m the recipient of a brand new hip) less global activities and advantages are offered that mean I can still enjoy some of the aspects of Community Day that make it a worthwhile endeavor for me too.

Oftentimes the GamePress website writes a Community Day Guide. Here’s a link to their Community Day Guide for Saturday May 19th. It’s not that  Community Days are so complicated they need their own guide rather it’s because Niantic includes features for each day which, if capitalized upon, can really help to improve a players overall standing within the game.  So the guides are intended to educate players about those kinds of possibilities.


A third and the most recent new PokemonGo feature is called Quests.


Quests are the newest innovation. They were designed to get players more engaged in the game during off times when there’s not much other incentive to play, as well as to teach many players more about the game. Most people fall into a repetitive pattern of game play and don’t really wander outside of their comfort zone.  But the game itself is quite deep.  It has more to offer than most players realize. I’ve definitely explored it a lot more since I was housebound for a good length of time following my THR (total hip replacement,) and  Quests were introduced.

Yet I still have a long way to go to complete the first Quest, as you can see by the screenshot below. There has since been a 2nd Quest introduced and soon a third one will be available because there will be a new quest each month. Let’s just hope players that aren’t done don’t lose their progress and can still compete the ones that they are on! Because…until I see my 10th ghost type Pokémon…I’m not going anywhere Quest-wise!


There have been many more minor and even a few major modifications to the game in the last two years, but the ones I’ve discussed, in my opinion, have had the most impact and are most important to new players currently. The overall take away from this should be:

Niantic appears to be vested in both the game’s future success and it’s player’s wellbeing.   For players this isn’t a bad position to be in. Especially if you’re like me and aren’t really much of a video game player… but are playing just this one video game. 

Nintendo Released a PokémonGo Plus Device to Help Players Catch More Pokémon

There are so many aspects to the game that I just can’t cover in this one short post. One of them is this device that Nintendo, who’s a partner with Niantics in their PokémonGo game, came out with about a year after the game was launched. Naturally I had to have one but then I couldn’t figure out how to attach it to its wristband. So I made this YouTube video demonstrating how to attach it when I figured it out.


In addition to the PokémonGo Plus (retailing for $35) which Niantics appears to be phasing out in favor of a new, more expensive device called Poke Ball Plus, $49.99, that’s coming out in November 2018,  you can also use Apple Watch to log walking miles for hatching eggs and getting notified when Pokemon or Pokestops are close by.

Conclusion |  A Bright Future For Players & Game Alike

That, in a nutshell, really explains the entire game. While there actually is much more to it in terms of nuances and details, those factors are really all of the more complex cognitive ones that I keep alluding to. The game can really become quite complex and require really high levels of thinking for players to figure out the best possible options for their Pokémon and their situation.

In fact I was really stunned by how much more cognitively demanding this game, which was my first video game ever, actually is.

Below: Some Pokémon Rumored to be at GoFest 2018 this Summer.

Players can spend hours upon hours researching their Pokémon, their hidden potentials, the moves that they’re capable of making in battles, the different categories of Pokémon and how they interact and impact each other, their inherent values which can determine ultimately how powerful a Pokémon may become, and their levels, which even I don’t fully understand yet. Those and  a whole host of other complex factors can strongly factor into a player’s success in the game. Yet none of this really deep strategizing, nor any of those complex factors are really necessary for a player to compete and do well.

It’s more like this. The complexity is there and can be really useful for people who are inclined to take advantage of it, and who want to use their brains to their fullest by strategizing to improve their chances in the game. While I don’t know this for a fact, I suspect that most video games follow this same structure and offer this degree of complexity if  desired. Most video games may allow many different types of game play and may provide intricate and complex back stories that can demand good quantitive skills. Certainly it’s been true in my experience that the population that’s most often attracted to video games is the same one that likes to delve into and manipulate the many faceted layers for their own betterment.

The fact that PokemonGo is able to provide this kind of flexibility probably explains it’s huge mass appeal. That PokemonGo can essentially be many different kinds of games for many different kinds of players, all while providing a new and unique augmented reality experience using hardware that literally everyone carries around in their pocket or purse anyway, makes the mass attraction even more understandable. When one factors in even newer phenomenon…things like how utterly friendly, welcoming and inclusive the PokémonGo community as a whole has proven to be, it makes complete sense that once the initially sky rocketing total number of player’s settled into their lower but much more consistent ongoing total number of players…these numbers have remained fairly constant over time.

When Raids were new at PokémonGo Fest in Chicago

When Raids were new at PokémonGo Fest in Chicago

Just Get Up and Go

That’s PokemonGo’s motto. Another big advantage of the game is that it definitely pushes players who wouldn’t think otherwise to go outdoors on their own, to get outside and get some exercise. This has been a huge benefit for me…but there is one drawback too. My posture has been bad for a couple years and it got worse before my hip replacement. I thought after the surgery it might improve all on its own. In some ways it has, because pain was one reason for the slouching…but it hasn’t improved as far as PokémonGo is concerned. I recently realized that playing the game outside with my poor vision and the sun and elements has led to my hunching over my phone even more! I think it’s to get closer to my cellphone screen just to see it (I have awful vision and fairly advanced cataracts too,) as well as to block out the sun and wind which makes my eyes water! So I really should cut back on my game play while I retrain my posture to be more upright! Who woulda guessed!

One thing is certain…PokemonGo isn’t going anywhere. Nor is the game even in any kind of danger, despite the dire predictions one oftentimes hears. That is what makes this the perfect time for my quintessential guide. It also makes it the perfect time to extend an open invitation to anyone who may have felt that they missed the PokémonGo bandwagon the first time around or who didn’t even hear about it back then!

I have one last thing I’d like to mention. There is a large and thriving YouTube Community who supports the game significantly. You can learn almost everything about playing the game from watching their videos. This community occurred organically, and Niantic has wisely embraced them and incorporated this aspect into the game as a whole. One of my favorite YouTubers  is Nick from Trainer Tips. I love his modest yet extremely knowledgeable presentations and the fact that he’s constantly striving to improve his channel, his artistry and himself in the process.

It sort of boggles my mind that there can be so many 20-something players who appear to be making a decent living by playing PokemonGo 24/7 and broadcasting their progress as they educate players. Most of the successful ones travel extensively, so watching their videos is sort of a travelogue kind of adventure too. But that fact means they are incurring lots of travel expenses too…yet they seem to be supporting themselves and even their extensive travelling with the income from their Channels.

Since I also have a Youtube channel that recently underwent every YouTuber’s most dreaded fear…demonitization…I know how much work is involved and how taxing that lifestyle can be. So I enthusiastically support their efforts and greatly admire their entrepreneurial spirits!

In the big picture, PokémonGo is a super easy, fun, free, challenging and worthwhile game in so many more ways than I ever could have appreciated had it not been left to fate!

If you are at all interested in the game and have hesitated to join in on the gameplay I hope that my Guide has convinced you to give it a try.


Please feel free to leave comments by scrolling down just past my bio box.

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About vsajewel

Hi...I'm the author of 2 main blogs on WordPress...vsatips...where I write tech tips for mobile devices...primarily ios...2nd is vsatrends...where I write less about tech things and more about everything else. I also host a YouTube channel which I use to better illustrate some of the 'how to's' in my posts. I love everything about technology. Currently, my main interests/platforms are ios, Windows and Amazon Echo. Recently I decided we were spending way too much money with our local cable provider. So I decided to cut the cord. There is a definite learning curve, especially the antennae part, but we successfully did that and are now saving a boatload of money, so I write some about that. I also am extremely conscientious about security because of an event my family endured , so I write a lot about that too. Two sub-categories of security I tend to focus on are the password manager Dashlane and Hardware Firewalls. Last, I take a lot of notes and have been a beta tester for Evernote for many years. I love Evernote! In recent years Apple has beefed up Apple Notes a it’s become a fairly serious note long as its OK if you lose or mess up all your Apple note data. I write about those 2 note platforms primarily.
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