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Pointers on playing Pokemon Go
How to make the most of augmented reality game craze
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Sean Myers, 19, gets ready to move to a new location while playing Pokemon Go Saturday at the amphitheater on the University of North Georgia’s Gainesville Campus in Oakwood. - photo by Erin O. Smith

Pokemon glossary

Pokéballs: When you catch a Pokémon, they are kept in red and white balls called pokéballs.

Pokéstops: A designated spot for refueling your bag with pokéballs, healing potions and eggs. Some Pokéstops in Gainesville include: The Times office, the Vietnam War memorial, the Brenau Downtown Center, the courthouse, several churches and other places on the Brenau University campus.

Incense: A tool in the game used to lure Pokémon to your location for 30 minutes.

Lure module: Like incense, but the lure module attaches to a Pokéstop and can be used by everyone.

Eggs: Some rare types of Pokémon can be hatched from eggs. To hatch the egg, you must either walk 2, 5 or 10 kilometers, depending on the egg.

Razz berries: Used to catch difficult Pokémon and can be picked up from Pokéstops.

Gyms: A place where users go to fight Pokémon against each other. Some local gyms include: Brenau University’s tiger sculpture, the middle of the square and the Free Chapel North campus church.

Prestige: Related to gyms. If a gym has high prestige points, it is harder to take over for your team. You can also add your Pokémon to your team’s gym if the gym has enough points.

Potions: Used to heal Pokémon after gym battles.

Unless you were a kid in the 1990s, chances are you don’t know what this “Pokémon Go” craze is all about. But if you grew up with the Japanese cartoon characters, there’s a good chance you are playing the augmented reality game recently released for cellphones.

The game itself allows users to live out their childhood fantasies that they would someday be able to catch their own creatures such as Ash Ketchum, one of the main characters in the show.

Playing the game is easy enough. You download the app on your phone and sign in using a Google account or Pokemon trainer sign-in.

Once you’ve done that, you can customize your character. Hint: If you know which team you’re going to join, coordinate your outfit colors wisely because you won’t be able to change it later in the game.

Next, go exploring. You might not have to go far, because most Pokemon show up quickly. The game’s interface looks like a GPS map and creatures will appear. To catch them, simply click on the Pokemon, which will open a new window and your front-facing camera, and flick the pokeball toward it. If you hit the Pokemon with the ball, it should capture it. If not, try again.

All in all, the app has been praised for getting people off their couches and outside while being criticized for luring people into dangerous situations.

“(The Gainesville square) is well-lit, it’s safe,” said Angel Blackwell, a 25-year-old player of the game. “Just don’t be stupid. If anyone tried anything, someone would help.”

Blackwell is one of many Go players who huddle around areas of the downtown square where ample “Pokéstops” are located (see glossary for term definitions). The square, as well as the University of North Georgia Gainesville campus, are two of the most populated areas. The Mall of Georgia in Buford is also an area where gamers like to convene.

However, the UNG Gainesville campus is now closed to players after dark, so stick to the square for playing after the sun has gone down.

“Most Pokémon come out at night,” 15-year-old Daphne Herrera said.

Herrera, an Oakwood resident, came to the square recently fully dressed in a Pikachu onesie. Pikachu is arguably the most recognizable Pokémon for people who aren’t familiar with the series.

“The busiest times are lunch and dinner times,” Herrera said.

If you want to have an easier time catching them all, which is one object of the game, try for unusual times of the day, such as early in the morning or late at night when less people play if your goal is to catch all 151.

“I hear Brenau has a lot (of Pokémon),” Blackwell said.

She and her friend Melanie Majors, 23, have been coming to the square to catch Pokémon almost every night since the game launched July 6.

“It has become my routine,” Majors said.

The two women bring their phone chargers to plug into the electrical outlets on the lampposts.

“It’s important to keep your phone charged, so you don’t miss anything,” she said.

If you want to explore other areas, always take a designated driver to allow one person to play the game and the other person to drive.

And don’t always go to the most obvious places, such as the square and university campuses.

UNG student Gibram Herrera caught a Blastoise, a rare Pokémon, while driving through a neighborhood in Gainesville. He said if you have on incense (which lures Pokemon to your location), then you should move around and not stay in the same spot.

“If you walk 100 kilometers, you’ll catch tier-one Pokémon,” Gibram Herrera said. “If you go 300 kilometers, you’ll catch tier-two. But if you go 500 kilometers, you’ll get rare ones.”

Another suggestion he offered was to hit gyms with a low prestige. They’re easier to take over, he said.

You should also find people who are on your team to take over gyms with, he said. Three teams are part of the game: Team Mystic (blue), Team Instinct (yellow) and Team Valor (red). Gyms are owned by one team at a time, but any team can take over a gym.






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