Mate Hegyhati

Embrace the hype: Pokémon GO (and Running)




If You have been on the internet lately, You could not have missed the hype around the new Pokémon game: Pokémon GO. For most of the fans this is a game, that brings VR as an additional fun factor to the existing Pokémon universe. For me, it is a game, that has the potential to be an entertaining partner for some of the less exciting running sessions, like Zombies run! 

Before going any further, I have to state, that although I watched some of the episodes of the anime, I have never read the manga or played any of the games. Thus, I will may miss some stuff, that is super-fantastic for hardcore fans, sorry about that. 

Anyhow, the basic concept of the game is pretty  simple: go around Your neighborhood to find Pokémons and catch 'em all! As I said, I don't know anything about the previous games (they were not such a big thing in Hungary), but it seems, that Nintendo always had this "sinister" intention to bring kids out from their bedrooms to play.

Now, let's finally talk about the game. Installation was swift, and I quickly managed to set up my apprentice. The first Pokémon was a gift, I did not even had to move, and I got Charmander:


I had no time to go around with the  game for a couple of days, but yesterday I had a long run, and the slow-pace relaxing run planned for today was perfect, so I brought my phone with myself. The first thing to notice is the loading screen. Respect to Nintendo, as this is used for a very important safety instruction and not some advertisement:


I can easily imagine people clashing with each other and objects while looking for PokéStops and Pokémons. The next thing is the map view where I can see myself on the map, and the surrounding:


The little blue stuffs are called PokéStops, and these are the places where You can get extra Pokéballs and some other stuff (like eggs). These usually are related to an important building, memorial, etc. Below is an example, where I got 3 balls and 1 egg at the so-called "Teddy-castle".



Let me emphasize here, that this game also makes You know the city better. Even during this short run, I found a beautiful statue on the wall of a house, that I've never ever noticed before, despite running below it all the time. So kudos for that too. 

Then, sometimes my phone vibrated, and let me know, that there is a Pokémon nearby to be caught. Since I've not reached level 5, I could not yet test the arena for matches. However, maybe it is just the beginning, but the gameplay seemed pretty easy, I reached level 4 during the first 5 kilometers, and got  9 Pokémons,  8 eggs, and  134 Pokéballs.



It is also interesting, that eggs can be hatched by getting some miles done.

So, for the first glance, it seems, that the game is nice and whatnot, but the important question remains:

Is it a good game for running?! - Well, kind of, let me elaborate.

You have to be close to a PokéStop or a Pokémon to get the balls / catch them. Then, You have to tap on them, flip the image of the Stop / throw balls at the Pokémon. When You succeed, there are still some "after work" to do. For example, when You catch a Pokémon, there is an animation, than You have to tap on one info tab, then an other to get back to the map:


All of these obviously take time, and I have not found an option to turn them off. Even if I use an app for running I don't like to stop all the time. So after the first few PokéStops I was kind of disappointed, that too many interactions are needed, the Stops are too frequent, and I basically don't run at all. I know, the app was meant for walking, so I'm not complaining. Moreover, later on I realized that:
  • I will be full of Pokéballs anyhow, so it does not matter if I don't stop at all of them. 
  • After a little practice, I learned, that if I tap on the stop when I'm closing, and I roll the picture quickly, I don't even need to stop at all. 
  • Same goes for Pokémons, but there I need to throw balls at them, where I guess I should pay attention. Again, maybe it is only like this on the lower levels, but even if I was not looking at the screen (remember: paying attention to the surroundings), I managed to catch them in one or two tries. 
So basically, farming (collecting Pokémons, Pokéballs, eggs, hatching eggs) can be done while running. It is not much fun, gets boring probably after a while, but still manageable. Having matches (that I guess is the more challenging and interesting part of the gameplay) will probably be not an option during running. 

So, my final verdict is, that I definitely like the game, I'll definitely continue playing it for a short while at least. It is now mostly meant for walking, but running is also ok for farming resources. It is not very comfortable though to keep the phone in our hands, screen on, etc, but there is a special accessory being developed, the Pokémon GO Plus, which will probably help on this. So, I recommend You to try it, even if You have never ever heard of Pokémon before.





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Mate Hegyhati

About Mate Hegyhati

Amateur fun runner, geek, hiker.