4 Tips for Pokémon GO Safety and Success

Pokemon Go logoI’ve been playing Pokémon GO, the altered reality, mobile app-based game that’s taken (most of) the world by storm, almost since the game was first released in the United States. I’ve managed to reach level 17 so far, caught tons of Pokémon, and have had a lot of fun playing the game. Here are four tips for playing the game, based on my own experience:

1.) It’s OK to take your eyes off the screen: Pokémon GO naysayers have evoked a zombie meme when referring to players of the game. And while it’s not brains Pokémon GO players are after, there is something accurate about this portrayal, as players can sometimes be seen mindlessly making their way to a nearby PokéStop with little awareness of their surroundings. But it really is OK to take your eyes off the screen when hunting for Pokémon. Just make sure your device’s volume is turned up and/or the device’s vibrate function is on. Then you can hold the device at your side while walking. This may save precious battery life, as certain devices will automatically dim the screen when they’re put into this position, it’ll also free up your eyes to do what they’re supposed to – look forward into the world you’re moving thru.

2.) Stay out of the way of traffic: Of course you want to be sure to not wander into a multilane highway while playing Pokémon GO. But it’s not just vehicle traffic you want to avoid. You need to also be mindful of pedestrians, bicyclists, and other types of movement around you. So when the 100th Pidgey of the day pops up, take a few steps out of the way if you’re on a sidewalk, or duck into a nearby doorway instead of blocking traffic, before you try catching that Pokémon.

3.) It’s OK to trash things in your bag: I absolutely hate wasting resources in video games. And while Pokémon GO may have an inexhaustible supply of Zubats, the game doesn’t provide players with an Infinite Bag of Holding. Hit enough PokéStops and you’ll inevitably get the annoying “Your bag is full” message. At this point you’ll want to assess all of the items you’re carrying and jettison some of them in order to make room for more important stuff. But what’s “important” in the game will vary at any given time from player to player. If you’re not yet ready to battle at Poké Gyms, then having a bag full of potions is a waste. And if you’re more interested in gym battles than catching new Pokémon, you can drop Poké Balls in favor of healing and revive potions. And of course, if you don’t mind spending real-world money, you can always buy a bag upgrade. Still, I’ve found that keeping a balanced amount of potions and Poké Balls is possible as long as you don’t mind trashing extra potions or cutting back on the number of Razz Berries in your inventory.

4.) Treat the Pokédex as your true Pokémon collection: Pokémon GO has a few ways to keep track of the monsters you’ve encountered in the game. The first time you catch any Pokémon, it’s added to your Pokédex, where you can see statistics and other information about the Pokémon. All Pokémon catches are also noted in your journal. And finally, the Pokémon themselves are stored in your backpack. And while it might be tempting to hang onto every last Rattata and Nidoran, that could cause you to use all of your available storage slots rather quickly. Instead, consider the Pokédex to be the ultimate collection of Pokémon you’ve caught, keeping one or two of the highest-level of each Pokémon you’ve caught in your backpack and transferring the rest to Professor Willow for valuable Pokémon candy.

Are you playing Pokémon GO? Share your own tips and strategies in the comment section below.