Monday, 18 July 2016

BIMU Reviews: PokéMom

I admit it - I was very hesitant to download "Pokémon Go"- the latest viral psycho trend of running around with your phone or tablet (with a good internet connection) to catch imaginary virtual monsters.

First of all - it wasn't available in Finland until 3 days ago.
Then there was the fear of hackers targeting Android phones, even though I have an iPhone - I was worried because iPhones are popular as well!  Well, turned out the hackers were targeting those that created accounts and used a mirrored version and not a true version of the game.
Then there was also the fear of e-mails being hacked.

Simple - I made a separate GMail account for the Pokémon Go game.  So if it does get hacked - I'm not too fussed.
(Dear hackers - please don't!)

Fun fact: I don't really run - this is my avatar while I'm on a bus! :D
Of course, there's the common sense factor - people are getting seriously hurt and have the nerve to blame the game.  Common sense folks - don't let your kid play (or yourself) if you're so distracted - you forget that cars/trucks/buses/bicycles and other transportation vehicles can kill or seriously hurt you if you're not paying attention!

Hand in hand with the common sense factor - is the respect others factor.  I've read of people complaining about their gardens being trampled or property invaded for the sake of some imaginary virtual pets.
One comment I received on my Facebook page, was the pure disgust of lack of respect for special properties like places of worship (i.e. Churches) or protected environments.  That's also not cool - potentially destroying or invading those kinds of places where calm and peace is necessary/expected.

The first day Finland got PG - the servers crashed and I couldn't create an account.
The second day, it was sporadic and I had to delete and reinstall it minimum 40x (call me crazy but I really wanted to see what the hype was about) because it kept freezing or my Pokéball got frozen mid toss or whatever.

Today's day 3 - I had longer sessions and am super happy with the game.

Bear in mind, this is based on MY experience and based on using the common sense factor and respect others factor too.

I have found a way to bond with my kids. Sure, we hike, we go grocery shopping and whatnot. But the big difference between playgrounds (at least for mine) - and playing this Pokémon scavenger hunt - is that my kids go further and do more running around than they would at a playground.  They also get bored at the local smaller ones pretty fast.

Let's break down my family:
Milo: NOT caring.

  • Hubster - nearing 40 and doesn't understand Poké he thinks it's weird that I'm 30 and running around doing this.
  • Me - 30 and I grew up with Pokémon cards and whatnot - so I was quite excited about it!
  • V-Man - non-verbal autistic kiddo nearing 7 and doesn't understand Pokémon either.  HOWEVER!  He loves to walk around aimlessly (usually with the hopes of ice-cream or a bus ride to somewhere) - so Pokémon hunting is possible with him and gives us time to just hang out, enjoy nature and I get to catch Pokémon!
  • A-Man - SLI (specific language impairment) kiddo nearing 5 and does like Pokémon and just wants me to catch a Pikachu or some frog-character.  He likes it a lot when I take a photo of the Pokémon with the AR on (so you can see your surroundings and how the Pokémon is in it via camera).  He also enjoys spinning the disc at the Pokéstops and try to find new ones and running around.
  • M-Girl - DIVA child - nearing 3 and does like Pokémon and just wants to run around.  She also expects me to take photos and show her the results of my hunting after too.  She is more into climbing, running, jumping and falling on everything she possibly can - while I try to catch Pokémon.
  • Loki & Milo - they're the dogs nearing 9 and 6 - and they frankly don't give a flying cow patty about Pokémon.  They're happy to go with me and that's great and everything - except Milo is a barker and it's a hassle to walk around and catch Pokémon with him lunging...

    Part of me wonders if Milo can see them and that's why he barks for "nothing"... ;) 
So how do I play Pokémon?
  • I don't look like I'm playing unless I have kids with me.  If I'm solo - I have headphones and look like I'm texting people most likely.
  • On the way to the bus stop - I turn it on and let it do it's thing.  I have the music OFF and just the vibrating and the sound effects - so I know when a Pokémon is approaching me.
    Otherwise, my phone is in my pocket until I hear that approaching sound or the sound of a nearby Pokéstop (usually monuments, important places or distinguished places - like graffiti/playgrounds/public buildings).
  • When crossing streets, I don't use my phone anyway.  If anyone texted me or called me - they can wait.  The safety of myself, the drivers and my family is more important.  
  • Regarding battery life - yes, it sucks battery like mosquitoes suck blood.
    BUT! I bought a power bank/external battery pack (I needed one anyway) and charge it at night, so it's ready to use whenever I need it.  If I know I'll be in a shop and there's no decent GPS connection - I just shut off my location and that preserves my battery.
  • I catch them all!  A friend told me you can TRANSFER duplicate Pokémon you've caught (open up the Pokémon's profile and scroll down and click TRANSFER!  You won't get it back but you do get candy in exchange to help evolve others).  This helps save you space and I recommend transferring the LOWEST CP (Combat Power level) because if you have a level 10 versus a level 130 - why bother training the lower one when the higher leveled Pokémon has already surpassed the basics?
  • I walk more.  This is the biggest thing for me.  I rely on the bus for fastest transportation and I have started going earlier to the bus stop to try to collect more Pokémon and hit up the stops I know of nearest to my bus stop.  
  • If you want to hatch eggs - you need to WALK WALK WALK! - hence the one above.  To hatch the egg - they need to be incubated and from there, so many kilometers need to be reached before they hatch.  Then I load another egg in there and keep going!  It's a great motivator and no, treadmills might not be so easy, nor in a car etc.
  • If I am catching one (or trying to) - I move to the side.  It's not nice blocking whole sidewalks so you can try to catch Pokémon.  It's also dangerous because here for example, people can and do cycle on the sidewalks.
  • I'm not the Pokémom that's going to go completely out of my way to catch one.  I see all these parents driving their kids around or messes in places like Central Park?!  Um no.  Kids - we don't have a car, so we go where the bus goes if it's on the route and that's that.  I'm not going to go across country to play this game.
Pros of playing PG?
  • Nostalgia - any kid that grew up with Pokémon has always dreamed of being able to really catch those virtual pets in real life.  
  • Exercise - I don't go completely out of my way to hit up the stops or find Pokémon.  I go along my route with some mild extensions.  But I find myself walking more downtown than I normally would!
    • You can't cheat and shake your phone repeatedly like you can with a fitness tracker watch.  Because of the GPS built into it - if you want to catch Pokémon - or hit up the stops - you have to get out there.
  • Education - Some of the Pokéstops have some history or explanations of the monument/statue or place - so that's pretty neat.
  • Bonding with my kids - It gives us time to run around and they use their imagination because on the phone they can see it but not in real life at the same spot.  So it's been interesting to pretend to pet the Pokémon or imagine it jumping or fighting!
    • This leads to less time inside and on the computer/tablet or television!  Same for me too!
  • It's FUN!  To me - it's getting me outside, I'm learning things about my community and getting exercise without realizing it!
  • Perhaps some day, the V-Man will be into it - and it could be used as a tool to learn new words of places, things and Pokémon even!  
  • I've read of dog shelters asking players to walk their dogs! :D  What a great way to get exercise for the dogs and volunteers!
Cons of playing PG?  (Assuming common sense and respect of others is taken into account!)
  • I haven't battled in a gym yet - so I can't comment on that for now.
  • I've heard and read of people being robbed and whatnot - that's quite scary!  Hopefully we don't encounter that.  
  • It sucks up battery life - so an external battery charger is necessary.
  • You need a good net package on your phone because WIFI isn't going to cut it inside some buildings or while outside. 
  • Some items cost REAL money but again, I haven't tried battling in a gym to earn Pokémoney or Pokécoins...I'll let you know if I ever do.
  • It's still fairly new and servers crash with the overwhelming amount of users from around the world - so for me, as an IOS user - I have to delete then reinstall it every time it crashes.  
So there you have it - I love Pokémon Go.

Sincerely yours,
BIMU - a PokéMom

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