The world’s most talked-about augmented reality critter-catching simulator is now available here in the States. By now you’ve surely installed it from your preferred app store and, hopefully, made it through the initial registration process. Maybe you’ve even caught a few Pokémon around your own home. But what do you need to do before heading out on your first full-fledged Pokémon GO hunt?
With the Pokémon GO Plus accessory still a thing of myth and mystery until its (presumed) July 31st release, figuring out what, exactly, to take along may be a bit of a chore for first-timers. So here are five must-have items to help make your first outing a success.
1. Bring Your Data Plan
Whether your preferred mobile environment is iOS or Android, Pokémon GO requires two very important things to function optimally: a strong internet connection (which Niantic describes as “Wi-Fi, 3G, or 4G”) and GPS and Location Services. This means that, in order to get the most of an outdoor adventure, you’re going to need a mobile device with a data plan.
Can’t you just hop from one Wi-Fi hotspot to another? Sure, but unless you live (and plan to stay) in an area with pervasive municipal wireless, this approach could prove problematic.
2. Bring a Friend
If you’re reading GeekDad, there’s a fair chance that you have a child or two handy. Bring ’em along!
But whether it’s another player, your go-to traveling companion, or just a pal who’s interested in watching you freak out looking for imaginary monsters, Pokémon GO hunts work better as a group activity. Ideally, having one or more additional Pokémon trainers around is the way to go, but don’t discount the importance of simply having another pair of eyes—whether it’s to help you spot wily Pokémon or to keep you from wandering into traffic.
3. Bring a Power Source
In addition to being a time sink, Pokémon GO is also a battery-eater of the highest order. If you’re out and about, you’ll want to bring some supplementary juice. If you already own an extended battery case, then good on you. If not, portable chargers are both inexpensive and… you know, portable.
4. Wear Comfortable Shoes
The deceptive thing about Pokémon GO is that you just expect to make a quick lap around the cul-de-sac before dinner. Cut to an hour later and you’re standing on top of a hill trying to remember how you even got to this part of the neighborhood.
Part of the joy of playing is that spirit of exploration. Dress accordingly.
5. Don’t Forget to Pack Your Patience
Real talk: this game has scarcely been publicly available for two days yet, and, like any hotly anticipated release, there are bound to be issues. For Pokémon GO, this can take a myriad of forms.
Primarily, it manifests as the dreaded server overload error, but that’s not all. Overall GPS squirreliness, audio issues, and what I have come to term “the spinnin’ Pokéball blues”—a processing error that, for me, seems to happen only when I’ve just successfully captured a particularly interesting Pokémon—are all frequent occurrences.
So what’s a trainer to do? Remind yourself that this is supposed to be fun. If it stops being fun? Maybe try doing something else for a while. In the immortal words of Izzy Stradlin, “take it slow and things will be just fine.”