Pokemon, no so much Go
April 6, 2021 4:22 PM   Subscribe

I got my 6-year-old into Pokemon Go, because I want to walk, and want to find a way to make walking fun for him (previously and previouslier). But it seems like when we play there's very little walking. We step out of the house, spend 5 minutes catching Pokemon, then walk the the next Pokemon, which are a half-block-away, then 5 more minutes of video games, and so on. Am I missing something? Is there a way to incorporate more walking?
posted by ManInSuit to Technology (25 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Well, hatching eggs requires actual walking, and sometimes catching Pokemon does too. Back when it came out there wasn't a reason to stand still, they've added a few more of those throughout the years. In general, 5 minutes of walking every 10 minutes is still better than nothing, but you're right in that it's not a ton of exercise :)
posted by bbqturtle at 4:43 PM on April 6 [3 favorites]

So technically once you've encountered the Pokémon you can keep walking and throwing balls at the Pokémon if you're good with a one handed flick, but that probably won't work for a 6byear old. I enjoyed it went it first came out but after the novelty wore off mostly found that it was a good walk ruined by the same pattern you describe in your question.
posted by edbles at 4:44 PM on April 6

Also as you catch more mons you won't need to stop for trash Pokémon like rattatas.
posted by edbles at 4:45 PM on April 6 [2 favorites]

If you're willing to double down on Pokemon, the little gadgets they sell (Pokemon Go Plus etc) let you click a physical button rather than do the catching on your phone screen; I find that this increases my walking-to-waiting ratio.

In-game, the radar is really the best way to do more walking (3 pokemon on a band in the lower right corner) - choose a specific pokemon to walk to, especially if you're still new enough that you're seeing silhouettes there for novel pokemon, or walk to a raid you want to fight (probably 1-star if you are new and playing solo).
posted by february at 4:57 PM on April 6 [1 favorite]

How far do you, personally, want to walk? It feels like you are overestimating the capacity and desire of a 6-year-old to go on long walks. The kid may feel like you're walking a long way, because his legs are shorter.

Maybe you should be going on separate walks; one where you walk as far and as fast as you want, and one where you go at the kid's speed and desire, and maybe you could get him a razor scooter so he can move quicker without expending as much energy.
posted by mogget at 5:17 PM on April 6 [3 favorites]

What's the reason that you're stopping for so long? From what I remember, it probably only took ~10 seconds to catch a pokemon or interact with a Pokestop, so I was definitely trying to keep moving so I could interact with new things.
posted by sagc at 5:32 PM on April 6

From home I need to walk a bit to get to the nearest Pokestop or gym. If you've got one close by then maybe make it a goal to go to one that's a bit farther. The main things I do now are just getting distance for egg hatching or candy for my buddy Pokemon. If your kid has Pokemon that they don't have enough candy to evolve then they can make that Pokemon their buddy and get candy by getting distance. Or if they've already caught and evolved them all you could make challenges like here's a Magicarp, make it your buddy and earn enough candy to evolve it (that may be a bit of an extreme challenge but you get the idea I hope).
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 6:00 PM on April 6 [1 favorite]

Yeah, try to focus on distance to hatch eggs and get buddy candy. You can sweeten the deal if you want by springing for Pokecoins to buy more incubators (more reason to walk farther) and remote raid passes (so you can do raid battles at home or at your destination instead of while trying to walk). If you’re just walking for exercise, I’d suggest picking routes that take you out and back to a place with a bunch of gyms/Pokestops. When you get there, give your kiddo 20 ish minutes to spin all the Pokestops, catch all the Pokémon, and battle at the gyms, and then head home. You can look on the gym map on your kid’s game to see nearby densely populated areas - for me it’s our small local downtown and several large parks nearby.
posted by bananacabana at 6:26 PM on April 6 [3 favorites]

Catching Pokémon quickly so you can keep walking is a learned skill, but my city has a pretty robust player community and I know a few families with kids your son’s age who are able to keep up just fine. It won’t always be five minute breaks. Plus eventually you won’t need to stop as much for the common Pokémon, like someone said above.

I agree on the focus on buddies/eggs. Also:

- The game has a lot of ~1 week events, most of which involve a series of timed challenges and special field research that can’t be done at home, so motivation to go out for more/longer

- Make some in-game friends, collect gifts by spinning Pokestops, and send each other gifts back and forth — you get stickers, extra supplies, and 7km special eggs that hatch Pokémon not available in the wild. There are a lot of ways to get friend codes online or in your local community (check Discord/FB) but be aware that friends who open your gifts can see what Pokestops they came from, which may or may not be a concern with other local players. Feel free to MeMail me and I’m happy to send gifts from Switzerland to both of you so you can get those eggs.

- Putting Pokémon in your team’s gym is the only free way to get in-game currency and can’t be done remotely. Since you’re new to the game your best bet is to find a gym already claimed by your team with a couple of slots left, which usually requires some walking and then two seconds to put them in.
posted by bettafish at 7:49 PM on April 6 [2 favorites]

I forgot to add that once you’re able to raid, you only need to stay near the gym while you’re in the lobby — once the battle starts you can fight and catch the boss while walking.
posted by bettafish at 7:51 PM on April 6

Find a local park with a loop and multiple pokestops, so you're not dealing with crossing streets, and walk the loop.
posted by stormyteal at 9:49 PM on April 6 [1 favorite]

Try walking places that kiddo hasn't been before and that have unique features. For example, if you are walking in a park with a lake/pond, there will be more water Pokemon. While you are walking you can talk about what kiddo sees/feels/experiences that could relate to what types of Pokemon they are seeing on screen. For example, if it is a sunny, warm day, there will be more fire Pokemon. Also, go for walks when there are special event days (you'll know this if you have set up notifications on your phone).
posted by wasabifooting at 3:23 AM on April 7

Response by poster: A thing I get from all these reponses is: The game is a lot more complicated than I had understood: We got about as far as "See a pokemon, throw a ball, capture the pokemon". Now I gather we need to learn about hatching eggs, buddies, gyms, pokestops, raids, battles. Phew!

I realize the way "we" have been playing the game is that mostly he plays it, as I walk with him. And he's six, so his understanding of the game play is not so deep. (Notably - he can't read, and a lot of the instructions are written)

Anyone have suggestions/experience for learning/playing along with my kid, so we can figure out how the game works? I am a total non-gamer, so this is all pretty new to me.
posted by ManInSuit at 4:56 AM on April 7

I just started playing in February. I found this to be a relatively helpful guide for a total beginner and otherwise just pester friends with questions constantly! I agree with a lot of the above comments - walking to gyms that are your team’s color can increase the walking-to-waiting ratio. And figuring out which resources are limited - I never have enough Pokeballs, so I don’t want to waste them on common or low-level Pokémon. Often I’ll go for walks where I only let myself spin Pokestops & Gyms and catch Pokémon I’ve never caught before, but I can’t stop for any Pokémon I already have. That speeds things up a bit too.

It might be worth setting it up for yourself too! I started playing because my boyfriend was always pausing like this during walks, but I’ve actually really enjoyed playing together.

If your kiddo needs some game friends to send gifts and stickers back and forth with, feel free to MeMail me!
posted by JannaK at 5:10 AM on April 7

I've been a player since day 1 (currently level 41). What usually has me stopping instead of walking is when many Pokémon appear at once, something that occurs more in areas with many Pokéstops, and less in areas with fewer. So if you can, perhaps change your route to somewhere less 'mon occur? Not clicking on the Pokémon I see gives me FOMO because they might be shiny (not all Pokémon can be shiny yet, but it seems like neither you nor your son have that list memorized), or strong, or I might need the candy for something, or fulfill a throwing or catching task.

The thing is, though, that unless your friends are really good at sending you a bunch of gifts, you need stops to get enough balls, berries, and potions, and also new eggs. (Avoid hatching a lot of 7km eggs from gifts as they mostly give very boring mons and only very few species too.)

My suggestion would be playing the game in a way that feels good to your son and not dragging him away from rare mons. At some point, he'll only want to catch the ones he really needs (for the Dex or for tasks), and prioritize egg hatching as some strong ones are only found in eggs (or have tiiiiiiiiiiiiny chances of appearing in the wild.) I also like checking my app throughout the day, or having alerts set to on (if those still work) to see if there's a super rare, or new to me, mon in the area, and then go chase that, as you have to be quick enough to get to the location before it disappears. You could also walk to raids that are farther away instead of using your remote passes - try to show up right at the beginning for higher level raids, or you'll be all again and have trouble defeating the raid boss.

FWIW, even my 70-year-old mother who NEVER plays games got really into PoGo during the lockdown and advanced pretty quickly. She still asks me a bunch of questions, but seems to really enjoy the game even if she doesn't complete each and every challenge out there. It's tougher for her because a lot of the guides (like this one; they also have a subreddit under the same name) I know aren't in a language she understands, so you're already at a huge advantage.
posted by LoonyLovegood at 7:01 AM on April 7 [1 favorite]

Play somewhere with fewer Pokestops (outside the city). That's the only solution. When I play Pokemon Go with my 7 year old, our walks slow to crawls.

Also, eyes glued to screens while sleepwalking is probably not what you had in mind when you got the game to make walking fun. But that's Pokemon Go.

Yes, Pokemon Go has many fun functionalities, but none of them improve the walking / stopping / actually experiencing nature ratio.
posted by Omnomnom at 8:13 AM on April 7

The thing is, though, that unless your friends are really good at sending you a bunch of gifts, you need stops to get enough balls, berries, and potions, and also new eggs.

Yes, this is why you have to walk. You can catch the creatures anywhere, but you need an outing to gather balls and stuff.

I think it would be great if you also played. Two people in the same household can do much more, more easily. Most of my friends who play are moms who started playing with their kids.
posted by BibiRose at 9:00 AM on April 7 [1 favorite]

As far as concrete suggestions on how to play together, don't let it get too complicated. All you really need to do is collect balls and use them to catch pokemon. Maybe walk around focused on spinning stops and getting balls, and catch after that. I am not a video gamer and don't do the walk, stop and play model at all.
posted by BibiRose at 9:20 AM on April 7

This Pokémon Go Wiki is a good source of info (with helpful screenshots) for learning more about the game. I’d start with Pokestops and eggs and get to the rest later.
posted by bananacabana at 10:32 AM on April 7

Another concrete strategy that might appeal to a six year old is to use the “nearby” list (the horizontal bar in the bottom right corner) to find specific Pokémon: have him pick one (or you pick the one furthest away) then walk to its location to catch it. You can see their locations by tapping on them, which opens a screen with two icons: the circle shows you the Pokestop location you’re looking for, and the footprints underneath will show you a map. This will make it more like a treasure hunt and less like randomly catching whatever you pass. (Although be aware that sometimes they do disappear before you can get there, so ymmv with respect to a tiny child’s tolerance for that frustration.)

I also second suggestions for finding nearby Pokegyms. You can walk to them (hopefully in a park or similarly scenic), hang out while he battles for a few minutes, then head to the next. Gyms are generally spaced further apart than plain Pokestops.
posted by CtrlAltDelete at 10:53 AM on April 7

I agree with JannaK that you should play too. That way you can give each other gifts and fight together to take over gyms or on raids. You'll likely be able to understand other features of the game that you could then teach to your kid.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 11:47 AM on April 7 [1 favorite]

I wouldn’t worry too much about guides, just download the game for yourself and start playing around together, and google specific questions you have as they come up. The gameplay is fairly intuitive and if you’re reading guides without having played the game yourself it’s quite easy to get overwhelmed by information overload, much of which doesn’t matter that much if you’re a new casual player.
posted by bettafish at 12:43 PM on April 7 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: A few people have suggested we play together. Do we need two phones/devices to do that?
posted by ManInSuit at 5:02 PM on April 7

Yeah you would. If you've got an extra phone then go for it but I can understand if that wouldn't work as neither of my kids have phones of their own.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 5:35 PM on April 7

You might try playing a bit solo to get a sense of how the game works or "driving" with you being the main person in the app holding the phone and telling him where you've found a cool Pokemon or Pokestop and having him walk there with you and then handing the game over to let him catch the Pokemon or interact with the Pokestop. This will allow you to control how frequently you stop. I do think the pokemons in the bottom right will be your friend here., but if I don;t know if those show up immediately or after you hit a specific level.They have picture clues on where to find specific ones and you can encourage him to look for those things to find the specific new pokemon you want to find.
posted by edbles at 11:15 AM on April 8

« Older Help me pal around with a new big brother (age 2)   |   FIV+ cat with voluminous excretions - help! Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments