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FAQs about Pokémon Go

Pokémon is nothing new – it’s been around for about 20 years. But now, with the Pokémon Go craze in Thailand, this new augmented reality version, utilising the phone’s camera and GPS capabilities, is getting a bit over our heads. Here are some common Pokémon FAQs for parents, including tips for downloading and playing Pokémon Go in Bangkok.

What is Pokémon Go?
It’s a mobile game app that you can download for free on iOS or Android devices. The game is intended for adults and kids over 13 but many parents (including us) are playing it with their kids.

The game involves catching Pokémon, creatures who live in the wild, in real life. They are caught, trained and commanded by their owners using the red and white Poké Balls. The game works in real time, meaning you need GPS to pinpoint your current location while Pokémon appear on your screen, on top of what your camera is projecting in front of you. You walk around to find Pokémon to catch, as well as to visit various destinations that are gyms or Poké Stops. Pokémon grow, become more experienced, and can evolve into stronger Pokémon. There are 145 varieties of Pokémon you can catch in the current version of the game.

Does it cost money?
You can use real money to buy the in-game currency, called Poké Coins, but you don’t have to. The equipment you need to catch Pokémon can be sourced for free from Poké Stops, which are landmarks around the city (usually a shrine, sculpture or other noticeable public landmark). You can also get things like potions, revives, eggs, etc. More sophisticated items such as egg incubators can be acquired without paying real money for them; after you reach a certain level, they will be gifted to you.

Do you need to register?
Yes, register using a google account or a third party Pokémon Trainer Club account. If you’re not comfortable allowing access to your google account, create a new account just for registering the game. If registering through the Trainer Club, register as a parent and add your child (if under the age of 13) to the account.

Can I play on a tablet?
Pokémon Go is optimised for a smartphone; however, it can be played on a tablet, but only in ‘portrait’ (vertically held) mode. Also, you would need GPS. Wi-fi alone doesn’t work as well as you are limited to venues with free wi-fi access.

What else do I need to know?
For parents of children who don’t go out unaccompanied, play the game with your kids. They are likely to be so engrossed in the game, they won’t watch where they are walking, which can lead to accidents. Players have fallen in ditches and gotten hit by cars. It a good idea to play in confined areas such as parks and upper floors of quieter malls such as Gateway Ekamai, as opposed to walking around the streets and sois. Avoid going into temple grounds, government offices and private property.

Also, watch out for lures, which other players can place around Poké Stops to attract more Pokémon (identified by the floating confetti around the Stops). Find them with your kids and use common sense to ensure everyone’s safety, as muggers have reportedly used the app to lure victims. The same goes when visiting gyms, where you can use your Pokémon to battle with those of other players.

And as with screen time in general, set a time limit for playing the game. Pokémon Go is addictive! Also, the game uses a lot of power and will drain the device battery faster than normal.

Once you get started:

What does CP mean?
Basically, Combat Power indicates how strong your Pokémon is – the higher, the better. You’ll need to know this when you figure out the best match-up in gym battles. The half-circle above your Pokémon in the stat screen shows how much higher the CP can go. Powering them up will raise it toward this limit (but to raise the limit you’ll need to evolve them).

How do you get to Level 5 to do battle?
On Level 5, players can unleash their Pokémon in gyms, located at real life local places of interest, to fight with other people’s Pokémon. Keep catching Pokémon and your level will rise.

Where are all the ‘good’ Pokémon?
We’ve heard that Lumpini Park, CentralWorld and Terminal 21 are prime hunting grounds, especially if you are looking for Pikachu, that adorable yellow one. The more you venture out to different areas, the more diverse your collection will be.

That’s about the extent of our knowledge about the game – good luck!

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