Frivolous Fridays are the Orbit bloggers’ excuse to post about fun things we care about that may not have serious implications for atheism or social justice. Any day is a good day to write about whatever the heck we’re interested in (hey, we put “culture” in our tagline for a reason), but we sometimes have a hard time giving ourselves permission to do that. This is our way of encouraging each other to take a break from serious topics and have some fun. Enjoy!
I recently wrote about my favorite augmented reality game, Ingress. I didn’t realize that soon thereafter Niantic would be releasing Pokemon GO, or that it would be so popular! I was aware they were working on the game, but wasn’t prepared for it to be such a sensation. Yes, I am now also playing (and enjoying!) Pokemon GO, but I will admit that I still prefer Ingress for various reasons*.
Since the two games are similar in some ways, and they use the same set of locations for portals and pokestops and gyms, there are some tips that transfer well from Ingress to Pokemon GO.
1) If you can, use public transportation. In Ingress “hacking” portals is how you get gear, and it’s pretty similar to getting gear from Pokestops. Most public transit buses and some trains go slowly enough that you won’t get speed locked and can get a lot of pokeballs and other items.
2) Get a good data plan if you can afford to. I realize they’re not cheap, but these games blow through data faster than anything else. I decided paying for an unlimited data plan was worth it for me. Going past your data plan every month is often more expensive than upgrading.
3) Get an external battery. Lots of people like Anker batteries but I use this KMASHI battery which has worked beautifully for me for well over a year and costs less. A smaller one is fine too, but more battery means more play time. No matter what kind your choose, you’ll want the extra battery power for long play sessions, especially if you also listen to music or podcasts as you go.
4) Weather doesn’t have to stop you from playing! I tend to stay in when it’s really hot or there’s TONS of snow on the ground, but you CAN play in the rain if you want to. I take my external battery, connect it to my phone, and put both into a ziplock bag. Then I use a little duct tape to kind of make a nice neat package of them with the plastic taught across the screen. Most touch screens work fine through the plastic! Yes, it’s a bit heavy to carry compared to your phone alone, but this set up, plus water proof shoes and a poncho allows me to play in the rain for HOURS if I want to – which is particularly useful when large Ingress events get planned for rainy days.
5) Make peace with GPS drift. It will happen, especially in downtown areas with big buildings and lots of interference. There’s not much you can do about it, and Niantic hasn’t been able to fix it either. I used to work sometimes in a high-rise in downtown Chicago, and would use the drift to hack a few portals I would probably not otherwise have gotten out to, which was cool. In Pokemon GO you can use drift to incubate eggs! I get minor drift around my current work place (not nearly as dramatic as downtown) and if I leave the app open while I work it picks up about a quarter km per hour of “walking” due to drift. Not bad!
6) Stay safe! Keep aware of your surroundings, look where you are going, and don’t take bigger risks playing the game than you would if you weren’t playing. Mostly Ingress players have found that the risks are not as big as the media has been making them out to be, but I do know people who have slipped on ice, tripped on curbs, and walked into poles (okay, that last one might have been me). Keep your eyes on the road when driving or biking, and don’t go into places you’re not supposed to be. The game is not fun if you’re injured or arrested!
*Reasons: I like fielding a lot better than the gym concept. The planing, preparation, and execution of a fielding operation, whether solo or in a group, is more satisfying to me. Both games are fun, but I think seeing a big field come together is just more satisfying to me.