If you’re an action / military / sports gamer, I’m very sorry, I still don’t have any recommendations for you. If you like gentle, low pressure games, though, I’ve got another highly-anticipated gem to recommend: NewPokemon Snap.
I’ve heard lots of hype surrounding this release and I believe it’s warranted: this game from the Pokemon universe lets you live out your wilderness photographer dreams seeking and documenting various Pokemon in their natural habitats. The game play is relaxing and easy to learn, and you get a thrill of exploration and discovery along with bonus points for capturing particularly good photos.
Here’s the basics: you’ve joined the research team of Professor Mirror, who’s studying Pokemon behavior with the help of his assistant Rita (and some others). He gives you a pod to travel in and a camera to take photos with, and he sends you to various nature preserves. Your pod travels slowly along a preprogrammed course, and it’s your job to keep your eyes peeled for Pokemon along the way. Your camera can scan your surroundings, identify Pokemon, and zoom in to take good photos, and you also have a supply of fruit to toss to attract hungry ones. You must go back to the same course a few times to level up and unlock a new area, but there’s always something new to discover. You can also go to the courses at night to see a whole new set of Pokemon and behavior, including the mystical Illumina effect.
With beautiful scenery, cute creatures, and a variety of courses to unlock, this is a great game to get lost in, and another good entry point into the Pokemon universe. I myself got quickly addicted and was very sad to have to turn the game back into the library. Don’t miss it!
Your favorite newbie gamer is back with some new recommendations for you! The theme of this post: late to the party. Not only am I discovering gaming later in life than most, I’m discovering the most popular video game genres later than most people. Read on to discover which iconic video game universes I finally tried and loved in 2020. (Not mentioned: Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild— see Wes’ great post about that one.) The second theme of this post is: never too late! If I can achieve my childhood dreams through gaming as an adult, you can too. So don’t be afraid to give these games a try; they’re tested and approved by the clumsiest new gamer there is — me.
First: I heartily recommend Zumba: Burn It Upas a fun exercise game. Yes, I’m definitely late to the Zumba trend, but it was worth the wait. What I really liked about it was the ability to practice Zumba moves and get comfortable with them in the privacy of my own home, on my own schedule. With the video game format, there’s even a degree of feedback that you get to help you improve. Maybe someday I’ll drag my hermit self into a Zumba class, but right now I love being able to do fun things on my own without having to schedule it in and survive crowds and awkwardness. If you’re like me and you’ve always wanted to try Zumba but never had the time, check out this game for a nice intro.
Second: I’m not proud of this, but it’s taken me until now to finally break into Pokémon. Again, I always wanted to be a part of the fandom, but could never figure out how. Well, now I’ve found at least one way to experience it: with Let’s Go Pikachuor Let’s Go Evee for Nintendo Switch. It’s an accessible game for those new to both video games and the Pokémon universe, with good tutorials and fairly intuitive gameplay. It’s low-pressure with achievable goals, and for that reason fairly addictive! Also, as I always suspected, the Pokémon are incredibly adorable and fun to interact with, which never hurts. If you want to finally achieve a childhood dream (like me), relive your fond childhood memories, or introduce someone new to a cute and fun world of training and battles, I definitely recommend one of the Let’s Go games.
Finally, as a bonus for anyone who’s super bored with my newbie enthusiasm for established games, I want to share a quick summary of a fun genre I’ve discovered that hopefully is new(er) to you: the visual novel game. In my opinion it’s a great fusion of video game and novel. The story is engaging, the visuals are good, the mood is restful, but you have to take action to move the story forward, immersing you in the narrative. My favorite from the library is Arcade Spirits, a romantic comedy visual novel where your customized character finds purpose, friendship, love and fun working at the local arcade.
Another type of visual novel game is the murder mystery. As a big reader of murder mysteries, especially historical or classic murder mysteries, these games’ style and story are a great fit, and the gameplay gives me good practice working through puzzles. For a version of this game genre available from the library, try Deadly Premonitions: Origins, where you help a detective investigate the murder of a young woman in a small town.
Unless you’ve been living inside a red and white ball, you’ve probably heard of Pokémon Go. The original Pokémon RPG (role-playing game) video game was released way back in the ancient times of 1996. Beginning as a game for the original Game Boy, it quickly expanded into card trading games, TV shows, movies, more video games, and even a Monopoly board game.
If you happen to be like me and only just now catching up (or you want to know what all the kids are doing) here are some questions and answers.*
So what the heck is/are Pokémon?
The name is a combination of the words “pocket monster.” Players – called “trainers” – find and collect wild Pokémon, and help them evolve into new Pokémon. Trainers also battle their Pokémon, using their Pokémon’s unique characteristics, gaining experience points, to become Gym Leaders and ultimately, the chance to become a tournament champion.
What is Pokémon Go?
Pokémon Go is a “free-to-play location-based augmented reality mobile game.”
It’s a game that you can play on your phone or other mobile device that places you (via your avatar) within the game based on your location, superimposing the game world onto the real world.
The company that created Pokémon Go used location data (landmarks, photos, etc.) from another of their games, Ingress, to create the world within the game. So, if you happen to be standing outside Davenport Public Library Eastern Branch, then that’s where you are in the game.
Why are all these people standing around outside staring at their phones? It’s a little creepy.
That’s the augmented reality part of the game. While you see people glued to their phones in an empty field, outside a building, or wherever, they’re actually experiencing the location within the game.
Lots of public places have been made into important locations in the game (more on that later). Players must be within a certain distance to interact with whatever is at the location. And since the game is so popular, some locations have experienced very high traffic. For some businesses (and libraries!) this has been a boon. For other locations, not so much.
It’s true that there have been some horror stories – true and not – about people getting hurt, lost, or finding some terrible things while tracking Pokémon. The most important thing to remember when playing is to pay attention to your surroundings. Believe me, it can be hard. But, the game offers vibration and sound alerts so you can keep your phone in your pocket while you walk. USE THEM – or be eaten by Gyarados!
And it should go without saying, don’t play and drive.
I heard that Pokémon Go is reading players’ emails …
Yup – that’s the “go” in Pokémon Go! If you want to get cool new Pokémon and hatch eggs you will be walking. The game can tell the difference between riding in a car or even biking fast. But it’s a good thing! You get to experience new places you might never have seen before! Meet new people! Exercise!
Firstly, down the game from the App Store or Google Play. Once it’s up and running, sign in using you Google ID, or get a Trainer Club ID.
When you choose your trainer name and appearance, be careful! You CANNOT change either after you confirm!
UPDATE 7/31/16 – An update for Pokémon Go! (1.1.0) now allows trainers to change the appearance of their avatars!
After Prof. Willow’s introduction, you’re dropped into a fairly sparse map. Your surroundings should reflect major aspects in your surroundings, like roads, rivers/lakes, buildings and so on.
On the screen, you’ll see what looks like green confetti or leaves nearby. Those are Pokémon! Once you get close enough (your trainer’s radius is the pulsing purple circle around you) the Pokémon will reveal themselves. Tap on them, and you’ll go mano a Pokémon.
Tossing the Poké Ball correctly takes some practice. If you find the “virtual reality” setting too distracting, you can turn it off by sliding the AR switch at the top. The higher the Pokémon’s CP (combat points) the more difficult it will be to catch. The rings around the Pokémon will give some idea how where and when to toss the Poké Ball. When it’s large and green, toss! Yellow rings mean it will be more tricky, and orange even more so. Pokémon with higher CP (100+) will often break out of the Poké Ball and you’ll have to catch them again. Sometimes, they’ll grow weary of your attempts and run away.
Pokémon can break out?
Yes, once you catch one, it tries three times to get out. If they can’t escape, you get to keep them.
That’s … a bit grim.
What’s up with PokéStops and Gyms?
PokéStops are where you can pick up more Poké Balls, and an occasional bonus item, like reviving potion, eggs, razzberries and so on. PokéStops are usually located at some kind of landmark (although the term “landmark” is used loosely). You have to be within a certain distance to interact with them.
Sometimes, you may see a PokéStop surrounded by pink confetti or petals. That means that some kind soul has set a lure and, hopefully, more Pokémon will come close enough to catch.
Gyms are where trainers can pit their Pokémon against each other in battle to win the Gym, earn points and train up their Pokémon. You have to reach level 5 to enter and view a gym.
What Team should I pick?
That’s entirely up to you! If you have friends playing, you might want to choose the same team so that you can gain and keep control of Gyms. Or, if you live near a Gym that is consistently held by one team, you can join them and help defend it.
<cough>Team Mystic <cough>
How do I identify and keep track of all the Pokémon I’ve caught?
In the game, tap on the Poké Ball icon, then tap “Pokémon” from there you can see the Pokémon that you’ve caught, see how much CP they have and evolve and power up. The Pokédex is like a Rolodex (GET IT?) for the Pokémon you’ve seen and collected. It gives descriptions, strengths and weaknesses and each Pokémon’s evolutionary pattern.
Where are some places that I can go to catch Pokémon?
The Davenport Public Library Main and Fairmount Branches are PokéStops , and Eastern Avenue is a PokéStop and a Gym.
According to David Heitz, the downtown Moline riverfront, Rock Island arts and entertainment district, the Village of East Davenport and Avenue of the Cities are good places to find Pokémon. In Davenport, Vander Veer Park is a very popular place!
UPDATE 7/31/16 – An update for Pokémon Go!(1.1.0) has removed the footprints from the “Nearby” menu, presumably until they can get it work properly.
What the heck do I do with all these Rattatas, Pidgeies, and Weedles!?!
Even though it can get annoying, it’s worth it to keep collecting the common Pokémon. The more you have, the more candy and stardust you get (which you use to evolve your Pokémon). If you have too many, you can transfer them to Prof. Willow and get one Pokémon candy in return.
The game isn’t working, and/or my battery is dead.
Yeah, you’re not the only one. Pokémon Go has been plagued with slow and broken servers since it was released. It also uses up wireless bandwidth, so slow internet connections are also to blame. If you’re wondering if it’s you or the game server, try here: http://cmmcd.com/PokemonGo/.
The game also has some battery saving settings, too. But remember that you must have the game open if you want alerts and to count your steps. Bring a charger!