I am sure by now you have heard of Pokemon Go, the gaming phenonemon taking over the world.
If you haven't you might be living under a rock, as it is this game that was released about 3 weeks ago and has so many people playing and socialising just to play the game... heck it is even tricking you into doing exercise!
My husband started playing the day it was released here in Australia, and I only started playing it 7 days ago (and I am already up to level 15, half a level behind my hubby who has been playing for 3 weeks).
When I was younger I loved watching Pokemon on TV and even played on my gameboy advance, so when it was released I knew it would be pretty awesome to re-live some pretty fun childhood memories (afterall, you're never too old to be a kid).
But two of the reasons I was so delayed in signing up and playing Pokemon was 1. I have a bit of an addictive personality 2. I can be pretty competitive but 3. It is hard for me to get out and go walking/driving on my own and I didn't want to be stuck at home feeling down and disappointed that I was missing out, which in the end I was feeling that way anyways so I created and account and started playing.
Boy what fun it has been this past week though!
We went away (my husband and I) for our wedding anniversary and stayed close to where my family live, so we got to go Pokemon hunting with my siblings (which was a lot of fun) and we even went to Port Macquarie for the day where we went for a massive walk (4km in total) and my husband pushed me in my wheelchair, then we got home on Wednesday and went for a 3km walk through the botanical gardens here in Coffs Harbour (there is so many Poke stops and pokemon there).
But the highlight for me has been waiting for my husband to come home each evening and we go searching for an hour or so for the Pokemon, it gives me something to get out of the house.
It has become a fun thing that my husband and I can share and do together, and we are having so much fun!
HOT TIP: Before you start playing do your research (google search) for articles on tips, tricks and resources to help you play. I wish I had of done that before I started playing so I could fully understand how to get the most out of the experience.
But over my week of playing, I have come across some ways to help you not only play better but also to play safely.
#1. Find a friend to be your Poke' buddy
Not only is there safety in pairs, but it is more fun to experience the hunt and search when you have someone you can share your excitement with. I also find it is best if someone is driving and the passenger is the one catching the pokemon and poke stops so that the driver can focus on the road. I have become quite skilled in catching pokemon on two phones at once!
#2. You will find more pokemon in more populated areas
While I am fortunate to have 3 pokestops and a gym within 500m walking distance from my house, there isn't always a lot of pokemon readily available to catch (I have so many bats and rats)... but if I head down towards the Jetty, the Mariner or even the botanical gardens I find there are a lot more pokemon to find. And the pokestops often have lures too, which brings out more pokemon.
But the more people in one spot also brings out more pokemon, so get a bunch of friends together and carpool and go for a hunt together.
#3. Use caution and common sense when playing especially at night
There are certain types of pokemon that only are found of a night or in bushland or in dark creepy places (like a cemetery)... but if you are deciding to head out of a night to play use common sense.
Some tips to playing safely at night:
 Take a torch with you, as the torch on your phone might not be the brightest
 At least be in pairs, or make sure someone knows where you are if you insist on going out alone
 Keep a watch for cars and traffic, don't use your phone when walking into traffic
#4. Invest in a portable phone charger
The game chews through your battery, so it is best to have a back up charger in your handbag or backpack (or fanny pack if you prefer) to help keep your phone juiced up. Last thing you want is to be stranded without a phone, or you finally find that Pokemon you have spent days hunting and BAM your phone dies *insert loud cries here*. To avoid disapointment and for safety keep a backup charger at hand. I think you can pick up powerbanks from any electronics store from about $30 onwards, just make sure it is fully charged first before heading out!
#5. Unless you plan on battling your Pokemon get rid of unessential items
When you collect items from the Pokestops you not only receive Poke Balls (which you need to capture the little creatures) but you can also get eggs to hatch, potions, berries and other items. If you're like me and don't plan on battling your pokemon, simply delete the potions from your backpack so it allows more room for the important things like poke balls! Berries are handy to keep so don't throw them away (I will explain about the berries next).
#6. Berries can help you to catch a pokemon
You will find that some pokemon are easier to capture than others, and you think you are safe and have caught the creature but then he escapes from the ball and you have to try again. Sometimes if you feed him berries, it will make him easier to catch... thus also saving your poke balls (as you don't want to waste too many). Here is a screenshot below of me feeding berries to help make this Eevee easier to catch!
#7. Capture as many Eevee's as possible
Everytime you capture a creature you get specific candies that you can later use to evolve that creature. The more of the same creature you catch (and later 'transfer' back to the professor) you earn candies. It takes 25 Eeevee candies to evolve Eevee, but did you know that Eevee can evolve into 3 (yes THREE) different characters? Simply rename 3 of your Eevee's Sparky, Rainer and Pyro respectively (and make sure they have better CP) and then when you have enough candies to evolve Eevee it can evolve into one of 3 creatures. My Eevee I named Rainer turned into Vaporeon, the one I named Pyro turned into Flareon and I am yet to evolve my Sparky into Jolteon (2 Eevee candies short).
#8. Capture every Magikarp you find
I know Magikarp is 'a pathetic fish that does nothing' but if you notice that to evolve him you need 400 Magikarp candies, it is because it will evolve into the creature Gyarados (the one on the loading screen at the start of the game telling you to be aware of your surroundings). So it takes a lot of fish to evolve him. Don't worry you don't have to keep them all, just click transfer and you can collect the bonus candies and it frees up your room for more pokemon. As you can see I only have 108 of the Magikarp candies needed out of 400... so collect away!
#9. Save your lucky egg for a bulk evolving spree
When you start getting lucky eggs, these are eggs that double your XP for the next 30 minutes (when used). So it is a good idea if you wait until you have a whole heap of creatures to evolve and do it all in that 30 minutes. Not only will you get double the XP (it is normally 500XP when you evolve a creature, but you will get 1000XP instead). This will help you to get up to a higher level quicker too! There are some more commonly found Pokemon that don't cost much to evolve such as the Pidgey's (12 candies to evolve), Weedle's (12 candies to evolve) and the Caterpie's (12 candies to evolve). If you come across these capture as many as you can and save to evolve in your evolving spree when using the lucky egg.
Below I evolve my Ponyta into a Rapidash.
#10. Use the incense to draw Pokemon to your location
The incense gives off a scent that attracts Pokemon to your location and it only attracts them to your device (unless those you are with are using their incense too). You can pick up incense sometimes in Pokestops or when you go up a level (as a little present), or you can use real money to purchase coins to then purchase incense. It is best to use incense if you are going to be in the one area for a while either going for a walk or staying stationary, if you are in a car it might be a little harder for the pokemon to be drawn to you. When the incense is activated you have 30 minutes to use it and there is a timer on the screen, you also have this purple swirl around you. In the screenshot below you can see my incense is activated and that the timer is counting down. Sometimes you get lots of pokemon (even evolved forms that are hard to find) other times you don't get a lot of pokemon... it is mostly random but.
These are just a short list of tips and tricks I have used to not only play efficiently but safely, but you can google 'Pokemon Go tricks' for a lot more hints. But if you have any hints or tricks you have used and isn't mentioned above simply leave a comment below (or join the conversation over on our facebook page)
Most of all have fun but be safe!