Pop Culture, Gaming

I tried Pokemon Go for a week so you don’t have to

I should mention that I never played Pokemon as a kid. I'm still not entirely sure how to pronounce it. When friends first started posting about it on Facebook, I got really confused.

I should mention that I never played Pokemon as a kid. I’m still not entirely sure how to pronounce it. When friends first started posting about it on Facebook, I got really confused. Figured it was some weird Pokemon-fan-only thing and ignored it. BUT THEN EVERYONE STARTED POSTING.

I saw someone mention Pokemon Go and fitness. What? Is this phone app gonna make me exercise? I was slightly worried. But I was too intrigued and became committed.

Day 1: Sunday

I downloaded the app. I got to create an avatar for myself, which generally I love doing. I couldn’t find my skin color. I chose the darkest shade. It makes no sense for me to be the darkest shade, considering I’m a relatively light-skinned Indian woman. I took a picture because I was outraged by how not-dark the options were.

The darkest shade
The darkest shade

The outfit choices were also not that great and I had to wear a hat. Normally, I don’t wear hats because my head is too small. But I guess it’s necessary for Pokemon catching.

Pokemon catching. WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN? No clue. But I know I gotta catch ’em all.

My friend taught me how to walk around and catch Pokemon. There were tons of Pokemon around the house! WHO KNEW?! So once you find them, you have to throw Pokeballs at them, which will open up and consume the Pokemon. And that means you caught it. Sometimes they move so you have to try again.


I played for another 10-20 minutes, walking around trying to understand what was happening. I caught 5 Pokemon and got up to level 3 on my first day! I felt really accomplished.

Day 2: Monday

I work at the zoo on Mondays and Wednesdays, so once Monday rolled around I had to slow down on the Pokemon catching. But once work was over, I walked around the zoo and noticed TONS of Pokestops – little areas where you get Pokeballs and stuff FOR FREE. And I caught Pokemon around the different exhibits in the zoo.

Y’all, at this point…like already by day 2, I was kinda obsessed! I even played while watching X Files, which I’m generally very attentive to because of my obsession with David Duchovny. As my obsession continued, I actively researched aspects of the game to figure out what all the features were. What did it mean to power up my Pokemon? Why was I evolving them?

[bctt tweet=”Y’all, at this point…like already by day 2, I was kinda obsessed! ” username=”wearethetempest”]

I couldn’t really figure out the answers to these questions, but I powered-up and evolved several of my Pokemon because I could.

A Pidgey & a Fox
A Pidgey & a Fox

Day 3: Tuesday

On day 3, I finally reached level 5 and was able to join a TEAM. There are 3 possible teams: red, blue, and yellow. Actually they all have names, but I only can ever remember my own team: Team Mystic. I liked Team Mystic because it reminded me of Ravenclaw — the team dedicated to knowledge and being a nerd.


In the evening, I took the train to go into the city and it was THE BEST DECISION EVER. I got so many Pokestops and gathered like a bajillion Pokeballs. AND. ANDDDD. I caught TWO Jigglypuffs!!! I remember Jigglypuff from when Pokemon was big because I thought it was cute. I found these catches very exciting. All while sitting on the train … and not moving.

Day 4: Wednesday

I collect data at the zoo on iPads using a map of the enclosure that beeps at me when it’s time to mark stuff down about the monkeys. After one of the beeps on this day, an older woman asked me “oh, is that the Pokemon Go the kids are playing?”

My data collecting app DOES NOT LOOK LIKE THIS.

Anyway, I still hadn’t made an effort to take a walk or be more active to catch Pokemon. I somehow managed to reach level 6 while NOT moving. I continued to catch more Pokemon from the comfort of my couch and dining table. Sometimes I “lured” them with this device that sent out like a pheromone to attract Pokemon for 30 minutes.

I started to transfer Pokemon to get “candies” — I can then use those candies to evolve or power up my Pokemon. Transferring Pokemon gets rid of them for good, but that’s okay WHEN YOUR AREA HAS LIKE 23947298347234972349 PIDGEYS. I’ve evolved several Pidgeys because why would I need them all. (No seriously, if there is a benefit to having several just hanging out, let me know).

Day 5: Thursday

Today, I actually took a walk for the purpose of catching Pokemon. Y’all … this game got me to be active. It worked. IT WORKED.

But, just like real life, I still haven’t been to the gym… I think the gym is where you can train your Pokemon to fight and then do battles. I might some day venture to a gym to battle, but I’m slightly worried my little Pokemon will die. I DON’T WANT THEM TO DIE. I like them. Do they die? I don’t know. But I’m certainly attached to my collection and I 10000% want to catch them all.

[bctt tweet=”Y’all … this game got me to be active. It worked. IT WORKED.” username=”wearethetempest”]

After spending several days on the app, I wonder if playing with the cards back in the day was as excitin. Pokemon Go has made me slightly regret never having joined in back in like 4th grade when it was big. Reader, don’t potentially regret not trying this game out. Get it. Play it. Love it.

  • Sana Saiyed

    Science editor and writer. Raised in Kentucky and educated at Wellesley College and the University of Chicago. Studies the ways in which climate change influences animal behavior.