Category Archives: Pokemon

Evolving to 20 in Pokemon Go

Starting Pokemon Go a month and a half after it launched meant missing out on a few things.  I wasn’t around for the initial hype and camaraderie.  Of course, I wasn’t there for a lot of the initial network problems either.  I can play most hours of the day without problems.

But I am still behind the curve when it comes to levels.  My wife, who is still using the account I initially started on my phone, was nearly level 20 before I even started.  She made it to 20 as I was climbing up the levels and said that I appeared to be catching up fast.

However, like most games involving levels, higher levels require more experience to attain, so while the gap between our levels was closing, the difference between our actual experience count remained about the same.  Last week I finally made it to 19, where the gap to the next level was 25,000 xp.

Sitting at 19 with my faithful Bulbasaur buddy

Sitting at 19 with my faithful Bulbasaur buddy

Up until about 18 or so, advancing through levels by simply catching Pokemon was a viable route.  But after that the level curve starts to get steeper.  250K exp means catching 2,500 Pokemon at 100 exp a catch.  Even if you manage bonus points on each catch, that still only gets you to 160 exp and leaves you looking at almost 1,600 catches to level up.

About the best you can hope for

About the best you can hope for

Gym battles can provide more experience, though at level 19 your Pokemon are likely low enough level that you will burn through revives and potions with every attempt.  And then there are Pokestops, but those only get you 50 exp, so you need to spin a lot of those to make much progress.

Evolution though… using the accumulated candies to evolve Pokemon into a new type… that earns you 500 exp a go.  So with an eye towards the steeper experience curve I had been hanging on to a pile of Pidgeys and Rattatas, everybody’s favorite trash Pokemon, along with some others.

Once I could feel my momentum slackening at level 19, and I had some time to sit down and evolve, I used one of my lucky eggs… they double your exp gain for 30 minutes… and evolved my way into level 20.

Level 20 treats

Level 20 treats

Level 20 is good because you get a pile of items when you get there… I also made sure I had space in my inventory, one of the things that makes Pokemon Go an MMO to my mind is inventory management… along with access to ultra balls, which have a better catch rate, and a fairly sizeable boost in the combat power of the Pokemon that show up.

I rolled through well into level 20 with my lucky egg, covering a lot of the ground to 21.

Now level 20

Now level 20

The levels begin to really ramp up from 20 forward, adding 25K for each level, then 40K, and on on through up to level 40.  (Level chart here on the wiki.)

Level 20 also opened up 10km eggs, which syncs up nicely with the two egg incubators than came as part of the level 20 reward.  10km eggs give access to some different Pokemon, including the elusive Snorlax, the capture of which my wife has set as her personal goal.  Hatching one seems to be the best bet as, in all of this time, I have only ever gotten a single glimpse of a Snorlax on the nearby list.

A silhouette is all I saw

A silhouette is all I saw

My own top six Pokemon, while no great shakes as far as combat power goes, are at least now high enough to take on lower level gyms with a good chance of success.

My starting lineup

My starting lineup

Arcanine is easily one of the most common Pokemon you run into in gyms in our area.

So we carry on with Pokemon Go at our house.

I did notice a recent change where Pokemon you have “seen” but not caught now include Pokemon you have seen in gyms, so my “seen” list saw a big bump over the weekend.  That is more in line with the core Pokemon RPG games, where you you get credit for having seen any Pokemon that you fight.  To get them all, however, you have to catch them.

The Pokemon 20th Anniversary Continues with a Keldeo Download and More

The celebration of the 20th anniversary of Pokemon continues.  This month’s legendary Pokemon is Keldeo.

Keldea the water colt

Keldeo the water colt

Keldeo was introduced as a special event Pokemon in the generation V games, Pokemon Black & White and Pokemon Black Version 2 & White Version 2, and became obtainable via a trade mechanic in Pokemon X & Y.

Keldeo's GameStop event

Keldeo’s GameStop event

This is the first of the 20th anniversary download event Pokemon that I have not obtained through some past event.

Instructions on how to download Keldeo to your copy of Pokemon X and Y or Pokemon Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby are available on the Pokemon site.  You have until October 24th to make it happen.

This leaves only two more 20th anniversary download events to go.  The remaining Pokemon are:

  • November – Genesect (GameStop Card Event)
  • December – Meloetta (Nintendo Network Event)

In addition, there is a special event to download Hoopa, another rare Pokemon.

Hoopa Event

Hoopa Event

This one requires a code to get, but do it quickly as the event only runs through October 9, 2016.  The code is “2016HOOPA” with further details available here.

November will also see the launch of the next titles in the core Pokemon RPG line, Pokemon Sun & Moon.

Sun and Moon coming in November

Sun and Moon coming in November

And as part of the ongoing slow reveal that Nintendo does every release, we have finally been shown the first evolution of the starter Pokemon for the new games.

The grass starter, the adorable Rowlet, will evolve into a the Dartix

Owlet to Owl

Owlet to Owl

The fire starter, Litten, evolves into Torracat.

Kitten to Cat

Kitten to Cat

And the water Pokemon starter, Popplio, evolves into Brionne.

Ongoing circus acts

Ongoing circus acts

I’ve always been a partisan of water Pokemon when it came to my starter since the days of Piplup in Pokemon Diamond & Pearl, but somebody always seems to have it in for water when it comes to their evolutions.  They start cute and evolve ugly. (Except for Squirtle I guess.)

This time around I am going to go with first.  Rowlet is cute, and the evolution isn’t bad, but I traditionally have no luck with grass Pokemon.  Nintendo has a video up so you can see the evolutions in motion.

And, finally, on the Pokemon Go front, Niantic has announced that their next update will make it a bit easier to catch them all.  As you earn medals for catching quantities of certain types of Pokemon, those types will become easier for you to catch and the likelihood of finding a rare version will increase.  There is no timeline for this update beyond “soon.”

September in Review

The Site

I finally got around to tinkering with the MMO Blog feed on the side bar, something I proposed to do a couple of months back.  My operating suspicion, given the sporadic reliability of the feed over the last ten months and my attempts to fix the problem via other vectors, was that some individual feed was screwing things up for everybody else.  As it stood, the old feed was drawing from a bucket in Feedly that contained nearly 200 blogs.

Top of the list... not sure why CZ is at the very top...

Top of the list… not sure why CZ is at the very top…

The idea was to have a lot of blogs in there so that even irregular writers would get their turn on the side bar.  A lovely idea, but when nobody is showing up on the side bar for what seemed like 18 out of every 24 hours, not a viable one.  So I created a new category in Feedly and routed it via IFTTT to Pinboard, where it gets turned into an RSS feed that I can display via a side bar widget.

I then moved just ten of the blogs from the original category to the new one, a set of the “regulars” from the neighborhood, put the widget in the side bar (moving the old one down to the bottom, just to compare reliability), and watched it grow.

That seems to have made the feed more reliable.  Since then I have been slowly adding a few blogs at a time, so that the count is up to 30 at this point. (You can tell when I add somebody because their last few posts suddenly show up at the top of the list.)  I will probably cap it out at 50 or so, rather than push things to the point where it breaks again and then have to dial back to find the culprit.

Also, I thought this month would have the lowest page view count since 2008… recent charts in the anniversary post will give you that scale… and then I posted twice about World of Warcraft this week and pulled out of that dive.  Now I am no further back than 2009.  Go me.

There is your blogging lesson of the month; if you want to be popular, post about WoW.

One Year Ago

The blog turned nine years old.

Some survey said it could guess my age based on my video game preferences.

World of Warships officially went live after its open beta.

As part of the Heart of Thorns expansion, the Guild Wars 2 base game went completely free.

Also on the free front, WildStar went free to play, bowing to the realities of the current MMORPG market.

In World of Warcraft, the ability to fly was finally unlocked in Draenor… provided you had all the achievements.

In Diablo III I was looking at the whole season thing.

Lord British was on again with some quotes, allowing that Blizzard could do some things well… like Diablo.  But he was more on about sandbox games, like his upcoming Shroud of the Avatar, because sandbox games generate news headlines.  His example was EVE Online, though it wasn’t clear to me that SotA was going to get the same sort of coverage.

In Minecraft I was making friends with the zombie pigmen and using a utility to see a map of our world.  I needed that map as we were all out exploring.  Aaron was kicking of our transit hub in the roof of the nether and I was ruining Xydd’s neighborhood.  Meanwhile, our hosting service was going out of business.

On the Daybreak front I was reflecting on the status of EverQuest Next five years after it had been announced.  There were expansion plans for EverQuest and EverQuest IIThe Ruins of Kunark expansion was unlocked on the Ragefire progression server while the vote for the Desert of Flames expansion was up on the Stormhold server.  Daybreak also killed off enforced raid rotation on Ragefire, having “fixed” the underlying issue finally. There was talk of the new server names for the coming server consolidation in EverQuest II.  I am not sure I liked the results.

In EVE Online I was happy, in the age of Fozzie sov, that towers still gave kill mails.  Even CCP seemed to think that maybe blowing things up was better than sov wands.  They were also considering going back to bigger expansions, putting less emphasis on the monthly updates.  The monthly updates still had names for the moment… the Vanguard monthly update for example… but that would go by the end of the year.

Asher Elias started off his podcast and led us off to a fight with Ron Mexxico, who was one of his early guests, and brought us to Cloud Ring in Fozzie Claws.

The monthly EVE Online blog banter… which seems to have died off recently… wanted to know what we would do were we put in charge of the development of New Eden.

Finally, I was reflecting a bit on lifetime subscriptions and noting Asheron’s Call downtime, Lord of the Rings Online server transfers, the Drunder server in EverQuest II, and Windows 10 in one of my Friday bullet point posts.

Five Years Ago

I did the great survey of blogs that had, at one time or another, included this site in their blog roll over the last five years.  Only 28% of them were still up and active.  There was also the five year anniversary post and all that it entailed.

I implied that Tobold’s mother a llama.  This had NOTHING to do with him not having a blog roll.

I was totally going to resist Steam selling me Rift for cheap.  That didn’t work, and I ended up playing for about a year or so.

Star Trek Online announced it was going free to play, though I couldn’t imagine how it wasn’t already.

In LOTRO, the Rise of Isengard expansion came out and I almost didn’t notice.  Which was odd, because we were kind of playing LOTRO still.

The Goons were going to wreck the EVE economy by blowing up high sec ice miners.  Another vast Goon conspiracy.  I was being nostalgic for my earlier days in EVE.

GameSpy had a post about re-imagining Diablo as a first person perspective game, which was met with much derision.  Me, I liked the idea and even had suggestions for further topics in that vein to explore.  Meanwhile, Diablo III was pushed out to the middle of 2012.

In other Blizzard news, the Official World of Warcraft Magazine went belly up after just five issues.  And then there was a drop in WoW subscribers.  They lost 600,000 players, though I wasn’t one of them… yet.  Good thing they never lost more than that…

I was still playing Need for Speed: World pretty regularly.  I was filming police chases, avoiding police chases, and buying the squarest ride in the game.

In EverQuest, on the Fippy Darkpaw server, the retro experience was made complete by “guilds behaving badly” when it came to contested content.  Some GMs came up with unorthodox ways to resolve conflicts.  Somewhere along the way I got my SOE Authenticator, which I never use.

ArenaNet said something about private GuildWars 2 PvP servers.  I wonder how that would play today?

EA/BioWare gave us a release date for SWTOR at last, so I could start fretting about pre-orders and grace periods.  While I wasn’t in beta yet, BioWare was asking how I was enjoying it.

There was no word about life on Planet Michael.

And, finally, I was wondering how 9/11, which took place just a couple months before the birth of my daughter, would influence her view of the world relative to my own.  This was triggered by her trip to New York, where she visited the Nintendo Store.

Ten Years Ago

We are now officially at the point where I can just link back to old posts for this section.  I will still include the occasional outside item that I missed back then, or things that became meaningful in the context of the blog as time moved on.  Or just stuff that seems interesting.  Have to keep these sharp for when the “Twenty Years Ago” section becomes a thing!

There was the first post.  I still haven’t covered all of the topics I promised 10 years back.

After that I was straight into the EverQuest nostalgia, an oft recurring topic here.  The Serpent’s Spine expansion came out for the game.  I would get to that in a bit.

LEGO Star Wars II – The Original Trilogy launched, setting the casual path for future Traveller’s Tales LEGO based games.  My daughter and I would later play this on the Wii, but that was still out in the future.

Pokemon Diamond & Pearl, the first core Pokemon RPG titles for the Nintendo DS platform shipped in Japan.  They wouldn’t reach US shores for another six months.  Again, another series that would show up here as time moved on.

Green Monster Games, later 38 Studios, was unveiled to the public by founder Curt Schilling with R. A. Salvatore and Todd McFarlane as part of the creative team.

I was into EVE Online, which I began playing just about two weeks before I started the blog.  My first post about it concerned the tutorial, then I went on to my impressions.  I already had EVEMon up and running, because you cannot play EVE Online without it.  And, while I was hardly aware of it, the first titan had been built in New Eden.

I was musing about games slated for the future, including Star Trek Online and Lord of the Rings Online I had reservations about both.

I kicked off my old school gaming reminiscences with a post about Stellar Emperor as it was back in 1986.  That was 30 years ago.  Damn continuous motion of time.

The instance group formed up for adventures in Azeroth.

I wrote the first “Month in Review” post.  I am not sure WHY I decided to do that, but it became a thing as here I am doing the 101st such post a decade later. (About four years ago I decided month in review should have its own category, so I went back and edited each and every last one to put them all in that category.  Fortunately, being a once a month thing, it was easy to figure out if I missed any or not.)

I also wrote something about Saga of Ryzom in that month in review post, which might be the one of the few times I ever wrote anything about it.

But the smartest thing I probably did in that first month was link out to Brent at VirginWorlds in a post, which got him to notice my brand new blog, which kind of got me into the club pretty quickly as well as getting me my first comment.

Featured Sites of the Month

[none – I forgot]

Most Viewed Posts in September

  1. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  2. Pre-Ordering WoW Legion at a Discount
  3. Legion So Far…
  4. WoW and the Case for Subscription Numbers
  5. WoW Legion Sales Numbers Stacked Up Against Past Launches
  6. Pokemon Go Account Hacked and Recovered
  7. CCP and the Elephant in the Room
  8. A Decade Under the Influence of Online Games
  9. CCP Has a Plan for EVE Online Free to Play
  10. WoW Legion? There’s an App for That!
  11. Delve Conquest Complete
  12. Honest Game Trailers – Phoenix Wright, Ace Attorney

Search Terms of the Month

how to get listed in Yahoo News
[Pretty easy, pay them money. Half of their “news” is just ads.]

pokemon go what mean you have4 attempts left before locked out

“lucy bradshaw””piss people off”
[To be fair, she didn’t make that last version of SimCity on her own.]

why do they say tosh is clown shoes
[I got nothing, but I am blaming Tesh for you getting here.]

h1z2 wymagania
[At first glance that seems obscene, but it turns out to be Polish.]

Spam Comment of the Month

Whether gamers sell a Pokemon Go account or World of Warcraft character, they are in danger of being audited by the IRS.
[I am sure the IRS is all over that like green on Ben Franklin’s ass.]

EVE Online

There was a deployment to Querious with Reavers which was cut short as our list of goals was largely accomplished without fighting.  Groups seemed eager to move further away from the Imperium.  So it was more a month of tinkering and PvE for me.  I kill Blood Raiders, ran Purity of the Throne sites, tried to figure out PI, and generally boosted my cash reserves.

Pokemon Go

The wife and I continue to play this.  My daughter is so past it though, and it annoys here when we talk about it.

Current end of month stats:

  • Level: 18 (+7)
  • Pokedex status: 61 (+22) caught, 63 (+23) seen
  • Pokemon I want: Ghastly
  • Current buddy: Bulbasaur


Our Minecraft server has been pretty dead this past month, though I only know this since I actually played for a bit.  I have a blog post in progress about the game, but not the one you want.  Also, considering another resource consuming, scenery marring grand construction project.  After months of war, final defeat, moving to and then conquering a new region, having a quiet month wasn’t a bad thing.

World of Warcraft

The first full month of WoW Legion has now gone by.  I have a character at level cap, I have one zone left to run through, and then all the things that come after that.  I have enjoyed it so far, the zones are good, the quests are high quality, the usual characters and references are about, but I haven’t been overly enthusiastic for it or chomping at the bit to play.  I think that is just me.

Coming Up

As noted, I have been doing a couple of things in Minecraft I may write about.  There is also an update coming that will include llamas, because of course it will.

In doing the ten year anniversary post I dredged up a bunch of old topics I might want to go back and revisit after so much time has passed.  I try to not simply write stuff, hit post, and forget about it.  I like to go back and re-read posts and see how my views may have changed.

EVE Vegas is coming up at the end of the month and I will be attending.  More details on that later.  There is a war going on in New Eden of some interest, even if we’re not directly involved.  And the CSM 11 Summit meeting notes got released today, so maybe there will be something in those to dissect.

On WoW I will begin my assault on Stormheim and probably continue making hexweave bags.

I suppose we will hear more about the upcoming EverQuest and EverQuest II expansions.

And that is all I can see given my own limited horizons.  What else is coming in October?

Pokemon Go Account Hacked and Recovered

I rolled over, waking as I shifted into a more comfortable position.  It was dark out and I was ready to fall back asleep until my eyes landed on the clock and saw that the alarm was going to go off in less than ten minutes.  I was done with sleep.

I reached over to the night stand and picked up the iPad, then rolled on to my back and propped myself up a bit on my pillow.  I unlocked it and first went to turn off the alarm.  That done, I went to browse email to see what might have come in over night.

Generally it is the same set of automated posts, spam, and press releases.  But there at the top of the pile was the following email:

From: Pokémon Customer Service
Date: Sep 20 at 5:11 AM
A change has been made to your account.

Dear Pokémon Trainer Club Member,

This email is to inform you that your Pokémon Trainer Club password was recently changed. If this change was made in error or without your permission, please write us at or visit

The Pokémon Company International

I hadn’t changed anything on that account in quite a while.  Furthermore, the time stamp was just ten minutes past, strongly suggesting that the change had been done while I was asleep.

I got up, walked down the hall to start up my desktop computer, then wandered back to the bathroom to hop in the shower.

After getting showered and dressed, I kissed my still dozing wife good-bye and went back up the hall to check out my Pokemon Trainer Club account.  I tried logging in and got the following message:

Your username or password is incorrect. You have 4 attempts left before you will be locked out of your account for 15 minutes.

Well, I knew the username was correct, and I doubted that I had forgotten the password.  Back when I created the account I used one of my “this account doesn’t matter” passwords because, at the time, it didn’t seem like an account that I needed to worry about getting hacked.  There is almost nothing to “do” in the Pokemon Trainer Club, nothing to steal or wreck or anything so I chose an oft used password.

Of course, that was back when I made the account quite a while back.  Since then Pokemon Go showed up on the scene, and one of the login options was to use your Pokemon Trainer Club account, which I had done because people were freaking out about how Pokemon Go was reading your Google Mail or some such.

Anyway, somebody had clearly gotten into the account and changed the password, and now I could not get into the account.

So I clicked on the “Forgot Password” option and had them send a password reset link.  However, that was taking a while, so I went back to the login page and did four more bogus logins to lock the account for 15 minutes, then packed up and drove to the office.

By the time I got into work, the password reset email had finally arrived and the 15 minute lockout had just expired.  The joy of going to the office early is that traffic is light.  I hit the link and reset the password to something more secure and quickly received another email message from the Pokemon Trainer Club alerting me that the password on my account had been reset, with the elapsed time between the two alerts being just over an hour.

And then I had to text my wife to tell her that she would need a new password to login to Pokemon Go.  As I mentioned in a previous post, my wife took over my initial Pokemon Go account and has been playing it ever since.  She is up to level 22 and has been doing gym battles.

She was able to log back into the account with the new password and reported that while whoever took over the account had trashed a bunch of stuff out of her bag, including most of her carefully hoarded revives, so necessary for post-gym battle clean-up, the account seemed to be otherwise intact.  The in-game journal even showed that somebody was catching Pokemon while we were asleep.

Not our activity

Not our activity

So, account recovered.  However, we got lucky.  The person who took the account over didn’t have it for long and, aside from deleting those revives, didn’t do much with it.

They also didn’t bother to change the email address associated with the account.  Googling for tales of Pokemon Trainer Club accounts being hacked turned up some stories of that happening and people having to get in touch with the site support staff to try and recover their account.

I suppose the real questions here are how and why?

As noted, the password wasn’t very secure.  But given how many Pokemon Go characters are likely tied to Pokemon Trainer Club accounts, it seems unlikely to be hacked totally at random.  Was the account targeted and, if so, based on what?

And then there is why… or why bother… or why bother if you you’re going to do such a half-assed job?  The person who took it apparently just wanted to play on the account.  Did they think it was abandoned or unrecoverable?  So many questions.

I wish the journal told you which PokeStop they used… they are all associated with locations… so I could tell where they were.  My guess, given the time frame, is somewhere further east.

The Pokemon 20th Anniversary Continues with a Victini Event and More

The celebration of the 20th anniversary of Pokemon continues.  This month’s legendary Pokemon is Victini.

Victini for Victory

Victini for Victory

Victini first showed up as a special download for Pokemon Black & White back in March of 2011.

Get Victini!

The original download event, March 2011

Instructions on how to download Victini to your copy of Pokemon X and Y or Pokemon Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby are available on the Pokemon site.  You have until September 24th to make it happen.

And with Victini available, that leaves just three more 20th anniversary downloads this year.


  • October – Keldeo (Nintendo Network)
  • November – Genesect (GameStop)
  • December – Meloetta (Nintendo Network)

Of course, the focus on this year’s celebration has largely been on the upcoming Pokemon Sun & Moon.  Last week it was announced that those who purchase Pokemon Sun & Moon before January 11, 2017 will be able to download a special Munchlax.

Munchlax for you

Munchlax for you

Munchlax evolves into Snorlax who, after 20 years of laying about, will actually have its own special Z-move attack as part of the upcoming title.

Snorlax in his usual role as sleeping obsctruction

Snorlax in his usual role as sleeping obstruction

All of which is covered in this month’s preview video.

Finally, on the Pokemon Go front, Niantic has announced their next upcoming feature, a buddy system that allows you to choose a Pokemon to travel with that will earn bonuses and rewards.  Hopefully Niantic carries on building Pokemon Go into a full fledged Pokemon game.

If WoW Expansion Were Done Pokemon Style

Ideas that come unbidden in the night when you’ve been thinking about Pokemon and World of Warcraft too much.

What if Blizzard did World of Warcraft expansions the way Nintendo and Game Freak do new Pokemon titles or was simply influenced more by Pokemon than EverQuest?

This is where this ends up...

This is where this ends up…

  • Each expansion would be a complete 1-100 experience, but would require you to start at back as a new player each time.
  • You get to create exactly one avatar per expansion copy.
  • There would be two versions of each expansion, each with rewards not in the other, and the only way to obtain them would be through trading across expansions.
  • Occasionally there would be a single expansion that was just the previous two merged together, slightly altered, and with a few more rewards.
  • Every once in a while the two different versions would have completely different groups to fight, though the story and quest line would be essentially the same.
  • Interaction with quest givers initiated solely by making eye contact.
  • It would be a solo experience, where you created parties for dungeons and raids from the NPCs you captured while battling along the way.
  • Party size is now six.
  • You don’t level up, only the followers in your party do as they fight for you.
  • Your followers can be different classes, which have a rock/paper/scissors dynamic to them.  There is no holy trinity.
  • Draenor garrison-like need to collect all possible followers emphasized in the game.
  • Only mounts: Roller skates and a bicycle.
  • Flight points unlocked only after defeating a dungeon half way into the game.
  • Dance contests!
  • Geography of each expansion loosely based on a real world location.
  • Blizzard offices cleverly hidden in each expansion, allowing you do rage at the devs through your avatar.
  • At some point each expansion would require you to wake up a sleeping ogre that is blocking your progress.
  • Defeating the story antagonists just lets you move on to your real goal; Defeating the final four and then the Azeroth League Champion.
  • We still end up waiting at least two years between expansions

What other Pokemon tropes would likely infect Blizzard were this true?

And would any of this necessarily be a bad thing?

My Wife and Pokemon GO

My wife is not a gamer, and the fact that I am has caused some friction in our relationship from time to time.  I can sit for many hours at my desk playing or writing about video games, activities that neither involve nor interest her.  It can be the “sports widow” syndrome at times, though my games don’t have seasons.

We have adapted somewhat over the years.  I don’t spend as much time on video games as I did in past years and I hope I am a bit less oblivious.  And she shows a peripheral interest in what I and my daughter are playing, though I am not sure my daughter and I being the “gaming club” in our house and talking about them a lot was a big help there.  My wife went to EVE Vegas with me, though she was more about the parties and socializing.  Internet spaceships themselves aren’t of interest.

My wife and I at the party

My wife and I at the party, Noizy Gamer behind us

My wife isn’t totally disinterested in video games.  But her interests are far more casual.  She plays Windows Solitaire and I keep a Solitaire and a Video Poker app on my iPad which she plays some times.

And then came Pokemon GO.

Back in early July, when the game showed up, she downloaded it to her iPhone so I could play it.  And I did create an account and got things rolling, and even picked Team Instinct for the account, mostly because it seemed to be the downtrodden group.

General view of Team Instinct - July 2016

General view of Team Instinct – July 2016

But the app was on my wife’s phone, and she uses her phone a lot.  She is on her third iPhone and it is clearly part of her life and/or lifestyle.  So the idea that I would be spending a lot of time playing Pokemon GO on her iPhone was probably a non-starter.

So she began to play for me.

At first it was rolling by the local Pokestops.  Then catching the occasional Pokemon.  And soon I was getting texts with screen shots of new catches or of the account leveling up.

At the same time our daughter was also playing, but she wasn’t as into it after a couple of weeks.  So while she was out in front in levels, her motion forward had slackened dramatically… at which point my wife’s competitive nature kicked in.

There is a reason we no longer play Scrabble after Thanksgiving dinner, and it has something to do with my wife’s family having very faint understandings of the concepts of being a “good winner” or a “good loser.”

My mother-in-law would sit at the table and trash talk, brag about every play, demand constant audits of the score, abuse the rules with half-assed challenges like “use it in a sentence,” and whine about how this wasn’t fair because she was born in Germany, to the point that I stopped playing to win and started playing to ensure she would lose.  If she was downstream of me I would leave her no good scoring opportunities, and if she wasn’t I would feed whoever was a series of double and triple word scores.

I may have lost more often that I should of, but she never, ever won, and so we were all spared the stream of trash talk that would have come from such an event.

(I am exaggerating a bit on that story, but not by as much as I wish I was.)

Anyway, since my wife will read this, let me say that this sort of competitive behavior was perhaps passed on to her to some slight degree, which drove her to catch up to, and then pass my daughter in Pokemon GO levels… and not quietly, to my daughter’s annoyance.

So the Pokemon GO champion of our house is my wife.

And then I went and got an iPhone last week and she wanted to know pretty quickly if I had installed the game yet.  I hesitated for a couple of days, but eventually installed it… and then made a new account.

My first account is now her account.  She did all the work on it.  So she changed up the avatar to be her rather than me and is still pondering names for the one-time name change option Niantic has given players.

On my account, I hit level 5… largely thanks to the fact that my desk at work is within range of a Pokestop, so a few times a day I look in on it… and went with Team Mystic.  So now my daughter is Team Valor, my wife Team Instinct, and I am Team Mystic.  We now cover all the teams.

Artist's concept of our family group

Artist’s concept of our family group

Now to see how the game will develop.  Right now “catching them all” is a sufficient goal for both my wife and I, but the game lacks so many of the features of the core Pokemon RPGs that I hope more is planned for it going forward beyond simply adding new Pokemon now and again.