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Pokémon Sun & Moon Players Blow Second Straight Global Event

After players failed to meet the goal for the first global event in Pokémon Sun & Moon, developer Game Freak said it would lessen the requirements for the second occasion. Despite this gesture, the players yet again couldn't pull it off. 

For the second global event that started January 6 and ran until January 9, trainers were tasked with using the Island Scan feature to find one million Pokémon, then catch or defeat them. If all participants met that goal, then everyone would have received 2,017 Festival Coins. But the community only came up with 661,000, again falling well short of their goal. As a consolation, participants received a prize of 217 Festival Coins.

During the first event players were challenged to capture 100 million Pokémon, but only came up with 16 million.

 

Our Take
I guess Game Freak should continue to re-scope their global event goals downward until the players have more of a fighting chance. 

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Study estimates Pokemon Go has added over 144 billion steps to US physical activity

A new study of Pokemon Go interest correlation with activity finds that “if this user engagement could be sustained, Pokémon Go would have the potential to measurably affect US life expectancy.” …


Gamasutra News

The Coolest Pokémon Cards We Pulled From 100 Booster Packs

I grew up loving Pokémon cards. Though I was never an avid player of the trading card game itself, I spent a large percentage of my allowance on starter kits, theme decks, and booster packs. Though I stopped after the base set was retired and eventually sold all of mine off, thinking they would never hold value over the years (the real money's in the 10,000 baseball cards in my basement, right?!), I've since longed to rebuild my old collection from the ground up.

Unfortunately, authentic cards from the base set have skyrocketed in value, meaning that if I want my old Charizard back, I had better prepare to pay out the nose for it. I wrote off my desire to rebuild my collection as something that would never happen unless I strike it rich, but when the Pokémon TCG announced that it would be celebrating the series' 20th anniversary with a new retro-facing expansion that enhanced and reissued a big chunk of the base set cards, I was immediately sold.

Before the aforementioned XY – Evolutions expansion released in the States, I decided to get a headstart on my new collection. I read that the Pokémon TCG: Generations expansion focused heavily on the original 151 monsters, so I bought more cards than I should have.

I purchased all four EX boxes starring Pikachu, Blastoise, Charizard, and Venusaur, which each had four booster packs, plus a special EX card devoted to that box's respective mascot, plus I picked up the Elite Trainer Box, which had 10 booster packs plus a ton of energy cards. When the XY – Evolutions expansion hit, I went all-in. I bought both decks (Pikachu Power and Mewtwo Mayhem) and grabbed a box of 36 booster packs. In addition, we were sent 12 booster packs of the XY – Evolutions expansion, and I bought a few more on my own. 

Believe it or not, it took a really long time to open 100 booster packs. Adding to the tedium was the inevitable number of duplicates I started getting in the latter portion of the journey. Regardless, it's always thrilling to open a booster pack and get an awesome pull; revealing a Charizard that resembled the one I foolishly sold in my youth made it all worthwhile. As a former collector of the base set, it threw me a bit to find shiny cards of Pokémon like Ponyta and Metapod, while in that same pack, pulling a non-holographic Mewtwo (I think the holographic Mewtwo cards are exclusive to the Mewtwo Mayhem deck). Either way, I enjoyed the trip down memory lane through this deep exploration of these two nostalgia-driven expansions, and now that I'm all the way through Pokémon Sun and Moon, I'm looking forward to the Alola-centric expansion in February.

Check out the best cards I pulled from the Generations and XY – Evolutions expansions below and on subsequent pages.

On the next page, we look at even more of the coolest Pokémon cards we pulled from our packs and decks.


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Pokemon Go Update Makes Original Starter Pokemon More Likely To Be Encountered

If you've been hoping to capture a Charmander, Bulbasaur,and Squirtle (or their various evolved forms) in Pokemon Go, now is probably the best time to get outside. An update just hit the app that makes it more likely to encounter the fan favorites.

Here's Niantic on the specifics:

In addition, from the afternoon of December 30, 2016, through the afternoon of January 8, 2017 (PST), the first partner Pokémon and their Evolutions, originally discovered in the Kanto region, are more likely to be encountered. This means a greater chance to catch Bulbasaur, Ivysaur, and Venusaur, as well as Charmander, Charmeleon, and Charizard, plus Squirtle, Wartortle, and Blastoise! As a way to increase your chance to encounter one of these Pokémon, Lure Modules will also last for 60 minutes instead of 30 minutes.

It's also worth nothing that the Pokemon Go Free Incubator gifting is still going on until Jan 3.

[Source: Pokemon Go Live]

 

Our Take
The possibility of catching a Charmander isn't quite strong enough to get me to go back to Pokemon Go…but it's almost there. 

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Pokémon Sun And Moon’s Second Global Mission Is Live

Up until January 9, trainers can use the Island Scan feature in Pokémon Sun and Moon in a collective attempt to find one million Pokémon, then catch or defeat them. If all participants meet that goal, then everyone will receive 2,017 Festival Coins. However, even if trainers don't get close to that achievement, participants will be compensated with 217 Festival Coins.

The mission is live now, so all you have to do is hop into the game and start using the Island Scanner. The tool, which allows you to locate rare Pokémon, is unlocked once you use the QR reader five times and gain 100 points from it in a single day. To get started, you can use some of the codes below.

The first global mission tasked players with the challenge of finding 100 million Pokémon, and that goal was never met. Hopefully, this mission will be more likely to succeed considering the goal has dropped to one million Pokémon. Good luck!

[Source: Pokémon]

www.GameInformer.com – The Feed

Pokémon Sun And Moon’s Second Global Mission Is Live

Up until January 9, trainers can use the Island Scan feature in Pokémon Sun and Moon in a collective attempt to find one million Pokémon, then catch or defeat them. If all participants meet that goal, then everyone will receive 2,017 Festival Coins. However, even if trainers don't get close to that achievement, participants will be compensated with 217 Festival Coins.

The mission is live now, so all you have to do is hop into the game and start using the Island Scanner. The tool, which allows you to locate rare Pokémon, is unlocked once you use the QR reader five times and gain 100 points from it in a single day. To get started, you can use some of the codes below.

The first global mission tasked players with the challenge of finding 100 million Pokémon, and that goal was never met. Hopefully, this mission will be more likely to succeed considering the goal has dropped to one million Pokémon. Good luck!

[Source: Pokémon]

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Pokémon Go Holiday Boxes Available For Purchase Until January 3

Along with free daily incubators and the abundance of starter Pokémon, Niantic is offering Pokémon Go fans the greatest gift of all: the chance to buy things in bundles at a discounted price.

Available since yesterday morning and until December 30, Special, Great, and Ultra holiday boxes available in the in-game store offer bundles that include Great and Ultra Balls, Egg Incubators, and Incense. The bundles break down as follows:

  • Special Box: x10 Great Balls, x2 Egg Incubators, 250 Coins
  • Great Box: x20 Great Balls, x2 Incense, x4 Egg Incubators, 550 Coins
  • Ultra Box: x20 Ultra Balls, x25 Incense, x6 Egg Incubators, 1500 Coins

From December 30 until January 3, players will be able to buy Bronze, Silver, and Gold Holiday Boxes, which, according to the official Pokémon Go blog, will include "Incense, Lure Modules, Lucky Eggs, Poké Balls, and Great Balls." The exact contents of each of these bundles is still unknown.

[Source: Pokémon Go Live]

 

Our Take
Okay, here's my issue. I have way too many Great and Ultra balls for them to be in any way alluring as part of a bundle, and I think I've used Incense what, three times? As such, the only thing about the current round of holiday boxes that entices me is the Egg Incubators, and doing a little math, the Great and Ultra Boxes aren't as good a deal as the base Special Box. If all you want is some Incubators, you can get six of them for 750 Coins by buying three Special Boxes, which is half the price of an Ultra Box, and… I've thought about this way too much, haven't I?  

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The Pros And Cons Of The Pokémon Go Apple Watch App

When Niantic CEO John Hanke announced that Pokémon Go was getting a companion app for the Apple Watch, the app was still within arm's reach of its global phenomenon status. Fast-forward three months to December, and Pokémon Go's popularity has dipped significantly thanks to waning interest from casual players, frustration from technical issues, and cold weather making it more difficult to play. Regardless, the devoted Pokémon seekers have been patiently waiting for the release of the Apple Watch app Niantic promised before the end of 2016.

With just over a week remaining in 2016, Niantic surprise-launched the Apple Watch app, marketing it as a better way to play in cold temperatures. Over the first few days of its availability, I put the Apple Watch app to the test and immediately noticed several positives and negatives about it. Check out my biggest takeaways from my time with the app below, and if you've been using the new app, leave your thoughts in the comments.

Pro: You Don't Need To Have Your Phone Out

The big selling point for the Apple Watch app is that you no longer need to have your phone out to passively play Pokémon Go. I can't tell you how many walks I've gone where I've opened up the Pokémon Go app and then slipped my phone into my pocket so that I could rack up kilometers to hatch my eggs and earn candy for my buddy Pokémon. With the Apple Watch app, I no longer need to waste my phone's battery or go through the hassle of putting my unlocked phone into my pocket where anything can happen. Now, I can just fire up Pokémon Go on my Apple Watch and watch the kilometers pour in when I'm on the go. This also helps when the weather dips below freezing and your phone can be painful to operate.

Con: You Can't Do Much From The Watch App Itself

While this isn't much of a problem if I'm just trying to accrue distance for eggs and candy, the Apple Watch app is only good for playing passively. Included in the list of things you can't do within the Apple Watch app are catching Pokémon and managing your collection (transferring, evolving, marking as favorite, etc.). We knew that this was the case before launch, but being able to catch nearby creatures (even in a limited capacity as is seen in the Pokémon Go Plus accessory) would be a big plus for the app's overall experience.

Pro: It Notifies You Of Nearby Monsters And Stops

It pays to have the Pokémon Go app open as often as possible. In addition to accumulating distance, having the app open ensures you don't miss a nearby Pokémon that you need to bolster your collection. With the Apple Watch app, you can set it to notify you about each nearby Pokémon. This means that if you're walking down the street and a Snorlax spawns nearby, you'll feel a little tap on your wrist and a bell sound to let you know. You still need to get your phone out to catch it, but at least you don't miss the opportunity as you would have before this app's release.

Con: There's Little Notification Customization

With the current settings, however, you're either notified about everything or nothing. So if you want your watch to tell you about the elusive Dragonite that you need to complete your Pokédex, you're going to have to tolerate several hundred Pidgey and Rattata notifications. Third-party apps with a similar notification system have a filtering system that lets you select which Pokémon you wish to be notified about. If Niantic could implement a system where I can say that I only want to be told about a particular list of monsters, it will come that much closer to a necessary app for any aspiring Pokémon Master.

Pro: You Can Hatch Eggs And Earn Candy From Stationary Workouts

My first time using the Pokémon Go Apple Watch app, I ran five kilometers, earning candy, hatching an egg, and grabbing an Abra along the way. The next day, the weather was pretty rough, so I kept my workout indoors. Just to see what it did, I started a workout within the Pokémon Go Apple Watch app and much to my surprise, it actually tracked distance. To test it out again, I did another full hour on a cardio machine inside of my house and tracked several kilometers without setting foot outside or even moving from the spot that I started. I'm not sure how it estimates your distance, but I successfully tracked multiple kilometers during my indoor workouts.

Con: You Have To Babysit It

Over the course of my tests, I ran into the problem of the app resetting in the middle of my workout. During my outdoor run, the app kicked me back to the "Start" screen, approximately every six minutes. This became a big hassle and a huge distraction to my run as I had to keep looking at my wrist to ensure it was still tracking. I tried different things like turning off the notifications for nearby Pokémon, but the problem persisted. I thought maybe it was because I was going too fast, but when I went for a leisurely walk later that day, the app reset in the same manner before I even got off my block. When I did my stationary workouts, the first day resulted in similar problems, but the second time I was able to make it the full hour without any kind of reset or lost progress. I was hopeful that it was a sign that the app is improving in stability, but the very next workout I tried to do with it, it wouldn't last for more than 60 seconds without crashing. 

A Mixed Bag

The Pokémon Go Apple Watch App is a step in the right direction for making Pokémon Go as easy to play as possible. The convenience of being able to hatch eggs and earn buddy Pokémon candy without needing to have your phone out is great selling point, but I couldn't help but feel that my first few days with the app show that it's not quite where it needs to be to be a viable alternative to walking around, with your face buried in your phone like so many of us did throughout the summer and fall.

Luckily, many of the big issues with the Apple Watch app could be remedied through post-release updates. Whether or not Niantic decides to do that is another thing entirely. If Niantic does patch out the technical issues and makes the app more useful, it could become a more convenient way to monitor what's happening around you.

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Pokémon Red & Blue – A Look Back At The 20-Year Journey To Catch ‘Em All

Between Go, Sun & Moon, and Pokkén, 2016 was a huge year for Pokémon. Some may have found the franchise for the first time this year, but Pokémon began with the Japanese release of Pokémon Red & Green in 1996. We're looking back on the development and release of the original Pokémon for a better understanding of its continually growing legacy. This feature originally
appeared in issue 276 of Game Informer magazine.

Pokémon is a massive franchise. The series is celebrating 20 years, and more than 200 million Pokémon games have been sold over the course of its two-decade tenure. The Pokémon Company has become one of Nintendo’s most important partners and the two are celebrating the Pocket Monster legacy in 2016 by finally, after years of fan demand, releasing the original Pokémon games, Red, Blue (and Yellow) on 3DS Virtual Console.

Originally released in Japan in 1996 as Pokémon Red and Green, the series took two years to make its way to North America. The game was developed by Game Freak and directed by Satoshi Tajiri, who is credited as the main inspiration, creator, and driving force behind the original games and the -Pokémon franchise.

Tajiri has cited a handful of important influences on the ideas that fostered the creation of Pokémon. As a child, Tajiri collected bugs and insects, a popular pastime for Japanese children. In a 1999 Time magazine interview, Tajiri’s father said his friends used to call him Dr. Bug. This is where the core idea of collecting Pokémon came from. The mechanic of collecting Pokémon in Pokéballs came from the popular Japanese television show, Ultraman, who kept creatures in small capsules to be produced for combat when he  needed them.

Junichi Masuda worked on the first Pokémon games as a composer and programmer, but today works as a producer and director on assorted core Pokémon entries. He spoke with Gamasutra in 2009 about another important aspect of Pokémon: the trading. “When Mr. Tajiri went to talk to [Nintendo], Mr. Miyamoto actually suggested, ‘How about creating different cartridges? There are different Pokémon on each cartridge, and people are willing to trade the Pokémon.’”

The original Pokémon games were in development for six years – an incredibly long development period even by today’s standards. In a recent Pokémon Company video discussing the development of those games, Masuda reminisced about the difficulty of the project. “I remember my computers always overheating and breaking down on me,” Masuda said, “I would work hard to fix them, and eventually we managed to complete the first Pokémon games, but I think I went through four computers by the end.”

For more on the legacy of the original Pokémon release, head to page two.


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Pokémon Go Holiday Event Gifts Free Incubators

If you’re ready to grow your Pokémon Go collection, we’ve got good news. The game’s holiday event has some fun stuff going on to celebrate the jolly season. For most players, the most significant feature is the opportunity to get free incubators. By heading out to PokéStops between December 25 and January 3, you can acquire one single-use Incubator each day after your first Photo Disc spin. In addition, during that same stretch of time, limited edition Pokémon eggs (like Togepi and Pichu) are more likely to be found. 

Beginning a little later on December 30 and running through January 8, several other Pokémon are more likely to be be caught, including Bulbasaur, Ivysaur, Venusaur, Charmander, Charmeleon, Charizard, Squirtle, Wartortle, and Blastoise. During this time, lure modules will last 60 minutes instead of 30 minutes, giving you more chances to snag those sought-after little guys. 

You can read all about the event on the official page

 

Our Take
Pokémon Go was one of the biggest gaming phenomenons of 2016. It’s fitting that its team is giving something back to the community in the final days of the year. 

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