Get Ready. Get Set. Go Get Some Golem!
Pokémon Go has been all the rage this summer. Have you downloaded your free Pokémon Go app yet? If so, it’s time to charge up your phones, slap on your cap, tighten up your tennies to hit the trails for Pokémon tucked away in Mendonoma’s hot spots. And we have the intel that will make your hunt a successful one.
Pokémon Go Explained
But what is it some of you may ask?
Launched on July 6 by Niantic, Pokémon Go has been this summer’s hottest smartphone app for youngsters and young at heart alike. Using a real-world gaming platform, Pokémon Go uses real-world locations to encourage players to search far and wide to discover and capture a portmanteau of “pocket monsters” that lay hidden in the countryside.
Armed with your smartphone, you travel about, exploring new niches of your environment, as you hunt for Pokémon, capture them, and then train them for battle against other players. You essentially move between a fanciful virtual world and the real world to locate these mini marvels.
Think of it as geocaching gone to battle.
Satoshi Tajiri’s Autism Helped to Create Pokemon
Pokemon’s creator, Satoshi Tajiri, who identifies as an autistic with Aspergers, was inspired to create a game that embodied the collection and companionship of his childhood hobby, insect collecting. He wanted the games to give children the same joy as he had during his bug collecting. He first
Born in Tokyo in 1969, Satoshi enjoyed collecting bugs as a kid and arcade games as a teenager. In fact, he was such a fan of arcade games he spent more time in the arcades than in school that he eventually flunked out. But that didn’t stop him! He became a video game designer and director best known as the creator of Nintendo’s Pokémon franchise, and one of the founders, and President of video game developer Game Freak Tajiri with Ken Sugimori, before evolving it into a development company of the same name.
Tajiri claims he created the game by the joining of two Game Boys via a link cable. In 1996 his concept became Pokémon Red and Pokémon Green and took six years to complete. Tajiri has also worked for other projects including Mario spin-offs. He was also an executive producer on the live-action film Detective Pikachu.
How ‘Pokemon Go’ Helps Kids with Autism and Asperger’s
As children started playing the game many family members noted how their children’s social interactions increased and improved. Others noted an increase in motivation to go outside to explore new locations. The game’s augmented-reality feature and method of rewarding players who go to Pokestops located at popular landmarks in their communities have led people to be more interactive than normal while playing video games.
According to Lenore Koppelman, the mother of 6-year-old Ralphi the game helped him socialize with other kids. “They want to play ‘Pokemon Go,’ and so does he, so it gives them something in common to do. The kids are so fixated on catching Pokemon that they are concentrating on finding them more than they are concentrating on his behaviors like they usually do,” Koppelman said. “As a result, he is finally finding himself in the middle of groups of kids he doesn’t even know, being welcome to play with them” (Read more in CNN report).
No Experience Needed
Fortunately, for me and others new to these cute monsters, we don’t need any previous Pokémon experience to enjoy Pokémon Go. Further, for those of you, who like me need added guidance, there are plenty of online guides, like TechAdvisor’s Complete Guide to Pokémon Go to help you score these wily creatures.
For your convenience (and mine) I’ve included a training video that shows via trial and error how to play Pokemon Go. Note-this video is nearly one-half hour long.
Where to Go for Pokémon
There are two main types of locations for encountering Pokémon: PokeStops and PokeGyms.
But you may find these critters popping up just about anywhere. I was surprised to discover a Rattata right in my own home driveway!
PokeStops use players’ location data in order to point them toward landmarks to visit and places to capture various collectible monsters.
I discovered that our local Community Center is a PokeStop with Pokémon to be found. I just needed to walk about to find the little devils.
Many locations are actually planting Pokémon at their locations to help draw in visitors.
PokeGyms appear to be large looming towers on your map and are available to all who reach Level Five. Pokemon Go gyms are places you can go to battle and train your Pokemon. If a gym has been claimed, it will be topped by the symbol belonging to the team that controls it. As with PokeStops, community areas, businesses, and parks are creating gyms to invite more visitors to their locations.
Oh yes, there is a secret competitive component to this crazy game. Players must join a team:
- Yellow Team Instinct,
- Blue Team Mystic, and
- Red Team Valor-
This happens once they’re strong enough and have reached level five. That is the magical moment when most of the game’s features are revealed.
Pokémon Go as noted by Polygon already knows some of the coolest places based on previous data collected by major players of Ingress . This intel is loaded up to an online worldwide map with various notable locations. To access that map you’ll need to first download Ingress and sign in to your Google account. After following their access steps including signing agreements you can access the Ingress website, log in with that same account, and you’re ready to go. Once on site, you may access a general global intel map pointing to notable spots around the world, as well as more Ingress-specific data. For Pokémon Go players, the important things to look for are the portal locations.
Ultimately the goal for finding and battling in a Gym is to get the PokeCoins which are used to buy stuff in the store to advance in the game.
Yes, while it is a free-to-play game, Pokémon Go uses various premium items to entice you into spending real-world money to accelerate your in-game progress. PokeCoins are used to buy essential items like Egg Incubators, Lucky Eggs, Lure Modules, Bag Upgrades and more. To increase your wealth quickly you’re going to have to pay for them. They may be worth the expense as they accelerate the progress of your game.
BUT… you can receive free PokeCoins by hanging out at a gym and defending it. Your valor and bravery will earn you a PokéCoin and Stardust bonus for every Pokémon you have defended a gym, as well as every day that Pokémon has successfully defended the gym. The catch is you can only earn a freebie once every 20 hours.
Tips to Playing Pokémon Go in Mendonoma
You’ve booked your vacation rental, you’ve packed your bags, and you’ve charged your phone. Now you’re ready to go play some Pokémon Go in Mendonoma!
And why not with its miles of trails, stunning bodies of water, dozens of parks, and countless historic landmarks, Mendocino and Sonoma Counties are perfect places for a Trainer to get away and seek their elusive prey.
Cell Service Conundrums
As anyone who has traveled along the Sonoma/Mendocino coastal roads knows cell service is at best a crap-shot. Once you are in the towering redwoods or snuggled in between the coastal hills, service is scant if not completely lacking. In fact, locals include in their phone messages a reminder that it’s not that they are so busy they don’t answer, it’s most likely the cell service has been dropped and they didn’t even know you called.
Verizon cell service has been shown to have the strongest service (most bars) overall in the Mendonoma region. And while there AT&T does have a tower located at Moonraker, it comes in second…though sometimes a distant second. For example at Abalone Bay we have only one, maybe two bars of service with AT&T.
One great resource is Mendocino’s Poke Spots map that includes one of our favorite locations, Point Arena- Stornetta National Monument.
Point Arena-Stornetta National Monument: Filled with Fantasy and Real World Creatures
We have always recommend a visit for all of our guests to the pristine 12-mile stretch of coastline that is the Point Arena-Stornetta National Monument located just 15 miles north of Abalone Bay. Now it is a perfect place to discover some rare Water-type Pokémon. Trails cover the bluffs here, giving you plenty of opportunities to find new Pokémon, and also to see some of the incredible natural features of the landscape. The nearby Point Arena Lighthouse is also a popular PokéStop.
Just be certain that you do look up every once in a while to see what other for-real creatures are hiding out in the horizon. You might be lucky enough to view a raft of sea lions, a whale or two or even a spectacular sunset. Also be careful that when chasing after creatures, whether fanciful or real that you don’t step into a blowhole or worse, over the cliffs.
Frequently “Catched and Hatched” Pokémons in Point Arena
Pokémon Go City Stats indicates that other areas in Point Arena are chock full of great Pokémon for you to discover as well!
(Note: It was pointed out to me by one player, that Articuno is not obtainable yet by any Trainer, and not all that the unobtainable Pokémon Go critters all legendaries (part of the original Pokémon collection) Learn more here.
More Mendocino PokéStops:
- Point Cabrillo Lighthouse (Mendocino)
- Lover’s Bench (Mendocino)
- Time & The Maiden Statue (Mendocino)
- Triangle Tattoo & Museum (Fort Bragg)
- Early Logging Railroad Car (Fort Bragg)
- North Coast Brewing Company (Fort Bragg)
- City of Ten Thousand Buddhas Gate (Ukiah)
- Scissor Sculpture (Ukiah)
- Lady in the Lotus Garden (Ukiah)
- Chandelier Drive-Thru Tree (Leggett)
- Confusion Hill (Leggett)
- Gualala- but no specific intel yet on locations and Pokémon that lurk there.
You can find even more tips and hints by visiting Pokémon Go – Mendocino’s Facebook Page.
Please share any further intel you may have discovered in the comments below!
Sonoma County’s Sea Ranch PokeStops
I’ve not heard of specific Pokémon discovered in Sea Ranch as yet. However, for those of you staying in Sonoma County’s Sea Ranch we have good word that you may discover Pokémon in the following locations:
- Shell Beach parking lot
- Sea Ranch Chapel
- Ohlson Ranch House – located next to the Knipp- Stengel (White) Barn and above the Ohlson Recreation Center
There may be more popping up. If you encounter one please let us know and we’ll add it to our list.
For other locations in Sonoma County check out:
Beware, Anti-Pokémon Curmudgeons!
Many are singing the praises of Pokémon Go for getting young people out and about in their search for monsters. They are benefiting from visiting areas they’ve never visited before and exercising as they walk along the pathways searching for a Seadra.
However, others, like some residents in The Sea Ranch, find the phenomenon disheartening and disturbing. They feel it is downright weird to see players buried in their cell phones. They lament kids these days miss the enjoyment of the gorgeous evenings and experiencing all that nature, parks, and the surroundings have to offer. One resident felt that the game actually is the antithesis of the Sea Ranch philosophy.
Is It a Generation Thing?
But this lament was countered by another who wondered how this was any different from kids engaged in any other sport? What of the player who failed to notice a sensational sunset because their attention was diverted to cheer a home run slam? Could it be that these curmudgeons were just old “fuddy-duddies” out of touch with this new technologically aware generation?
Despite the negativity, it is heartening to know that there are folks who find the game charming. They find it reassuring that young people are happily getting out and about as they team up in the hunt.
Added Benefits When Playing Pokémon Go
There may even be added benefits for players with autism who often have difficulty with social interactions. Pokémon Go provides a means of connecting with others while playing the game. Kids with autism who would prefer to remain inside are now wanting to go to the park and are taking walks with friends, some who were known only over the web. At a minimum, the game serves as a conversation starter. For others, the game can help children with autism get moving and exploring, something they don’t always feel comfortable with or want to do.
General Guidelines for Pokémon Go Trainers
Following Niantic’s Guidelines found here will certainly help you survive the naysayers. The keyword in their guide is RESPECT.
You are advised to Respect:
- The community where you play,
- Each other, and
- Privacy of others.
Remember you are playing in a real-world environment with real-life laws and regulations.
Sea Ranch Is a Private Community
The game’s “lure module” leads the players to various PokeStops that frequently are located in public places such as libraries and parks. But stops are also found on private property, empty lots, churches, or even cemeteries. Many come to Sea Ranch for it’s quiet and tranquility. Players may not realize they are trespassing in restricted areas and may draw the attention of law enforcement and residents.
Remember The Sea Ranch is a community of private homes. All Sea Ranch roads, most facilities, and most trails are private. To travel and park on these roads you must have an authorized pass or sticker visible on your car. If someone feels you are causing a disturbance or unlawfully at The Sea Ranch, Sea Ranch’s Security may be called and you may be asked to leave.
Pokémon Go Guidelines Adapted for Trainers Visiting Sea Ranch
To help you have a more enjoyable experience while playing at Sea Ranch, I have adapted Pokémon Go’s guidelines:
1. Respect The Sea Ranch and Its Tranquility- Don’t Trespass
Please, don’t trespass. You can catch Pokémon without going into or onto the property.
Whether you come to The Sea Ranch to enjoy a romantic weekend stay, a family gathering, or to chase Pokémon, remember to always respect private property, and the privacy and peace of the residents and others. Pokémon seekers are well-advised not to trespass or pester residents of Sea Ranch, or others participating in private venues and enjoying the tranquility of the location.
2. Follow the Directions of the Local Authorities
One report by Security at The Sea Ranch Chapel noted a man sitting on the property with a cell phone. However, occurring at the same time was a wedding ceremony about to begin. The gentleman reported he was just passing through while keeping an eye on three boys who were walking around the site playing Pokemon. After they were informed it was a private ceremony, they left.
3. Beware of Safety Hazards
Safety awareness is a skill all children need to learn. And as in all things, playing Pokémon Go is more enjoyable when people play safely and legally.
While many feel playing Pokémon Go is a great tool to get people off their sofas and out to see interesting sights, there are dangers and safety hazards. Pokémon appears in intersections and even on the dashboard of cars. Folks not watching where they are going have sprained their ankles and skinned their knees. Worse, some have even been robbed.
The trick is to maintain a balance between focus on attention to your environment and that of the game. Playing the game requires you to frequently look at your phone, so we ask you to take these precautions:
- If you are playing, you should not be on your phone while driving and use common sense when walking.
- Always stay alert, looking around to see where you are, and be mindful of pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers who may be playing the game.
- When playing within parks and public lands please stay on the park trails even if the Pokémon don’t. Pay attention to the time too; our parks close at dusk. (Staff will chase out the Pokémon then, too.)
4. Do Not Enter Fire Stations
Whether you are playing in your home community or while on vacation in Sea Ranch, please do not enter fire stations, including open apparatus bays. Our firefighters and medics respond to emergency calls 24 hours a day. At any given time, they may be called to an emergency and a distracted pedestrian causes a dangerous situation for responders and trucks leaving the station.
5. Supervise Your Kids
We love that kids enjoy visiting Sea Ranch and staying at Abalone Bay. Now with their interest turning to Pokémon, you need to be even more vigilant. We recommend you first become familiar with the game before allowing your children to download the app.
Take steps to keep your kids safe:
- You and your kids should discuss who they can interact with when they go out into public to use the app.
- Kids should never play the game alone but in a supervised group.
- Know when and where your kids are playing.
- Instruct your kids on rules of trespass
- When playing along Mendonoma coast be aware there are many natural dangers they may encounter (cliffs, wild animals).
Time to go hunting Pokémon!
Well, this has been a fun and enlightening blog post to write.
Now it’s time to go out and see if there are any more Pokémon in my neighborhood. Wish me luck as I struggle to make it to level five.
Do share with us your Pokémon adventures. And if you are looking for a unique place to prepare for or unwind from your next Pokémon hunt consider Abalone Bay in The Sea Ranch.
Also- We’d love to see your screenshots of all the little guys you cornered along the coast!
And speaking of sharing… don’t forget to share this post with your friends as well!