How to catch 'em all in Canada: Pokemon Go tips from a 'seasoned' pro

So you wanna be the very best, eh? Like no one ever was? Good luck, my fellow Canucks — you'll need it.

If I had known then what I know now ... I'd already have Pikachu in my Pokedex

Canadians who showed restraint last week may have some advantages over those of us who downloaded Pokemon Go early — chiefly, the ability to learn from our mistakes. (Pokemon Go/Lauren O'Neil)

So you wanna be the very best, eh? Like no one ever was? Good luck, my fellow Canucks — you'll need it.

Here are a few things that I, a relative veteran at 13 days of consistent gameplay, wish I'd known before starting Pokemon Go. 

For basic how-to tips, the friendly (and apparently sexy?) Professor Willow will be happy to help you within the app.

Get Pikachu as your starter.

Like the earlier Pokemon games for Nintendo DS, this one lets you choose between three "starter" Pokemon at the outset: Bulbasaur, Charmander and Squirtle. 

There is another option, though — a secret starter who will only come around if you ignore the first three for long enough. Pikachu is one of the most-sought Pokemon on the planet right now, so count yourself lucky if you're early enough in the game to make use of this trick. ​

Tap your peers to find the best Pokemon.

In the spirit of "you teach me and I'll teach you," Pokemon Go players are sharing their game-related intel en masse to help each other succeed.

Subreddits and Facebook groups exist for trainers in nearly every major Canadian city, and Poke Radar, an "assistant app for discovering the location of any Pokemon that's been found by other players," is currently at No. 2 on the Apple top charts for free apps in Canada.

Also, don't be afraid to chat with other players out in the wild. Most of us are very friendly, and always happy to tip off a fellow hunter to the Jigglypuff a few steps yonder.

Poke Radar, a crowdsourced Pokemon location mapping app, suggests that Montreal, left, is a hotspot for Abras. Vancouver, on the other hand, boasts many reports of fire-type Pokemon. (Poke Radar/CBC Screenshot)

Go to where your favorite monsters live.

Niantic has been decidedly quiet about how one's location affects gameplay, but players are noticing atypically high numbers of specific types in some regions.

Toronto, for instance, is known for its abundance of Drowzees, while New Yorkers report seeing tons of Zubats.

In general, though, Pokemon tend to hang out in places that coincide with their elemental "types." Grass types seem to be more common in parks, water Pokemon pop up around lakes, and fighting types, like Mankey and Hitmonlee, are said to gather near stadiums or gyms.

You'll also find more critters (and lures dropped by other players to attract them) in cities, around landmarks and in areas known to be densely populated.

Choose your team wisely.

When you're at a level 5 and ready to do battle, you'll be asked to choose one of three teams: Mystic (blue), Valor (red) or Instinct (yellow.)

Take a look at the gyms in your area and notice which colours they tend to be most often. If you're in the game to do battle, you'll want to choose an opposing team. If you'd prefer to train a lot and red gyms are popular where you live, go with Valor.

Dress for an actual adventure. 

You will have to travel across the land, searching far and wide to do well in this game. Everything from hatching your eggs to collecting stardust depends on it.

American users started complaining about exercise-induced pain shortly after the game launched there, which many people panned as silly — but going from zero to 100 on the walking scale is no joke, especially in uncomfortable shoes. 

As I learned on Saturday, a quick trip to the grocery store can easily turn into five hours of stalking Pokemon with your neighbours before anyone realizes how long they've been outside. 

Time flies when you're having fun, but blisters and sunburns hurt.

Keep your cool. It's just a game.

Server outages still plague the game. Your reign at a gym likely won't last long. Pokemon will always jump out of balls when they're caught if they've got a lot of potential.

Don't be discouraged. We`re all in this together. Be safe, have fun, and please email me if you find a Snorlax.

Professor Willow can be summoned for help by touching your 'tips' in your app's Poke ball menu. (Pokemon Go/CBC screenshot)


Lauren O'Neil covers internet culture, digital trends and the social media beat for CBC News. You can get in touch with her on Twitter at @laurenonizzle.


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