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‪#‎PHForPokemonGO‬ - An Open Letter to Pokemon GO

This letter was originally posted at Smart Communications' Facebook Page. GameOPS obtained permission to repost the entire letter.

I still remember the moment I held my very first Nintendo console over a decade ago, in the summer of 2002. My relatives just got back from the States with pasalubong, I got a neon green Gameboy Color with Pokémon Crystal version. I spent my childhood watching the Pokémon series on TV and like most kids -- I loved it! So imagine my happiness when I got my hands on the game and be able to realize the dream of being the very best like no one ever was.

The memories I have from the game---from catching my very first Pokémon in Route 29 to beating the dragon specializing Pokémon Champion Lance in Indigo Plateau, and the countless times I had to reboot because of failing to capture the Red Gyarados in Lake of Rage and the Lapras in Union Cave (which only appears on Fridays by the way)--- everything’s still fresh it’s crazy! I got caught up with games ever since.

Fast forward to September 2015, The Pokémon Company released the trailer for an upcoming smartphone game called Pokémon Go.

THE HYPE IS REAL and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! Pokémon in the real world is a dream come true for Pokémon fans everywhere. What’s even better is that a lot of people can play because it’s accessible via smartphone so thank you technology!

The Pokémon Go Experience

July 6, 2016- Niantic, the game developer launched the game in Australia and New Zealand on Android and iOS.

I freaked out. I jumped right into making a New Zealand Apple ID just to download and experience the game.

I couldn’t believe that it was really happening!

I chose Charmander as my starter Pokémon because Charizard is my favorite. However, you can also catch Squirtle and Bulbasaur throughout the game. I also heard that Pikachu can appear as a starter by ignoring the three basic starters. For instructions, click on this link

Pokémon GO got me very excited so I went around the neighborhood to catch more Pokémon.

Slowpoke, Kakuna, and Nidoran (M)
Wild Pokémon in the streets of Manila!

Left: an Ivysaur and two Doduos are nearby. Right: a Geodude is nearby.
The blue/purple posts above are PokéStops where you can get free items (mostly Pokéballs) and the grey ones (like the one on the right) are the Pokémon Gyms. You can level up by gaining experience from stopping by the PokéStops, catching Pokémon, beating Gyms, etc. Going to PokéStops and Gyms are key to everything because from what I’ve heard from friends abroad, the higher your level is, the stronger and rarer Pokémon will appear.

Team Instinct for the win!
Upon reaching level 5 you will get to choose a team based on the legendary birds: Articuno (Team Mystic), Zapdos (Team Instinct), and Moltres (Team Valor). THIS IS SO COOL. I chose Zapdos because electricity easily beats Articuno and Moltres, hahaha!

Being on Level 5 also allows you to conquer and attack Gyms, so I went back to the one near our house and claimed it for Team Instinct.

Appointed my Slowpoke as my Pokémon Gym guardian
I appointed Slowpoke as my Gym guardian because he was my second strongest Pokémon at the time (didn’t want to leave my best Pokémon lol). However, I lost when I challenged my own gym (for the sake of trying the battle feature) using my strongest Pokémon, Scyther which was really surprising. Scyther fainted and the only way to restore its health is by using potions that can be found in PokéStops. So be sure that you can beat the Gym before attacking it or you’ll waste potions.

[post_ad]I later found out that you can level up the Pokémon Gyms by attacking it (and letting it win) to gain “Gym Prestige.” The higher the level of the Gym, the more guardians you can put therefore the more difficult it is to beat. So it’s recommended to attack multiple-guardian Gyms in groups and with teammates!

Also, there are rumors that fighting-type Pokémon flock to high level Gyms!

Pokémon I've caught, from the highest to the lowest Combat Power (CP)
That photo above is my current Pokémon stash.

Left: Home ; Right: The next day at the SMART Tower
At around evening I noticed that I couldn’t see PokéStops and I can’t find Pokémon anymore, then I read something online saying they shut down the Philippine servers and region-locked the game. Needless to say, this was a downer.


Since then, fans have been waiting for the game to be up and running worldwide. It is currently live in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and just today, in Japan.

As one of the Community Managers of Smart and a huge Pokémon fan, I’m just as excited as everyone to play the game and we’re doing everything in Smart to make your Pokémon experience---and mine as well---more fun once it’s out.

To Niantic, we know that your engineers and technical team are working extremely hard to add more Pokémon Go servers worldwide. We’re thankful for that. We’d just like to let you know that a lot of people here are looking forward to relive our childhood, become Pokémon Masters, and fulfill the promise once and for all -- to be the very best like no one ever was.

Paolo Umpa, a ’90s kid

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