Saturday, 6 August 2016

Ready for the gym

I had read a lot about picking a team and how it is not possible to change teams after choosing. I had also heard that the yellow team was underrepresented, which seeing as I love the underdog almost swayed me. I also had friends on team Yellow asking me to join them, but the underlying philosophy of both yellow and red went against my own feelings, I decided I would go blue when the time came, and so it was. When I hit Level 5 and approached a gym, Blue is what I chose. Science, evolution, yay! Go Team Mystic!

I could see some gyms from home, in the distance. I was not sure where they were, but they seemed to change hands often, usually red to blue and blue to red, occasionally yellow, but not so often. I seemed to have a lot of gyms around, but every one I went to, had much stronger Pokémon defending it than the ones in my Pokédex, often by a hundred CP or more. I was a little wary of sitting to train against much stronger beasts.

The evening of Thursday, I decided to walk around the stadium of Panionios and its four Pokéstops and to head off up to the square where there were a great number of Pokéstops and a Gym. Getting there, I noticed a number of men, bearded, aged in the 35 to 45 bracket, sitting or standing around a specific corner of the square without any apparent reason, looking and occasionally swiping on their mobes… I did not speak to any of them, as I found a space and sat down ready for some sparring with my creatures. Again, all the competition was out of my league and keen to follow online advice not to spar with stronger foes, I caught as many Pokémon as possible under the Lures which had been set in the squares and left for home.

Driving around or walking around to Pokéstops gave me an opportunity to watch people. Once I knew that this park, or that mural housed a Pokéstop, it made for some interesting people watching. Groups of younger kids walking around and pausing to look at their mobes at specific places with no apparent reason for doing so, the delivery driver who stopped his motorcycle, got his mobe out, swiped and continued driving as he passed a Pokéstop, or the aforementioned older guys sitting and swiping in a crowded public square, oblivious to the real world around them.

Next up we head to the Peloponnese, in the hope that we catch some raries.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Poking around Athens

The next two days were particularly bad in terms of problems logging in.

So used to this...
this, not so much...

I went into the centre of town and while there seemed to have been a lot of action in the area around Omonia, Patission at the height of Veranzerou was particularly dead. The bust of the pilot has a Pokéstop and that’s about it.

The National Archaeological Museum seems to have a number of Pokéstops and a Gym as well, which is not a bad thing. There is a stretch of Ippokratous near Alexandras which is very bare of Pokéstops and other interesting things, but this is more than made up for by Mavromichali below which has three Pokéstops in the space of as many blocks.

Looking towards the National Archaeological Museum...
On Tuesday night I went up to Kaisariani - the main square was full of Pokéstops and one of them had an active Lure - the first one I had encountered. It was very exciting for me and I think this is where I caught the first of the two Lickitungs that I currently have. On Wednesday night when I went up there again, the Lures were still operating in the square and I discovered at least two more Pokéstops working out of the Skopeftirio...

I was gathering eggs, incubating and hatching them (nothing exciting so far) and levelling up nicely. I was almost ready to go to a gym and Thursday night seemed to be the night to do it.

Next up, going to the gym.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Going to the Pokéstop

So, next morning I wake up and seeing the text at the top of my little Charmander urging me to “Check out a Pokéstop”, that’s exactly what I did.

There was a Pokéstop just outside my house. Cool, I think to myself, I can play this outdoors-walking-around-game from the comfort of my own balcony… So out I went onto the balcony and spun the wheel and out popped three little balls (like, what are they called, anyone?). And the Pokéstop went pink and wouldn't let me spin it, and then after I had watered the plants it went blue again so I got three more balls and an egg to incubate!

Don't look for it now, this mural has been painted over...
I also noticed that there was a gym at the end of the road, and Pokéstops all the way round the block. Four Pokéstops on a one km journey round the block. Looks good. One is a church, one is a mural, one is a low relief sculpture on the façade of a stadium and one is a bust of some guy who probably deserved it. On my way out to work, I realized that you could not drive by the Pokéstops. I missed the mural, driving too fast, couldn’t stop at the Church or the bust and only refilled at the stadium before heading off.

Unfortunately (yeah, OK, fortunately), work is located in a black hole as far as Pokémon Go is concerned.

That night, Monday 18, I had an opportunity to go south to the coast and caught a water-bourne Pokémon that I have not seen since. Looks like a blue calamari and is called Tentacool – found him in the sea at Yabanaki. I now had four or five types. Apart from this and the original Charmader, there were the Zubats, the Geodudes and Rattatas and perhaps even some Sandshrews. Totally hooked, I had to catch them all…

Next up, riding round Athens, looking for Pokéstuff!

First light

So, there I was, I had just read that Pokémon Go had been launched in Greece. It was afternoon of the 17th of July, I was on the sofa and I downloaded the game. I knew I did not want to log in with my Google Account, for fear that Niantic would slurp my stuff and settled for a PTC (Pokémon Training Club) account. Even from the get-go, it was tough to connect and create an account and then to log into it. It took a few hours of waiting patiently sitting on my hands and a little after midnight on the 18th,nI had managed to get logged in, with the silly player name of Ivistivi (my usual online monikers were all taken, or else the crappy servers at Pokémon Go were all stuffed full of people trying to log on and my usual monikers were not taken at all, but the servers presumably had a stock response to naming attempts that were timing out).

A little after midnight, then, sat on the sofa, I managed to log in. I noticed what I learned later are Pokéstops all round the house (more on this later) and a few minutes after logging in, a Pokémon creature had appeared in my living room. Ha ha, I think I am going to teach myself how to take photos with the critter in the foreground and my piles of boxes from the move in the background, but no such luck, the phone could not detect my orientation (LoL at that) and so the Augmented Reality was turned off. And the Pokémon disappeared.

About five minutes later when I was playing around with my avatar on the loo, there he was again, a wild Charmander. Seemed easy enough to bag him. He was my first. Apparently he is quite rare, I have not encountered any more and some friends have confirmed that he is a rare one. Still no luck with my orientation, so you get to see a screenshot of him in my Pokédex, and not in my Pokéloo. Gotta catch them all: I had one, I was hooked!

My first Pokémon
Next up, adventures in visiting Pokéstops.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016


So there I was, I had read all the hype, I had read about people tricking their iPhones into thinking they were in the USA so that they could download the phenomenon that is the Pokémon Go game, I had even read the article about how this game was twenty years in the making – by the guy who brought the world keyhole and ingress.

I was part of the keyhole community just about the time keyhole was bought by google and became google earth / google maps, and I loved it (and still do). I had been introduced to ingress by a friend from Turkey who I met up with in Plaka for a meal. He was all excited about it and piqued my interest, but not enough for me to look into it further – in any case I did not have the sort of phone that would allow me to play such a game. As a fiercely loyal Nokia fan, I made the error of upgrading to a windows phone – yes the mobe with the huge app store. You know. App hell.

I came into a proper smartphone a few weeks ago (but not proper enough, more on this later) – so when all the fuss was raging and ingress was being mentioned, I found myself downloading the Pokémon Go game the day it became available in Greece. This is my story…