Most people remember Pokémon Go for the second-half of summer 2016, when it launched in early July and it seemed as if everyone and their mother was out in the park enjoying the sunshine and catching Magikarps or Pidgeys. As such, many would assume that as they stopped playing Pokémon Go after that fateful summer, so did the rest of the world.
However, according to Superdata, more people played Pokémon Go in May 2018 than at any time since the app launched in summer 2016, and its player numbers have continued to rise, meaning only one thing: Pokémon Go is back, better than ever, and waiting for you to redownload it.
I don’t know what came over me to redownload Pokémon Go last month – I was headed to Prague for spring break and missed having a game to play in my spare time. When I loaded the app after nearly three years, I was originally amazed at how much the game had changed; while the original launch only contained one generation of pokémon, few Pokéstops, and even fewer gyms, the app now boasts about 500 Pokémon to catch, most of which I had never seen before. Additionally, many Pokéstops from 2016 have now been turned into gyms, meaning more Pokéstops have been added around the world.
In St Andrews particularly, I would estimate over 200 people are currently playing Pokémon Go, with gyms constantly being taken over by other players and lures galore at Pokéstops on weekends. With summer approaching, and as exercise and time outdoors have both been proven to improve your mood and reduce stress (ideal conditions for the upcoming revision period), now is a perfect time to re-download the game and start playing again with new friends.
As the game has changed, and many of us were not St Andrews students when it first launched in the summer of 2016, here is a student guide to playing Pokémon Go in St Andrews.
When re-launching the game in St Andrews, I would encourage you to invite your friends to do the same and add them as friends on the app. Not only do you receive special items and exclusive eggs when they send you gifts, but if you continue interacting with them, you can gain thousands of XP from becoming better friends with them.
Additionally, the app now rewards you at the end of the week for walking 5km, 25km, and 50km, meaning if you make an effort to take a long walk outside every day, you are not only rewarding your body and soul, but you are also rewarding your Pokémon avatar.
Finally, if you complete a field research task once a day, you earn a stamp towards your research progress, and seven stamps means that you can unlock rare items as well as a legendary Pokémon. For me, this has been my motivation for attending lectures and walking to the library, as I can often achieve my daily research task on the way to class and almost never from staying inside all day.
A number of Pokéstops are located in town, with three outside of the Students’ Union, three at or near the library, one at the Sports Centre, and a number at West Sands Beach and the Old Course. If you’re planning a walk around town to spin them all, I would recommend starting at the top of the Scores near the Old Course, walking down to the St Andrews Castle, hitting the pier and Cathedral, then making your way back down North Street past St Salvator’s Cathedral. There are fewer stops on Market Street and South Street as a whole, but I would recommend also visiting the park near the Physics Building and St Mary’s College on South Street for an abundance of Pokéstops and rarer Pokémon.
With a new update, you can now spin Gyms for items as well as battling in them, making them essentially superior Pokéstops and worth visiting while exploring the town for Pokémon.
If a member of Team Mystic, or the blue team, you will notice most gyms are already blue and thus I would recommend adding your Pokémon to them as you stop by (although be wary of a 50-coin limit, so you won’t be able to earn unlimited coins from your Pokémon lasting a day in a gym). If you’re of Team Valor (red) or Instinct (yellow), it is less likely you will have gyms already of your team, but battling against Pokémon will give you the XP equivalent to catching one in the wild, so this is a great opportunity if you are looking to level up.
Gyms are located at St Salvator’s Quad, Younger Hall, two at St Andrews Cathedral, Pavillion on the Scores, The Scores Hotel, Physics Building, Chemistry Building, Agnes Blackadder Hall, Gateway Building, Blackfriars Chapel, and two at St Mary’s College, among some others.
Pokémon Go excites with cannot-miss Community Days once a month, where a particular Pokémon usually not found as commonly in the wild appears in overwhelming abundance for three hours, offering the opportunity to not only catch hundreds but to evolve it completely as well, usually for a bonus attack if you evolve it during the event. The May Community Day is on Sunday 19 May 2019 from 3:00pm to 6:00pm with Torchic, which evolves into Combusken and Blaziken. The next community days in the summer will be on 8 June, 21 July, and 3 August.