The ‘90s kids' wildest dreams came true when “Pokemon Go” released to the U.S. on July 6.
The augmented reality game’s popularity exploded, and soon enough Columbia seemed like it was Celadon City with its trainer activity.
As the new semester starts, a new flood of “Go” players will hit the area. Gyms are already immensely competitive as 1,600+ CP Pokemon are emerging, and it might be overwhelming for trainers coming in from less-populated areas. Here are 10 tips to help you become a USC Pokemon Master.
1. Know that team distribution in Columbia is a little unbalanced.
So far, the majority of Columbia trainers are either Team Mystic or Valor. This has led to many back-and-forth battles for gyms around local Pokemon hot spots. However, the Team Instinct trainers in the area make up for their small numbers with power and determination. Some have taken over gyms and put Pokemon on as strong as, if not stronger than, Mystic's or Valor's.
2. The Horseshoe is the heart of USC “Pokemon Go” activity.
Whether you’re playing between classes or after a late-night study session, you can expect at least one active lure on any of the Horseshoe PokeStops. It is also home to multiple gyms that don’t stay with one team for long. If you do get a Pokemon on one of them, collect your gym credits before someone else takes over.
3. Be aware of closing times for public places.
Local parks and monuments might look open 24/7, but the signs posted near entrances are there for a reason. Trespassing and/or loitering in places after hours can attract attention from the police. Even if an officer sends you and your friends home, sneaking back in after he or she leaves will give “Pokemon Go” players a bad name. If a popular spot gets enough trouble, authorities can ask Niantic to remove any and all PokeStops in the area.
4. Practice good trainer etiquette when visiting cemeteries or graveyards.
Some people aren’t keen on “Pokemon Go” players going to cemeteries. If you do visit PokeStops or gyms at graves or memorials, it’s considered polite to place at least a flower at the marker to show respect for the person resting or remembered there. Many nearby grocery stores sell inexpensive bouquets.
5. Use the Riverfront and Riverwalk parks to refuel on supplies.
The two parks have walking trails abundant with PokeStops and dotted with gyms. The area is teeming with water types, including rarer Pokemon such as Dratini, Golduck, Seaking, Slowpoke and Shellder. Once you’ve walked your ideal distance, any Stops you hit should have reset for another round on your way out.
6. Stop by the Pokemon “nest” under the Gervais Street bridge.
Once “the” spot in the city for catching Dratinis, the amphitheater on the Cayce Riverwalk is an excellent spot to help fill your Pokedex. Along with the common Columbia Pokemon, there have been confirmed catches of Dragonites, Pikachus, Vulpixes and Glooms there.
7. Easily hatch low-level eggs at the Strom indoor track.
The Strom Thurmond Wellness and Fitness Center's carpeted track is 1/7 of a mile long. To hatch a 2k egg, you will need to walk or run a little over nine laps (about 1.24 miles) — 21 for a 5k (about 3.11 miles). If you’re really feeling adventurous and can’t go outside due to weather conditions, you can hatch a 10k egg after 42 laps, or a little over 6.21 miles.
8. Watch the Statehouse for its return to the “Pokemon Go” scene.
In the first month of “Pokemon Go,” trainers swarmed the South Carolina Statehouse grounds due to the prestigious gym, abundance of PokeStops and loop of walking paths. Dozens of people walked around day and night to catch rare Pokemon and meet up with friends. The PokeStops and gym mysteriously vanished July 29, but Gov. Nikki Haley has asked Niantic to bring back the Stops, which have not yet reappeared.
9. Charleston’s Pokemon can easily beat Columbia’s water types.
The Holy City is bursting with PokeStops as well as fire- and electric-type Pokemon. Even the elusive Cubone appears often. If you happen to find yourself near Charleston City Market, prepare your item bag and Pokeball-throwing skills. Each building in the market houses a PokeStop, and common catches in the area include Magnemite, Voltorb, Vulpix, Horsea, Tentacool and Geodude. Rarer Pokemon, such as Ninetales, Magmar, Ponyta, Sandshrew, Grimer, Shellder, Jolteon and Machop have also spawned there.
10. Encourage positivity and good sportsmanship, regardless of team, and make smart decisions.
“Pokemon Go” has gotten somewhat of a reputation for vicious rivalries between teams. There have been numerous instances of excluded trainers, foul language and even vandalism from all teams. Call out any fellow team members who are hurting people or property. Also, bring a friend or two while Pokemon hunting when it’s dark out, and trust your gut feeling if you feel uncomfortable. Help foster a safe, supportive “Pokemon Go” community in Columbia, and prepare to be the very best that no one ever was.