How To: Pokémon Go in Cincinnati

One intern’s unenthused—but informed—guide to the game

Pokémon Go dropped less than a week ago, but it has stolen the hearts (and social lives) of millions. My boyfriend is among them. I thought he was joking when he said he was ‘going out to catch Pokémon.’ Nope. Also “the gym” has nothing to do with working out. But you already knew that.

After a brief educational session on the ins and outs of local Pokémon Go hotspots, I’m prepared to offer up a Pokémon Go Guide to the 513:


Photograph Courtesy of Nicholas A. Liston

So how does the game work…

Much of the appeal of Pokémon Go is determined by where you are and what geographical landmarks you are surrounded by. So if you are in a park or heavily wooded area, you’re supposed to find buggy type Pokémon, and if you’re by the riverfront, some types of aquatic Pokémon might be what you find, and so on. Where we live, in Clifton, is Zubats and Pidgeys galore.

The app itself crashes and stalls more than players would like, but the big draw is for players to “catch ’em all.” Players can throw Pokéballs at the touch of their fingertips, and a battle system is designed for players to seize “gyms” (which I have learned are hotspots in the game).

I asked a few strangers on our walkabout what the appeal was for them, and many answered that it was nostalgia that brought them to the game.


Photograph Courtesy of Nicholas A. Liston

Why it’s cool…

So what does all of this exploring (and dragging me along) mean for players? It means people are exploring new parts of Cincinnati in a way they haven’t done before. The more advanced you are in the game, the rarer kinds of Pokémon you will catch as you spread out across the city.


Photograph Courtesy of Nicholas A. Liston

Your Guide to Cincy…

Knowing a few local Pokémon hangouts will get you started:

Yeatman’s Cove Park: Magmar, Electabuzz, and Dratini can be spotted in this park.

Newport on the Levee: Doduo can be found here, and if you’re lucky, Dodrio. Other Pokémon found are Slowpoke, Magikarp, and Psyduck–all water types.

University of Cincinnati: U.C. campus is a trifecta of Poké stops in the middle of Swift Hall and Old Chem, and in front of McMicken, which has been said to have good spawns.


Photograph Courtesy of Nicholas A. Liston

Mastering the Art of catching ’em all…

While the game itself is fairly simple, it takes some serious commitment to become a pro. Here are some helpful hints to keep you going.­

→ Looking to hatch some Pokémon eggs? Pokémon eggs hatch after they have been incubated for a certain amount of miles, so walking or biking distances mean those eggs are bound to start hatching. The game encourages movement and physical activity (Fitbit and Pokémon Go? Sounds like a match made in heaven) so head to the Loveland Bike Trail or the Riverwalk to give those eggs a good chance of hatching. My boyfriend took it upon himself to go for a nice run on the U.C. campus to get his eggs hatching and I don’t know if I’m embarrassed or proud. Whatever activity you chose, get on out there.

→ Heavily populated and high-traffic areas are a breeding ground for Pokémon. Popular spots like University of Cincinnati and Fountain Square, where tons of people gather, are where high numbers of Pokémon will appear.

→ Explore neighborhoods and areas you haven’t been to before. Diversifying your exploration will result in different kinds of monsters that you’ll encounter. So park the car, and walk around a new neighborhood with some friends. Do bring some water and maybe some sunscreen. It is summer, you know.

→ Look for other players. One of the coolest things I have seen in being dragged along for this whole experience is how strangers are interacting with one another. Talking with other players about where they have found rare Pokémon and spots they have hit is a good way to get better at the game. It’s also hilarious when someone finds a rare type, because the crowd goes wild.

Finally, as always, keep your phone charged. Low Power Mode is the worst.

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