An Open Letter to Pokémon GO

by Pao Umpa | Aug 01, 2016
Pokémon Go is coming - A 90’s kid perspective
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! 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 some legendary and rare Pokémon --- everything’s still so fresh, it’s crazy!

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

THE HYPE IS REAL. 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 - 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 still catch the other starter Pokémon even Pikachu. Pokémon GO got me very excited so I went around the neighborhood to catch more Pokémon.

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.. 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. 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. I found out that you can level up the Pokémon Gyms by attacking them 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!


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, Japan, France and Hong Kong. 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