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    Operate Now: Hospital – $20 Gift Card Giveaway

    Here at The Mommy Gamers we love giving stuff away to our community. Today it’s a $20 gift card to use for in game purchases in Operate Now: Hospital.

    Available on iOS and Android exclusively from Spil Games, Operate Now: Hospital, is a drama inspired medical journey, where you experience being a surgeon, building a medical team, and managing a hospital. In this realistic simulation game, your objective is to assemble a highly skilled medical team to perform operations on patients and to put your medical facility at the number one spot in the world.

    The game is free to download so you can start playing now while you wait to see if you’ve won. I’ll be playing as well and will return with a review of the game once the contest is over. I may have already gotten my husband hooked! Oh the hospital drama!

    Download from Google Play
    Download from iTunes

    Scrubs and gloves at the ready! Enter the giveaway below.

    Google Play / iTunes $20 Gift Card

    Pokémon GO Plus: The Good and The Bad

    Pokémon GO Plus

    As soon as I heard about the Pokémon GO Plus, I grabbed every game I could part with and went to GameStop to preorder. Niantic hadn’t released a whole lot of details on how the peripheral device would work, but I knew it was supposed to make playing easier, so I was on board. Like many who was excited to get their hands on the accessory, I was disappointed when I heard they were pushing back their original release date from late July until September. However, I waited patiently, have been using it for a few days now, and have come to my opinions on the currently in low supply device.

    The Good

    • Wearing it: Pokémon GO Plus comes with two options for a person to wear it. You can either clip it on your person, or wear it on a bracelet. I love the options, but I have chosen to wear it as a bracelet. It’s lightweight and more comfortable than most watches I’ve worn in my time. I also think it looks pretty cool, as it looks like a cross between a Pokéball, and a map marker on Google Maps.

     

    • Ease of use: Once paired with the Pokémon GO app, the Pokémon GO Plus makes playing so much easier. The device will vibrate and flash with a green light when a Pokémon is near. Then, all you have to do is push the button on the device for a chance to catch the Pokémon. If the device flashes with different colors, it means you caught the Pokémon. If it flashes red, it means the Pokémon ran away.

     

    • Pokémon GO Plus will vibrate and flash blue if you pass within range of a Pokéstop. Again, pressing the button on the device will count as “spinning” the Pokéstop in game, rewarding you with items. However, if the device flashes red after trying to “spin” the Pokéstop, then it means you have already traveled too far away from the Pokéstop in order for the spin to count.

     

    • Niantic’s peripheral also makes hatching eggs easier. While the device is connected via Bluetooth to the app, it acts as a pedometer. No longer do you have to worry about whether or not the app is “counting” how far you’re traveling due to it’s not always so reliable GPS. The Pokémon GO Plus counts your steps that are then read in the app as distance traveled. If someone were so inclined, they could lie on their couch, shake the device, and hatch all the eggs their heart desires.

     

    • Using other apps: While Pokémon GO is connected to the Pokémon GO Plus via Bluetooth, you can back out of the app and it will run in the background. This means you can use other apps on your phone and still catch all the Pokémon that come into range.

    The Bad

    • Battery Life: Since the app has to be connected via Bluetooth in order for the Pokémon GO Plus to work, it does cause a little more strain on the battery. It’s very easy to keep the app going all day to maximize on the Pokémon extravaganza, however, be prepared to charge your phone more than once a day if you do this.

     

    • Disconnects after a time: I’m sure they put this in as a way to help save on phone battery life, but it can become annoying to keep going back into the app to reconnect the Pokémon GO Plus.

     

    • Running out of Pokeballs: Since it’s so much easier to catch Pokemon with Pokémon GO Plus, be prepared to run out of balls more quickly. I accidentally went through 100 balls in just a little over a day. However, if you’re someone who lives close to a ton of Pokéstops, then Pokémon GO Plus will make it much easier for you to keep up your supply of Pokéballs without having to throw money at microtransactions.

    The Verdict

    8/10 Would buy again.

    Pokémon GO Plus is a freaking godsend and I can’t sing its praises enough. Get your hands on one as soon as you can. It has made Pokémon GO fun for me again. If you’re someone who stopped playing because it became a grind, or because you just didn’t have time for it, Pokémon GO Plus might just be what you need to get back into the game.

    Pokémon GO Plus is available at most retailers that sell games for $34.99.

    Pokemon Go Is Getting A New Update

    Pokemon Go

    According to Pokemon Go Hub, an upcoming update for Pokémon Go has been data mined, and will include a Buddy System. Reportedly, the system will allow you to choose a Pokémon to walk along side you. The app will show the Pokémon walking alongside your avatar, flying alongside your avatar, or sitting on your avatar’s shoulder, depending on the Pokémon. As the Pokémon travels with you, it will be earning candies. This will be key in helping evolve Pokémon and therefore filling up that pesky Pokédex.

    As listed by Pokémon Go Hub, this is what we know so far:

    • Pokemon Buddy System is using the same server side distance calculation as the one used for Pokemon Eggs
    • Walking your Pokemon Buddy will award you with candy. The amount of candy is yet to be determined.
    • You can walk the same Pokemon Buddy multiple times, but there is likely a daily limit for obtained candy
    • You can walk with only one Buddy Pokemon at a time
    • There are various looks of Buddy Pokemon
      • Medium size
      • Big size
      • Flying next to you
      • Rests on your shoulder

    If this report is true, it’s going to renew some people’s interest in the game. I know I haven’t been playing as much, just because it’s become frustrating to try to catch new Pokémon. It’s also difficult to evolve many Pokémon. Especially considering a Magikarp takes 400 candies to evolve. I’m extremely excited for this update and can’t wait for it to release.

    If you haven’t already, check out Episode 135 of the podcast, where we discuss our feelings on Pokémon Go. Are you excited for this update? Let us know in the comments below, and on Twitter!

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    What Is It with This Pokemon Go Thing Anyway?

    pokeGOlogoYou’ve been hearing about it ad nauseum, and you’re shaking your head at the bands of kids trespassing on your property in search of the Pokemon that’s apparently hiding in your backyard. You put up this meme:

    pokemongo

    Nevertheless, at least half the people walking down the street with their phones are clearly not 10, either. Some of us even have jobs. So what is the deal with Pokemon Go? Why do you hate it so much? Why does it feel so invasive? Why is everyone playing it in inappropriate places? Well, before you out yourself as the grumpy old person yelling at kids to get off your lawn, here’s what you need to know:

    

The Basics

    pokemonteams

    The teams are Valor (red – discipline), Instinct (yellow – intuition, and Mystic (blue – intellect). Players can choose a team at Level 5.

    Pokemon Go is a free app available for smartphones, an “augmented reality” game from The Pokemon Company and Niantic, Inc. This basically means that it puts virtual gameplay onto a map of the real world, and players interact with both. Pokemon Go is designed to get people out and about, to make them happier and healthier. It does this by generating virtual “pocket monsters” (that’s what Pokemon stands for), well known from previous Pokemon games and thus already favorites with fans, that appear on the phone screen.

    Players catch Pokemon with a flick of the wrist – throwing a virtual Pokeball toward the target. 

In addition to roaming Pokemon, the game also includes PokeStops and Pokemon Gyms. PokeStops are basically stationary rings that you can spin to get free items such as Pokeballs, which are used to catch Pokemon, along with eggs, which hold Pokemon inside and can be hatched if you do a certain amount of walking, and other enhancements. Gyms are places where players can battle each other. If you win a battle, you can take over the gym.

    Playing Pokemon Go is easy. Open the app, and the GPS finds your location. Your screen shows you which Pokemon are close, and where nearby PokeStops and Gyms are located. Start walking. You’ll find Pokemon along the way. At level 5, you can join one of three teams – Instinct (yellow), Mystic (blue), or Valor (red). Think of it as being sorted into a house at Hogwarts – your identification becomes tied in with these groups.

    

The Good

    artinst

    The Art Institute of Chicago posted a controversial Facebook post this week encouraging visitors to come find Pokemon inside – in this case, in front of its iconic Chagall windows.

    Pokemon Go is a game of discovery. It makes people get out and explore their neighborhoods, and it encourages socializing. My son has actually been getting off the couch this summer and going outside. Last night I took him to Ravinia Festival for an outdoor musical concert, and he talked to at least ten people about the game. We went to the zoo, where I’ve been volunteering every other week 20 years, and I didn’t recognize half the PokeStops because they were at statues and landmarks I’ve ignored in all my visits there. I had no idea they existed. In my hometown, I discovered a war memorial I must have passed 100 times, and never noticed before.

    Anecdotes already abound about how Pokemon is helping people’s mental health. And it’s giving local businesses a boost. Because Pokemon Go is so popular, entrepreneurs are trying to figure out how to utilize it for their own purposes and small businesses are seeing an uptick in sales from people coming in the door to find Pokemon. Pet shelters and museums and retailers are advertising the presence of Pokemon to get people in the door. (If you are looking for ways to leverage the popularity of the game, I recommend making an in-app purchase; spend $1 – 100 PokeCoins- and set off a lure, which will attract Pokemon and customers for 30 minutes after you activate it.) Also, T-Mobile just announced that data used to play Pokemon Go will not count towards its users’ data allowance.

    Ultimately, the addictive appeal for Pokemon can be a good thing. The goal of hatching eggs is already making more inroads than my Fitbit Alta in getting me to walk places, and I’ve never seen my son so excited to go places that might have Pokemon. The zoo! The botanic garden! The hardware store down the street, which has a gym! And there will be more ways for small businesses to leverage the game’s popularity, too, such as sponsorships that will turn them into portals.

    The Bad

    Screenshot_2016-07-14-23-02-49

    Here’s a screenshot of my phone, with a promotion that showed up on my feed from Binny’s Beverage Depot.

    As with any other engrossing app, Pokemon Go has people looking down at their phones instead of ahead. This can cause problems, because people not paying attention can cause accidents and such (although that traffic accident supposedly caused by someone playing the game is totally false, bad things are happening to players who are careless or who are putting themselves in danger). In addition, Pokemon tend to spawn everywhere, even places that aren’t necessarily friendly to the public, and Gyms and PokeStops can be located in unexpected locations.

    This is because, by the way, Niantic put out a previous game called Ingress, in which users submitted “portals” to be included on the virtual map that’s now basically being used for Pokemon Go. There are rules for these submissions, so PokeStops and Gyms do not interfere with private property, emergency services, or schools. Not all of these locations are completely current because things change so often in the real world, which is why players may end up in locations that don’t truly exist anymore (Please note: you can now submit requests to create portals in the game).

    There are other issues (for example, click here for the word on the game’s overly broad permissions ask). Different Pokemon are found in different locations, and at different times of day. So it can very well be dangerous for some people to play. I know a white man who feels uncomfortable loitering around parks where women and children are clustered. I’ve heard stories of black men who feel the game is too dangerous for them to enjoy, given the present climate. I’ve heard tales from physically disabled people who literally cannot access places where where Pokemon are found. It is not a perfect situation.

    

The Ugly

    Screenshot_2016-07-15-09-04-32

    A game screen, with map. The blue rings at the bottom are a PokeStop; click on it, and a photo of the landmark appears. You spin it to  get items. The darker blue landmark in the distance is a Gym, and it’s blue because right now it’s controlled by Team Mystic. On the bottom right of the screen, the white box tells you which Pokemon are near. If you click on a Pokemon as it appears, the screen changes to a camera image of what’s in front of you, with Pokemon superimposed and a PokeBall ready to “throw.” I caught a Rattata on my bed this morning…

    In the nine or so days that the game has been available, there’s been been a lot of buzz on the Internet, and much of it is bad. Any obsession, enjoyed without rules and not in moderation, can of course be dangerous, and there is etiquette to be learned and followed. The game is new, and people haven’t thought about the consequences of their actions yet (most of them have never heard of Ingress, so they don’t have experience with a game of this type). On the other hand, Pokemon Go gamers have been called many bad names by people who don’t understand the game’s appeal. The Internet is judgey, as usual. The comments sections should not be read.

    If Pokemon Go players are encroaching on your space, you have every right to say something. If they are breaking rules by sneaking in someplace that requires paid admission, that’s wrong. It’s true that there are currently PokeStops in some places that might be viewed as inappropriate – those places were put on the map by previous Ingress players and are only now being deemed offensive because of the number of people playing Pokemon Go. No one even noticed them before. In the past, however, Niantic (once a part of Google) has been responsive about removing them. The people who placed portals in these places most likely had good intentions – bringing people in, for example. It doesn’t mean players are being forced to use those stops, though. As more people play, and as everyone understands the problems of having Pokestops in these locations, things will change.

    But in my experience, it is both possible to stay out of the way of people while I’m playing Pokemon Go, and also be tolerant of people who are, after all, simply enjoying a fun little game that is getting them out and about. Just give players a little time to adjust. I’ll also remind the naysayers that the novelty will wear off – and although there will be updates and changes (an announcement about trading and other improvements has already been made), Pokemon Go – which is, after all, a fun game but not a really great one – will be much less appealing in the winter. At least, here in Chicago. If you live in Florida, you may be out of luck.

    If some kids do cross your lawn in search of Pokemon, feel free to channel the spirit of the game. Instead of yelling at them, why not ask them about it and make some new friends?

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