Finally, this week we of the western world get the highly anticipated Pokémon Black and White versions. It’s an exciting time for us Pokéholics. We’re counting down the days to a new generation; to 150 new Pokémon; to a new region; and to the biggest changes Pokémon games have seen in…well…generations. It’s a good time, except for one thing: the Pokéwalker is now redundant. I remember when I first heard about the Pokéwalker. I didn’t care about it. Like so many others I criticized it as a pointless and flashy toy. A kid’s accessory that us real gamers would never touch. We just wanted HeartGold and SoulSilver as our hub for every Pokémon there had been to date. Many are still like that, but how mistaken I was to be. Before Black and White are even here, I already miss the Pokéwalker.
We’ve all heard the slogan that Pokémon isn’t just a game – it’s a lifestyle. The books, the movies, the anime: they all make that true, but nothing does more so than the Pokéwalker. No, it’s not about taking your Pokémon everywhere, meeting other trainers, collecting watts, getting items or even catching Pokémon. Although, I might mention that the Pokéwalker somehow manages to collect items and catch Pokémon on its own after a day in your pocket – amongst turning its sound back on and other mischief. Back to the point, what the Pokéwalker is really great for is training. Forget “gotta catch ‘em all”, to me it’s more like “gotta train my favs”. I always wanted to train my favorites to level 100, but simply never had the time. With the Pokéwalker, one step in real life equals one experience point in-game (kind of like the day care center). You could level your Pokémon up – no more than once per stroll – using the Pokéwalker. It’s a slow process compared to when actually playing, but at the same time, it is very fast considering how little you actually play. When you don’t have the time to level crunch, you can just rely on your daily activities.
My Pokéwalker comes everywhere with me – in my pocket . Around the house, shopping, to school, to university, into the city, on runs, to the gym, on drives – everywhere. The steps add up, and I always level up in no more than three days, depending on the Pokémon’s level. Using this method, in about 10 months, I’ve gotten a level 100 Lucario, Empoleon, Giratina and, soon to be, Typhlosion, with plenty more to ensue. There are tricks and catches to be wary of however. Those trainers who get finicky with their Pokémon’s stats, and the works, should be watchful. The real thing to watch is that moves are missed when on the Pokéwalker, so it’s best only to use it to train those fully evolved Pokémon with their final move sets. I tend not to use it much before level 50. Beyond that however, it has been a fantastic tool to train with.
If you were wondering, you also don’t need to check every day whether your Pokémon has leveled up by returning it to the game. All you have to do is see the experience points required to level up before you send them to the Pokéwalker. Divide that by 20 (20 steps = one watt), and that is the goal you work towards in watts – the Pokéwalker currency. This is useful because steps disappear day by day, so without having to go back and add the days up, just check the watts for your progress and to know if it’s time to send your pal back into the game to level up. Take note (mentally, not literally) of the times when your Pokémon finds watts, or if you spend any finding items or catching Pokémon, because they obviously affect the watt count without influencing experience. Of course you could work the other way around, depending on how your mathematical mind works, and remember the amount of experience points required to level up and simply multiply the watts by 20 to see how close you are. Either way, just send your Pokémon back to the game to level up when the target is reached.
Some people are bound to ask, so I’ll address the question beforehand. No, having a little Pokéball-like toy in your pocket does not make you strange. It may be a “casual” kid’s toy, but I’ve made it a “hardcore” training method, and you can too. It’s just like those weight loss commercials on television, except this one actually works. Well, at training Pokemon for sure, but it has benefits for health as well . Yeah, I know, that’s what they all say. Moving along to a little tip for you, as to why I specifically say in my “pocket”. The pedometer within the Pokéwalker gets bounced around a lot more in your pocket than if attached to your belt, pants or sock, so you get more experience. You can even jiggle your hand around in your pocket to get some experience on a train and elsewhere, but that’s bordering on suspicious. That, my friends, does make you strange!
Why am I saying all this? Well, because even though I still do this daily (not the hand in pocket train thing, the training aspect), I already miss the Pokéwalker. I wish an updated model came with Black and White. It’s easy to train Pokémon to level 60 in-game, but the Pokéwalker made the rest easier – even doable. Game time to me is training the young-uns, evolution and teaching moves. Outside of the game, well, the Pokémon pretty much train themselves while I get trained at university. With all the watts you collect doing this you can actually unlock all of the routes too, so long as you don’t waste the watts on items and Pokémon. The Resort route happens to be my personal favorite.
I will continue to train using the Pokéwalker and my HeartGold hub of Pokémon from all my previous games. I’ve got a whole two boxes specifically waiting, but when I get Pokémon Black (that’s right, Black not White – go Reshiram) this week, this new game will be separate. No Pokéwalker to train with, even though the infrared feature is still present in the cartridges and used for battles. I’ll miss you Pokéwalker, but not because you died. In fact your battery is still going almost a year later which is amazing considering how much I use you. It’s just because you can’t come to this new generation with me. Oh well, back to the old way of training it is for Black and White. At least I can still use the Pokéwalker with HeartGold. Sadly though, in my mind, the best new feature to appear in Pokémon for a long time is already gone. Please make up for that generation five. Pffft. Who I am kidding? I know you will!