Glamour and glitter… fashion and fame! No—this could have easily been yet another reference to Jem and the Holograms on this blog, but it is not. Instead, believe it or not, for both fashion conscious, gear-head gamers and, you know, normal upstanding people, there are some serious opportunities to trick out your avatar in the new Pokémon Go anniversary update.
I’m talking about the cooler, far less challenging aspect of the Pokémon Go anniversary update that has nothing to do with egg timers, raiding or rare spawns. It’s the part of the game update that no one is talking about: the chance to be the very best, that no one ever was… looking good at all angles in that gym! Have you seen the new, improved gyms?! Gorgeous! And your headshot deserves to be right up there, looking better than even the Gym Leader. I’m telling you right now, anyone can do it.
Here’s more on the anniversary update and how to get your trainer looking good…
First of All, What Anniversary Update?
If you’ve been able to download the big update (please don’t get frustrated, locked out of your account, then turn back like I almost did… it totally is worth it), then you’re seeing rounder looking gyms with cool team flags hanging from them, and when you click to see if the inside is any different—surprise! It is! It is completely different. Not only can you see all the Pokémon lined up in a gangsta posse pose, like they’re the magnificent seven, you can see their trainers standing beside them if you click on each. And then, in the background against the dome is a pretty baller looking action shot of each trainer, posed, ready to fight. That’s right, if you make it into a gym, your avatar’s face, at some point, will be freeze-framed in what looks like a mini high-def plasma screen behind all the battling critters… I think you’ve got about eight seconds before it fades to white and it’s the next trainer’s turn on the runway.
Yes. The runway. I said that.
You do remember that this is a fashion blog?
Right? Good… I get to say this next thing too, and I should give you some context first, before I say it. I may not have mentioned this before, but I am a gamer. I’ve been into some demanding PC games that want your time, your money and your bum-cheeks sometimes it feels like, to finish hours and months’ worth of quests, raiding dungeons, gearing up, player versus player combat (PvP) where you actually do feel what it’s like to… lose something. The time you put in, the repair bill at the blacksmith’s… sometimes, your dignity or your guildmates… if they are sucky guildmates. And oh, the flame wars on the forums… if you don’t know how to play these games and you dare to post your opinions on the dreaded forums, people will discover that about you, quick, and shame you. So, I understand how important it is, for some games, to gear up and skill up while you’re having fun. Kind of like making sure you at least have some tattoos before you go to prison. So here’s the thing I’m now ready to say: if you’ve never really gamed before, gearing up your toon (your trainer/avatar), tricking them out with cool gear that shows off your skill or personality, is a big, big fun part of gaming. I love playing games where my toon gets to look awesome, and I daresay, it is… pretty dang satisfying to look great in-game. I’m glad Pokémon Go included this feature on some level.
So in any video game, your toon’s gear can show off that you’re getting better at the game, getting better than other players, succeeding on merit by being able to show off your game skill through getting access to better items, and eventually, that’s going to be very true in Pokémon, too. It sounds like rare creatures, even—if I’m reading correctly through the subtext—the legendary birds, will become available to players who get very, very good at catching things, PvP and teaming up for successful raids. Can’t wait!
How to Dress Your Avatar in a Clever(er) Way
And keeping in mind that I’m being more than a bit facetious when it’s soooo easy to take video games seriously, and then again, not so seriously at the same time—few things in life are fun like that—here is my advice on how to style your character so that you… well… let’s be frank here, just look waaay better than everyone else in that gym. For fashion purposes and for awesome purposes. And you don’t have to waste RL (real life) money to do it.
By the way, if you do enjoy purchasing items to trick out your avatar, that’s great. Since you have lots of options in the game store, you’d follow the same instinct you do when you get dressed in the morning and you put together what you like. But if you try crafting your outfits around one key piece, and I’ll tell you what that should be in a second, you can’t go wrong, almost no matter what else you want your avatar to wear. So here we go, I’ll walk you through it…
Yep. Being a clotheshorse in RL, I spent far more time than I should have trying to puzzle-piece together outfits for my avatar that actually looked nice, you know, just for fun, before I reminded myself that the game designers would have done the same thing when they created Pokémon Go. They surely wanted gamers to enjoy dressing up their avatars and would have made many good-looking combinations available so that people could explore beyond their starting gear. The hat your character wears is key to all this. Those baseball caps are especially easy to work with—they usually contain colors that appear on other clothing items that the game designers already decided look good together, so it does make logical sense that you can kind of ‘color by numbers’ and make that your guide.
I’ve been playing a female trainer, so the next step for many of us is: shorts or skirt? Decide on this next of all because the color combinations in your bottoms will determine the final defining piece, your jacket. I stuck to the Team Instinct yellow colors for a long, loyal time before I accepted I was okay with wearing red or blue, or even orange for a change. For my most recent outfit, I picked the black baseball cap with a red and white pokéball on it. If you haven’t purchased a skirt, your options are gray and white, bright blue and white, and yellow and white. That big white stripe down the sides and across the waistband of the skirt always gets on my nerves because it doesn’t really go well with all that black on the shoes, hats and belts in the game. But I took the skirt because I had an inkling I could try some legwear I was wondering about…
Legwear and Socks
For whatever reason, I think my trainer’s legs look way weird in a skirt without leggings. Maybe it’s the way the skirt moves when she’s walking, like it’s super-glued to one of her legs and it doesn’t flutter like a real skirt… I’m not sure. But I try to pick long black leggings or long black socks that help play down the skirt. In my eyes, the leggings or socks usually make the entire outfit. I mean, the whole trainer look is athleisure anyway, right? So let’s not wear these tracksuits and pretend they’re not, mmkay? Let’s… let it be athletic, let’s work with the vibe these items are giving us… are you snickering at me yet? This is so hilarious, anyway… if you do let yourself be a little design conscious with Pokémon Go, you just notice these things.
With my black, white and red hat, and my gray and white skirt, I took a chance on the white leggings that never seem to go with anything. Again, back to that hat. There’s white on the pokéball in the hat. There’s white on the skirt… I’m sure the jacket I’ll have to pair with the skirt is going to force me to wear a white shirt underneath (only tracksuits give you colors up top in the shirt area on a female trainer), so that’s a good amount of white flowing from top to bottom, with the leggings. I chanced it, it looked… okay. I kind of liked it, but was crossing my fingers hoping I could make it look even better.
The Belt and Gloves
This should be your third stop on the dress-up-my-trainer… train. The hats and gloves come in some colors that match perfectly with the shoes and may not really exist among pants, leggings, socks, or not really even among the hats. And, the gloves and belts, I found, can match each other precisely in these bold colors. I once wore a yellow skirt and jacket with matching shoes, black socks and hat… and popped on a royal blue belt and those cute little fingerless gloves. I so did. I loved that. Now, in a gym where everyone else is wearing yellow on Team Instinct, yawn… You’ll be the one diva that makes people stare at your outfit and glamour shot on the big screen for an extra… three seconds or so. But they will remember it for the end of their days… And, you know, a screenshot… is like a diamond. It’s forever.
Hold on. Let me say that one more time, without laughing…
Is like a diamond,
Was that almost a haiku? Cool!!
Back to fake reality. So, I had on black, white and gray by now, with a little red. I went for more red and played around until I found a belt that looked good with the gray and white skirt. I could have done a mostly red belt, but instead, I chose a white belt with a red latch… v. cool. I loved that. Gloves? Red. Of course. Bring out that red even more.
Last of all… that jacket. There is a jacket to match every tracksuit in the danged game, I swear. They made it really easy for us. But to get a perfect match, look at more than just the color, look at how the neckline fits with the designs on the track suit. There are three red jackets, for example, but one frames the neck a lot better and includes white patches around the collar that go with white stripes on the sides of a particular tracksuit. Pretty keen. I picked dark red, because that matched the red in the hat. I wasn’t sure about it though, because the little blocks of white around the jacket neckline were distracting. They weren’t as smooth as the white leggings and bold white stripe on the skirt.
And Shoes, Shoes, Shoes, Kelly!
Kelly? You don’t know that reference, it’s from the early 2000s… Your trainer shoes—or, shall I call them… trainers? Hyuck, hyuck… those shoes are a chance for you to justify any color risks you’ve taken. I took a huge risk pairing up so much white and gray, with only bits of red and a red jacket I wasn’t totally sure about. So, I reinforced everything with more red. Red and black shoes. No… that doesn’t go with the rest, somehow. Too bold. No, too… too much black. There’s only a little black in the outfit now, and it’s on the hat. Everything else is pale, white, with a bit of red. No, it isn’t quite right.
Fine Tuning the Outfit
I really didn’t like the jacket. It was making me want to fall back on my Team Instinct yellows and ditch the whole outfit, so I tried the more magenta, red-pink jacket. Now, the shoes really don’t work in their bold fiery red with this cooler magenta. Swapped them for the red on red shoes. Those looked crazy… but only for about two seconds. I blinked, I turned Obie Lee (she gets a nickname ontop of her trainer nickname) around a few more times… the shoes were magenta and red, actually. They went perfectly with the jacket. And, they were a color pop that balanced out the red gloves.
I have a lot of other outfits you can try, too. Time and again, the ‘color-by-number’ match your hat trick works wonders.
Follow me at @royaljellydc on Instagram for more of my Pokemon trainer outfits of the day! Muahaha…
Oh, and about the actual game update. This is how the raids work, to bring things full circle…
If you see an egg on your screen and a notice saying a raid will start soon, click on it. The game will move the map and show you the gym. Then click on the egg in the left bottom corner again and it will show you something that looks like the disc in a Poké stop. Spin that and collect the items. You’ll get a diamond-shaped badge for interacting with the gym afterward and then you’ll also get a raid card. Keep the raid card. You don’t need to raid at the exact same gym, but you can use it at any other raid you care to join in on throughout the day. Everyone can get a free raid card every 24 hours, and you use it up, like tearing a ticket stub, when you do sit down and participate in a raid. You can also buy more raid cards.
Do raid, do. I was hoping to find some other trainers at the ‘egged’ raid gym I visited on Saturday, but no one else was there for me to awkwardly wave at and ask them if they were playing Pokémon Go… so anyway (and slightly relieved), I stood there and used my Jolteon to zap a 1k Magikarp dead—oh, excuse me, in the Pokéverse, I zapped the Magikarp… fainted, I guess? Then, I got all these cool items, including a golden raspberry.
I wandered off, thinking that was it for me during the day… until I ran into a big yellow flying Dragonite… I shut off my phone at a bad time and missed it. Ugh. But later, I saw a 13K Blastoise that I made sure to catch. (Tip: It showed up in the Pokémon Nearby panel, so definitely check that after you finish a raid.) I had run out of ultra balls and was sure Blastoise would break my heart and run away… until I remembered the golden raspberry. The golden raspberry!
Then, it all came together… the game probably put these rare pokémon in my path on purpose… to use the golden raspberry! Feeling a little foolish, I tried that, tossed a great ball, then averted my eyes from the screen like I always do, pretending I’m too cool to worry about whether the pokeball stobs wobbling around… wobble-wobble… wobble-wobble… wobble. Grabbed the Blastoise using only a great ball! I laughed, I cried, IT WAS SO COOOL… and, on with show. (If you need more great advice on raiding, you can check out this helpful, uh, wow… Forbes article.)
So How Much is Too Much?
No, I’m not talking about the very detailed advice on styling your Pokémon Go character that I hilariously gushed on and on about for many paragraphs. That was rad. Undoubtedly. I’m talking about the time you will inevitably spend hiking from one eggy raid gym to the next. Raiding and raiding and raiding. I was almost tricked into spending two hours wandering around in the hot sun, just to stay nearby and be back in time to revisit the very first raid spot I found. I was so excited about it, so ready to raid, and didn’t know any better. Thank goodness I got impatient and wandered off to do my own thing anyway. I discovered I could use the raiding card anyplace.
Some advice… As a long-time gamer, I have some strong beliefs about the more addicting video games in this life, and here is one more tip if you do find yourself tempted or even annoyed or a little stressed that you don’t have enough time to raid like you want…
There is a point, in any video game where the designers want you to keep on and keep on playing, that the game might begin to control your behavior instead. It sounds silly maybe, but you can easily slip into that. You didn’t plan on going for a long walk, for instance, but the egg timer says you have to wait an hour before you can raid.
Instead, give yourself a third option: check in with yourself and ask, ‘Am I doing this because it’ll be fun? Or am I doing this because the game is telling me to and I don’t want to fall behind?’ Which is like asking, are you still playing the game at this point? Or, is the game starting to play you?
Because these fancy modern games will… play you. They’re making them more fun, more intuitive… which means if they can get you to do something, then they’ll try. Not that Pokémon Go is out to get you; nothing I’ve seen yet says that at all. I really love this game. But just in case you are having so much fun that you forget: keep in mind that you never have to feel that kind of pressure if you don’t want to. And one thing I really like about Pokémon Go and the Pokémon universe, they have a very forgiving set of games. You can make a mistake. You can even fail. You can forget about it. But you can always come back and catch that 13k rare spawn with your last great ball and a golden berry later. And, you can look very good in-game while doing it.
Go, those guys. You know, The Pokémon Company guys. And Niantic. Go you, too.
Has anyone else caught cool Pokémon? And more importantly, how did you look when you did it? Screenshots! Also, there are a lot of cool RL Pokémon t-shirts out there, and I’m amazed at what people wear while they’re playing the game. I’m over at #royaljellydc on Instagram. Share your pics and maybe you can help me catch all the cool trainer outfits…