The app says that I started playing on 7/12/16. It also claims that I've walked about 85 kilometers. It's not right about that. It is, in fact, the world's worst pedometer. While there have been Pokewalks where it clearly was not counting my steps, it also has a bad habit when indoors of sending my avatar to run around to various, improbable places. Some nights, my avatar will clock two kilometers while I'm just sitting there. However, if you discount 25 kilometers (which I think is a little high) that still means that I've been averaging two kilometers a day. Now, by most standards, that's not a lot. But it's important to note that this is two kilometers more than I would have walked on my own. As I've previously noted, I'm not so much a sedentary creature as a sessile one.
It doesn't really feel like I've increased my stamina. I'm still very slow, and easily winded. But I am willing to undertake longer walks than I used to be. It may be that this is merely building on previous successes, and I was always able to walk those distances, but there might be additional stamina involved. I am also more willing to take more circuitous routes, including ones with hills. (Ok, hills by Minneapolis standards. They aren't hills that, say, a Pittsburgher would call a hill. But they wind me, nevertheless.) Most notable, though, is that I don't hurt at the end of the day like I did the first week or two when I was taking regular Pokewalks. I also feel antsy when I watch my avatar wander around when I can't. I _want_ to get up and walk, some nights. This, this has never happened to me, before.
I've never been a fan of walking for the sake of walking; I find it supremely boring. I usually read a book while walking (and, no, I don't run into things or people, although very short people moving fast are my biggest hazard.) So, going for a walk is always a difficult sell. If I overcome my natural impulse to remain at rest, then the problem is that there isn't really any reason to stop, either. Since I am walking for exercise, and not to get to a specific place, I walk until I am too tired to walk any further. Which sets up a really bad reward system. The reward for walking is being tired and hurting. Yay! Let's do that again!
Pokewalks are slow and punctuated by pauses to catch Pokemon. Which works very well for poor, old, overweight me. And I get cute pocket monsters, and spinny disks with prizes. Lots of little rewards along the way to keep me moving, and then if I walk far enough, I hatch eggs which give me more pocket monsters. If I'm bored while walking, I can pull up the Pokedex, or my list of captured Pokemon, or admire my list of medals, review my inventory, and hey, there's another Rattata, let's catch him. I am going to be sad when it gets cold and this isn't a reasonable thing to do. I wish there was an indoor module, which could link up to a pedometer app on your phone and provide Pokestops at random intervals when, say, walking around a mall, or an indoor track at the gym, or something like that. Because, seriously, there are months of the year where walking around with the phone out like this is not workable in Minnesota. Many, many months.
On the game mechanics side of things, although I haven't done a careful, controlled experiment, I have the strong impression that my catch rate is improved by continuing to walk when I toss Pokeballs, instead of stopping to catch yet another fucking Weedle. This does run the risk of walking out of range of the target, and then they escape. So if there's a pocket monster I particularly want, such as an Eevee, I will pause. But if it's just another rat or pigeon, I tend to keep on walking while I try to catch them. If they escape, it's no big deal. I have seen the claim that critters get harder to catch as you go up in levels. My own feeling, again utterly unscientific, is that the more of a particular Pokemon you have caught, the harder it is to catch them in the future. Now, this will track with levels, as when you catch Pokemon you get experience points which cause you to level up. But really common monsters, the rats and pigeons and worms, appear to be much harder to catch than the rarer ones, such as the Eevees and the Electrobuzzes. While higher combat power critters are usually harder to catch than lower ones, low powered common critters actually appear to be harder to catch than higher powered less common ones. This does not, however, apply to Pikachu. I caught my third one today, and man that was tough. Magikarp are starting to get hard to catch, which is a pain, since I need 400 candies to evolve one. I'm told they turn into a really cool sea dragon. I only have 130 Magikarp candies, so far. On the other hand, I do have a Tentacruel, and that's pretty neat.
I'm still having fun, and I've sort of figured out the gym battles and have won a bunch of battles and even captured some gyms, now and again. I never get to stay as a defender for very long, a couple four hours, maybe. They're still my least favorite part of the game.
The other thing I find interesting is that there seems to be a pretty broad range of ages playing this game. Today I ran into a young woman with a baby in a stroller. I have had a long conversation with a guy my age with a sensitive fannish face. I had a lovely encounter with a twenty-something couple very earnestly talking about cheap breakfasts and which gyms they felt they needed to defend. I came across a small clot of teenagers at Lake Calhoun all working on conquering a particular gym, and I have had one of those weird, sideways conversations that I tend to have with eleven year old boys where I'm really not sure we're on the same planet and I'm pretty sure they hold me in deep contempt. Which, given they're eleven, seems perfectly fine to me. Broad range of ages. But...all of them white, and all of them middle class, near as I can tell from a glance. Now, I am in the Great White North, but my neighborhood does have a fair number of Hispanics and African Americans, so... I dunno?