A Pokéwalker Challenge

I don’t really get that much exercise. I have a desk job, and when I’m not there I’m likely sat at my desk at home, moving occasionally when the kettle needs boiling. On top of not being active, I don’t really eat that well, either. I love my junk food, and honestly, I don’t really care that much about my body size and what other people think about it. If stuffing my face full of Doritos and Mountain Dew continued to feel like a good thing to do, then there’s not a lot out there that can stop me.

So when I look at cutting out all the terrible foods and actually doing some exercise, it’s pretty easy for me to just laugh to myself and carry on as I am. Don’t get me wrong, I’d certainly prefer to be fit and all, but I’m also pretty okay with how things are.

That said, there’s obviously a point to this blog post that isn’t just “I’m fat and that’s okay”. I’ve been thinking about ways to shake things up in a way that won’t put me off healthy eating and exercise after a few days trying to stick to it, so on Monday I made a few changes. I’m not going to go into most of those changes right now, but I will talk about a certain part of it. There are a few ways I’m trying to do exercise on the regular without burning myself out and never doing it again, and of course, video games are involved.

I’m going to raise a pokémon from level 1 to level 100 by walking.

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I’ve been thinking about doing this for a little while, as my pokéwalker has been sitting on my bookshelf since I moved in here last June, the batteries long dead. But with most of my ideas, it stayed an idea. I didn’t have the motivation to actually go and do it. I was waiting for a few arbitrary things to align before starting, and well, it’s happening. I’m doing this. The replacement batteries for the pokéwalker arrived this morning, so I popped back into Pokémon HeartGold earlier to get things started.

The obvious choice for which pokémon to raise was Snorlax. It’s rotund and indolent, just like myself! There were just a few problems with that, preparation-wise. You see, I went and completed the pokédex for the first time since Gold in White 2, and because of that my DS games have been completely ransacked. Given you can’t trade backwards and the fact that I needed a Snorlax on my copy of HeartGold, I had some things to figure out. HeartGold had no usable pokémon left, just some fairly low-level critters that were only spared the transfer to generation five by being common to catch, or by having HM moves.

There was a Snorlax chilling out in Kanto that I hadn’t caught, but I needed a team that wasn’t made of paper to catch it. It was a level 50, and while Snorlax isn’t the powerhouse it used to be it’s still very capable of destroying the HM-riddled Bibarel that couldn’t get transferred over. Fortunately I had a few more usable pokémon on my copy of Diamond, which were from the GTS and likely not transferred over due to being hacks. At least, I’m not sure why there would be a few level 100s from other trainers still hanging around on that cart otherwise.

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I boarded the S.S. Aqua to get to Kanto. Yes, apparently I hadn’t bothered going to Kanto, so there was still quite a bit of work ahead of me. To save describing it in detail, here’s a quick rundown of what I thought would be a half hour job:

  • Board the S.S. Aqua
  • Spend time running around the ship looking for a little girl
  • Spend more time running around the ship looking for the little girl after you start playing hide and seek with her
  • Arrive in Vermillion City
  • Stare at the Snorlax longingly, curse because you forgot about the fucking pokéflute
  • Google pokéflute
  • Remember that it’s actually a radio station in this game
  • Head to Lavender Town
  • Get told that the radio is down because of something at the Power Plant
  • Head through Rock Tunnel with a map because fuck Flash
  • Surf down to the Power Plant
  • Shout at the DS because I now have to go to Cerulean to get a stolen machine part
  • Arrive at the Cerulean Gym and spend ages looking for the part
  • Shout at the DS because I had to follow the guy out, battle him, go back and then look for it
  • Take the machine part to the Power Plant
  • Fly back to Lavender and get the radio upgrade
  • Wake Snorlax up with the pokéflute radio station
  • Kill Snorlax with a critical hit Cut from a level 97 Blaziken
  • Reload and catch Snorlax
  • Head back to the S.S. Aqua to get to Johto

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  • Shout at the DS with the power of one hundred suns
  • Save the game and switch the date on the DS
  • Head to the day care centre
  • Throw Snorlax in
  • Realise that I should have reset until I found a female Snorlax because now I need a Ditto
  • Spend an hour looking for a 5% chance Ditto encounter
  • Throw Ditto into the day care
  • Wait 20 minutes for an egg
  • Wait another 20 minutes for the egg to hatch, even with a Magby in my team

And here we are, a level 1 Snorlax to raise with my legs!

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For those that are unfamiliar, the pokéwalker is a pedometer that you can send a pokémon into. While it’s there, a single step on the pedometer gives the pokémon a single experience point, and the pokémon can only gain a single level per transfer. This means that when you have enough steps to gain a level, you must transfer the pokémon back to the DS, then back to the pokéwalker. This is a bit of a pain in the earlier levels (for example, from level 1 to level 2, Snorlax needs 9 experience points or steps) but will become more manageable the longer this goes on. The experience required between each level grows exponentially, but at a predetermined rate, so I already know how far I need to walk between levels.

Currently, Snorlax is chilling out in the pokéwalker at level 5. That’s 156 total exp/steps, with another 76 required for level 6. I’ll be carrying the DS with me for the next week, just so that I can take advantage of building up the earlier levels. Level 23 to level 24 is the first level that requires more than 2000 steps, so it’s about that time when this’ll get interesting. It’s going to be impossible to get a level per day (because, for example, level 99 to 100 requires 37,127 steps) but I’d certainly like to be hitting as many levels per day as I can. If this gets me out of the house just a few more times each week, that’s a win.

I’m sure I’ll post some occasional updates, but the little ones are likely to end up on Twitter rather than here. Wish me luck!

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