Pokewalker: Your New Best Friend
Now you, and your Pokemon, can get some much-needed exercise.
Nintendo refuses to let the Tamagotchi die. After resurrecting virtual pets in 2005 with Nintendogs, the company's at it again, this time with the Pokewalker. This pint-sized pedometer comes with every copy of the upcoming Pokemon: HeartGold and SoulSilver, set to debut March 14th. Through the power of infrared, you can transfer a Pokemon from the game into the Pokewalker and take it with you. Expect to see lots of kids walking around with these things.
There are a plethora of reasons to use a Pokewalker, starting with exercise. As you walk, so does your Pokemon. Walking 15 steps generates one Watt. Collect enough Watts and you not only increase the chances of finding a wild Pokemon (and catching it) along the way, but you can also exchange these Watts for valuable items; clearly, there's more to working out than just burning calories. In addition, the more you and your Pokemon walk, the more experience points it gains, so not only are you staying in shape, but you're boosting your battle monster's stats.
The types of Pokemon you'll run across seem to depend on the route your Pokemon walks inside the pedometer. Although Nintendo hasn't announced a set number of routes, there appear to be several that you'll unlock the more you play, one set amidst the grass, and another on the beach.
After finding a wild Pokemon (with the handy Poke Radar, of course), you can choose to Attack, Evade or Catch it. Obviously, performing successful attacks makes the critter easier to catch, so it's in your best interest to do so. Evading, on the other hand, proves useful if you continuously run into the same type of Pokemon. You know, the one you caught hours ago. Meanwhile, catching it instructs your character to throw a Poke Ball in its direction. (You can store three Pokemon in the Pokewalker at a time, but it doesn't take long to upload the data onto the DS).
On top of that, a Pokewalker Journal tracks your Pokemon's progress, listing items found, Pokemon encountered and distanced traveled. And, as expected, you can score some cool loot while in the presence of another Pokewalker carrying fanatic.
The big question is, what happens when you lose this thing? Well, the good news is you'll never lose the Pokemon inside. It still resides on HeartGold/SoulSilver. You just lose the Pokewalker data. Fortunately, it comes with a belt clip (as well as a hole to loop a necklace through) for added security.
While it remains to be seen if the Pokewalker will be a success, it's hard to bet against it. Pokemon's still insanely huge, and kids (as well as some adults) will probably jump at the chance to carry this thing to school, work and on the treadmill.