You could be a Pokemon Go NPC trainer in Kanto, plus Mega Ampharos, Machop and more news

    
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Ever wanted to be in an NPC in a Pokemon game? Well, Niantic is giving you a very slim chance to do so in Pokemon Go. The through game’s new contest, players can submit their trainer’s name, outfit, team of three Kanto Pokemon (not including legendaries or mythicals), and theme by tweeting out with the hashtag #PokemonGOTourContest. Eight winners will be included for the upcoming Kanto Tour event. To note, when we asked Niantic’s PR about regionals, such as Alola Raichu, we were told “Only Pokémon originally found in the Kanto region are eligible, not the variants.” The contest ends January 11, so you better get going!

As usual, though, that’s not all Niantic’s recently announced. First, as the Unova event is live, you may have noticed the Collection Challenge. It seems like a timed task but with larger rewards, including a medal. Pokemon must be caught, not traded or evolved. Sadly, despite the original hint that “Professor Willow is embarking on a quest to research the different regions of the Pokémon world, and he needs your help!” there’s been no sign of the good Prof. (We’ve checked with PR to see if this is an oversight and will update if we learn more.)

The new Gucci/North Face promo is also live in-game, but there’s quite a catch: You need to spin a unique Pokestop at certain Gucci outlets in order to receive the new clothes, which feel much more North Face than Gucci. Considering the state of the pandemic, this can be viewed different ways. I’m told two near me are accessible by car, but it’s also a long drive to very busy areas in California (and also, remember the pandemic?). 1/9 Update: Use this link to automatically receive the promo clothes without having to go out. Glad someone at Niantic or their partners thought of it!

File:181Ampharos-Mega.pngIn a since-updated Chinese Niantic post, Redditor Hoihoisan11 noticed a line announcing Mega Ampharos coming on January 19th. While Niantic has this taken down, the date does correspond with the official announcement that we would get a new Mega Pokemon on that date, and Redditor pkmn_snapper had previously noted an official hint at the Light Pokemon’s Mega would be coming. Nice timing, as the usual hairless looking pokemon gets quite a visual upgrade.

Speaking of visual upgrades, the January 16th Community Day pokemon will be Machop. While the Hulk-esque shiny’s already been released and its new move, Revenge Payback, will most likely be a PvP move, it does mean people have a chance at stocking up on Machop XL candy. As Machamp is one of the best fighting-type pokemon, especially in terms of taking gyms, this is Community Day you probably won’t want to miss. 1/13 Update: Stats have been datamined.

For PvP fans, we’ve seen some incoming move shakeups and the addition of Frillish, a new pokemon, at rank 20. As of this writing, Frillish isn’t available, so it may be during the Kanto Cup… which apparently won’t affect your rating. Again, it’s a confusing post from Niantic, so we’ve asked for clarification. 1/14 Update: PR revealed to us that “Only the Kanto Cup will be available during the final week. During that week, ratings won’t be affected; however, players will still be able to progress through ranks which are gated by battles and wins (i.e. all ranks up until rank 20).”

Finally, for people who are interested in helping out some research, there’s a User Experience Research survey going out from Lancaster University about how people interact with the game’s Pokemon and Item storage. If you’re interested and have time, here’s the survey.

Massively OP’s Andrew Ross is an admitted Pokemon geek and expert ARG-watcher. Nobody knows Niantic and Nintendo like he does! His Massively on the Go column covers Pokemon Go as well as other mobile MMOs and augmented reality titles!
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cambruin

Thank you for adding Pokémon Go to the roster. This is not something I would have ever thought to get ‘into’, but several walks with the kids later and I was hooked. I’m a complete noob though and have no idea where to look for good info, but luckily you guys stepped in.

I now know better than to upgrade my 100% Machop and will wait ’till the 16th instead.