The Pokéwalker (Japanese: ポケウォーカー Pokéwalker) is a pedometer device specifically for use with Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver that is able to interact with the games in various manners. It was released in Japan on September 12, 2009 bundled with every copy of Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, and then later released with every localized copy of the games. The accessory features a Poké Ball-shaped design with a small monochrome LCD screen and three functioning buttons. The Pokéwalker supports infrared signals allowing players to interact within a short range with a game card of Pokémon HeartGold or SoulSilver while slotted in the Nintendo DS, or with another Pokéwalker.
The system records every time a step is taken, and the daily step count influences which wild Pokémon and items will appear. The player can transfer a Pokémon to the Pokéwalker from either HeartGold or SoulSilver, which gains experience for each step. Like the Pokémon Pikachu and Pokémon Pikachu 2 GS, the Pokéwalker uses a currency known as "watts" (shortened to w); every 20 steps will earn the player one watt. Players can also catch various Pokémon and obtain items on the device, then transfer them to the game. Alongside the Johto Safari Zone, the Pokéwalker allows for Pokémon normally unavailable until after the player has traveled to Kanto, such as Murkrow, to be available before defeating the Johto League.
Much as HeartGold and SoulSilver are remakes of the original Gold and Silver, the Pokéwalker could be considered to be somewhat of a remake of Pokémon Pikachu 2 GS, which interacted in much the same way with the Generation II games. Unlike Pokémon Pikachu 2 GS, however, Pikachu is not the only Pokémon that can be interacted with, and Pokémon can actually be transferred to and from the Pokéwalker at any given time.
- Mass: 0.75 oz (21 g)
- Physical dimensions: 1.9 in x 1.9 in x 0.5 in (48 mm x 48 mm x 13.9 mm)
- Screens: 1 in (25 mm) monochrome LCD screen
- Devices: Accelerometer; infrared signal
The Pokéwalker uses infrared waves to transfer data from the Pokémon HeartGold or SoulSilver card or other Pokéwalkers to the device. There is an infrared transceiver at the top of the Pokéwalker to allow the communication. The infrared signals allow players to interact with each other within a very short distance, approximately 2 in (5 cm) apart from each other. For best communication, it is recommended to avoid objects between the two connected devices as well as sunlight or other strong light nearby, along with other sources of heat, light, or strong electromagnetic energy, which can interfere with infrared communication.
The Pokéwalker contains a 3V CR2032 battery with a capacity of 220–225 mAh. The battery will last approximately four months if the Pokéwalker device is used 30 minutes a day and about 10,000 steps are taken. This will vary depending on the temperature, the number of steps taken, how often the Pokéwalker is used, how often infrared communication is used, and how often the buttons are pressed. If the battery power gets low, a battery icon will appear on the top-left corner of the display and the Pokéwalker will save the information once every hour before the battery runs out. The battery is currently not rechargeable and must be replaced with another 3V CR2032 battery if it runs out. If the Pokéwalker's battery runs out and the session is not saved, all steps will be lost and all watts, items and Pokémon that were obtained during the trip will be deleted, however the Pokémon deposited at the start of the session will remain unaffected.
To sustain battery life in the midst of a session, the Pokéwalker puts itself into sleep mode after 60–90 seconds of inactivity, so the display will turn off and the screen will go blank. The Pokéwalker can be revived by holding down the central button for one second. While in sleep mode, the Pokéwalker will still maintain its primary function and record the amount of steps the player takes. The device's settings can also be set in order to turn the display sharpness down and decrease or mute the sound, as a way to conserve battery life. To replace the battery, a Phillips-head screwdriver is needed to remove the plain backing or the optional belt clip. Removing the battery will cause all steps taken and watts obtained to be cleared. The Pokémon inside will not be erased.
Gameplay and features
Pokéwalker gameplay boils down to simply walking around with the device so as to charge up watts, then utilizing the watts to purchase use of the Poké Radar and Dowsing Machine. Up to three caught Pokémon and up to three found items may be stored at once: after either limit is reached and given the player has caught another Pokémon or found another item, he/she will have to decide to replace either, in order to make space for the new Pokémon or item. The step counter resets at midnight each day. Watts is the mode of currency used within the Pokéwalker and can be earned in various different ways: every 20 steps the player takes 1 watt is earned, and Pokémon within the Pokéwalker can randomly find multiples of 10, 20, or 50 watts whilst on their walk. In total, a Pokémon can only gain one level every time they are sent to the Pokéwalker, and will not gain any more experience if it exceeds that level. If a Pokémon should learn a move while leveling up, if the level is gained in the Pokéwalker, it will not learn the move.
Each Pokéwalker area has three advantageous types which vary between areas, and have influence over the Pokéwalker's Poké Radar and Dowsing Machine. When a Pokémon of an advantageous type is brought into an area, then the chance of finding rarer Pokémon when using the Poké Radar and items when using the Dowsing Machine will slightly increase. In addition to making rarer Pokémon easier to find when using the Poké Radar, an advantageous type will lower the required step count for each Pokémon by 25%. This effect does not seem to apply to the Dowsing Machine.
The Pokéwalker can be used without a Pokémon stored in it, as well. It will continue to accumulate steps and watts. The Dowsing Machine can still be used, but the Poké Radar cannot, as no battle could take place. In addition, Pokémon from the route being walked may voluntarily join in the Pokéwalker seemingly at random, taking the spot of the missing Pokémon, essentially being caught for free.
Each time the Poké Radar is used, it will cost the player 10 watts, and brings them to a screen containing four patches of grass. After a short period of time, an exclamation mark will appear above one of the patches. The player must then use the side buttons to align the arrow with that bush and push the center button to look in that bush before time expires. If the player successfully selects the bush with the exclamation mark, either a battle will begin or after a short random period of time an exclamation mark will appear above a bush again. Again the player must select the bush at which time either battle will begin or after a short random period of time, two exclamation marks will appear above a random bush. If battle does not begin this time, three exclamation points will then appear above one of the bushes. Successfully selecting that bush will always begin a battle. On the first exclamation mark, selecting a bush without the exclamation mark will not affect anything, but doing so after selecting the first exclamation mark will cause the Pokémon to flee. Taking too long to select the correct bush will instantly result in failure and the Poké Radar will need to be reused with 10 more watts to try again.
|Exclamation mark||Pokémon group|
|!||Group C or Group B|
|!!||Group B or Group A|
It is important to note that the Pokémon catchable on a given Stroll are fixed from the time the player transfers their Pokémon to the Pokéwalker. At this time, the game selects one Pokémon from each of the 3 groups (A, B and C) that will appear during that Stroll. Should the player wish to catch one of the three Pokémon not selected for that Stroll they must send their Pokémon back to their game card and then choose to go on the route again. Equally important is that Pokémon caught are assigned a random Nature, ignoring Synchronize.
The battle system of the Pokéwalker is quite primitive: each Pokémon utilizes their in-game menu sprite in the battle, and each has only 4 HP. A player can either Attack, Evade, or Catch the wild Pokémon, while the wild Pokémon in turn may Attack, Evade, or Run from battle. Attacking will cause the Pokémon to perform a basic tackle (though not the move itself) inflicting 1 point damage (regardless of stats or type matchups) and the possibility of a critical hit (for an extra 1 point damage), unless the opponent evades the attack. Evading an opponent's attack results in the user counterattacking, inflicting one point damage without receiving any. If both Pokémon choose to evade, this results in a "Stare down" between the two Pokémon, and nothing happens during that turn. The Catch option will throw a Poké Ball at the wild Pokémon, which may catch it, but if it fails, the wild Pokémon will automatically flee battle, and the player's 10 watts will have been in vain. The same is true if the player's Pokémon defeats its opponent (as no battle experience is gained), whereas if the opponent defeats the player's Pokémon, the player will lose up to 10 watts (much as money is in the main series games after the defeat of the player's Pokémon).
Overall, the following things may happen during each turn of battle:
|Attack||Both Pokémon: one damage||Player's Pokémon: one damage|| Player's Pokémon: one damage|
Wild Pokémon: two damage*
|Evade||Wild Pokémon: one damage||Nothing||Wild Pokémon runs away|
|Catch|| On success: wild Pokémon is caught|
On failure: wild Pokémon runs away
Much like in the main games, the Dowsing Machine will help the player find items in the wild. Each use of this function costs 3 watts, and the player has two chances to find an item hidden among six grass tufts. If the item is not found the first time, the Dowsing Machine will tell the player if the item is close by ("It's near!") or far away ("It's far away..."). If the item is near, then it is adjacent to the first checked grass tuft (directly left or right). Likewise if the item is far away then the item is at least two grass tufts away in either direction. If the item is not found by the second search, the player will have to try again with another 3 watts.
When using the Dowsing Machine, assuming that hints are always used correctly, there is a 50% chance of finding an item regardless of which patch is selected first.
|Mathematical Derivation of Dowsing Probabilities*|
- Connect - Allows connection to another player's Pokéwalker, however that same person cannot be connected to during the remainder of the day.
- Trainer Card - Views details such as the Trainer name (), current area name () and current time. By pressing the right-most button seven times, further details will be shown such as the day, the total number of steps taken, the total number of days, and the steps taken in those days.
- Pokémon and Items - Displays all Pokémon () and items () obtained in the current session.
- Settings - Manages sound volume and screen contrast.
The Pokéwalker has 27 distinct areas that a player can have their Pokémon visit on sending them from HeartGold or SoulSilver. The main difference between them is the species of Pokémon that can be found using the Poké Radar. Two areas are unlocked from the start, while more can be unlocked by various means.
The Pokéwalker, like Pokémon Pikachu 2 GS, can communicate with other Pokéwalkers as well as with Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver. Unlike before, this exchange is not limited merely to watts, but also items and Pokémon.
If two Pokéwalkers are within range of each other and infrared communications are activated, the two players' Pokémon will interact, and each player will receive an item. What item is obtained is based on the route the receiving player is using at the time. The Pokéwalker can only hold up to 10 items from other players per sync with game. After this 10 item limit is reached, a player will receive 1 to 99 watts upon activating infrared communications. If both players have reached the 10 item limit, they will both receive the same amount of watts. A player can only link with the same person once per day. Similar to mixing records, once two players connect their Pokéwalkers, their in-game team data at the time they sent their Pokémon to the Pokéwalker will also be passed to the other person. When a player then sends their Pokémon back to their game, the person that they connected with and their team will appear in the basement of the Trainer House located in Viridian City, where they can be battled for one Battle Point once a day.
Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver
Coming bundled with the games themselves, the Pokéwalker's most important means of communication is with a copy of Pokémon HeartGold or Pokémon SoulSilver. The Pokéwalker syncs with the time on the Nintendo DS system it links with. As long as a Pokémon is on the Pokéwalker, the specific game it came from is locked to that Pokéwalker, and it will only send back to the same save file.
After a sync with the games, any Pokémon caught in the Pokéwalker will be put into a PC box, while any items found on the device will be placed into the Bag's appropriate pocket. The game will also display a diary of specific events that occurred to the Pokémon in the Pokéwalker. The Pokéwalker can connect with any DS system, as the infrared receiver is in the game cartridge itself, rather than on the system (as was the case with Gold, Silver, and Crystal, making them cut off from communication with Pokémon Pikachu 2 GS if the games were not played on a Game Boy Color).
Troubleshooting and exploitation
A Pokémon that has been transferred onto a Pokéwalker is not actually sent to the device, rather, the Pokémon's data is copied and sent. The targeted Pokémon is instead put aside, and cannot be used in the game, until the data has been returned to that game. Therefore, if a Pokéwalker is lost or damaged, the Pokémon is not lost. Pokémon can be restored to the game it was taken from if a Pokéwalker is lost or broken by pressing and holding Up, Select, and R at the Pokéwalker connection screen. The Pokémon will be returned to the PC box with its level and friendship unaffected.
Nintendo used to sell individual Pokéwalkers, battery covers, and clip covers as replacements on their online store.
Once a Pokémon is forcefully retrieved from the system, the Pokéwalker which holds the Pokémon's details is unusable. A Pokéwalker's settings must be deleted and reset before making it usable again. The settings on the game can be reset and deleted by pressing and holding Down, X, and L at the Pokéwalker connection screen. This must be done to avoid a cloning glitch. After resetting a Pokéwalker, it may be synced with another game, or a new file.
It should also be noted that when synced with a new game, the Pokéwalker will become the language the game is. For example, if a Pokéwalker that came with a Japanese game is synced with an English game, after syncing, the Pokéwalker would be in English. This proves that very little data is stored on the Pokéwalker itself; most likely only the Pokémon on it and the player's party is stored on it. The latter is for the Trainer House.
It is possible to use one game cartridge for multiple Pokéwalkers; however, only one Pokémon is allowed to Stroll at one time. Resetting a Pokéwalker may also reset collected watts to zero on the game cartridge used to reset the Pokéwalker.
By pressing and holding Down, X, and L at the Pokéwalker screen, a "Caution!" message will appear. By selecting "Yes" and connecting the additional Pokéwalker (not the original Pokéwalker previously registered with the game), this will reset and register the new Pokéwalker with the game and reset current walk and step counters in-game temporarily. This process is completed by sending over a Pokémon to the new Pokéwalker and returning from Stroll.
Either Pokéwalker can now sync with the game and when the original Pokéwalker is connected for a Stroll, the step count and original watt count should be restored. To have a Pokémon on the extra Pokéwalkers, a wild Pokémon from the selected walking route simply needs to "befriend" or join in the walk, this Pokémon and any other additional ones caught can return to the game normally. It is not possible to change routes on any additional Pokéwalker when a Pokémon is currently out on a Stroll. The Pokémon that needs to be returned should appear on the top screen. To change routes, all Pokémon need to be returned into the game and then sent back out into either Pokéwalker with the desired route and returned back into the game.
It is possible to manipulate the Pokéwalker in such a way that a cloning glitch occurs. By putting a Pokémon onto the Pokéwalker, then turning the game off before saving, the Pokémon will be in both the cartridge and the Pokéwalker. However, the Pokémon in the Pokéwalker will be released back into the wild when an attempt is made to return it to the game, even if the original Pokémon was released or traded away. This is because the game does not recognize the Pokémon as being caught from the Pokéwalker, nor does it match the stored data of the Pokémon that was sent to the Pokéwalker (the data was not even saved in the first place).
- The music for the Pokéwalker's menus in HeartGold and SoulSilver is a remix of the Game Boy Printer theme from Yellow, Gold, Silver, and Crystal, its first appearance in nearly a decade.
- The Pokéwalker's sprites are grayscale versions of the ones used in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, rather than the ones from Pokémon Platinum or Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver.
- In order to unlock all non-event routes, one would need to walk approximately 1000 miles (1609 km), assuming 2000 steps per mile, with the assumption that no watts are spent or received as gifts.
- If walking with the Pokéwalker the recommended 10,000 steps per day, it would take 200 days to unlock all the routes, with the assumption that no watts are spent or received as gifts.
- In the Pokéwalker, 20 steps equals 1 watt. Similarly, it takes approximately 20 steps to burn 1 calorie.
- The Pokéwalker will record up to a maximum of 9999999 steps with a maximum of 99999 steps each day, though watts will continue to be earned. Similarly, there is a limit of 9999 watts before some must be transferred or spent to earn more.
- If a Pokémon levels up from the Pokéwalker while it is transferring back to the game, it will not learn moves it would normally learn by leveling up. In addition, it will not evolve if it makes the required level.
- According to an Iowa State University study, the Pokéwalker is one of the most accurate pedometers ever.
|This game-related article is part of Project Games, a Bulbapedia project that aims to write comprehensive articles on the Pokémon games.|