Today was going to be a productive day. I was going to get up and do something, maybe even something of importance. Then Google announced that there were Pokemon to catch, and I set all my plans aside to become a Pokemon Master.
Google’s latest April Fool’s prank adds Pokemon to Google Maps, where trainers must hunt them down and capture them. It’s simple to do – just install the latest update for Google Maps, then hit “Start” from the search bar and start hunting. Catching Pokemon is as simple as tapping on them, but finding all of them is the hard part.
So far, I’ve managed to capture 39/150 Pokemon, most of which were located somewhere around the Bay Area and other Google headquarters locations. To find them, it’s best to have the map at a specific zoom, which the map automatically goes to when you return to the Pokemon Lab (AKA Google Headquarters).
The video released by Google claims they’re looking to hire a Pokemon Master, though the disclaimer at the end states “Our hiring committee must first battle to determine who can best judge the Pokemon Master. The battle date has yet to be set, so the role of Pokemon Master is not yet available.” So don’t get your hopes up, although I certainly wouldn’t mind one of those fancy Pokemon Master business cards shown in the video.
This is a fun diversion, which has the interesting side-effect of helping people learn to better read maps. The Pokemon are hidden all around, often times near landmarks of some kind, but not necessarily. For example, there is a Snorlax sleeping in the middle of the road, no doubt blocking traffic, as it is known to do. Suffice to say, the search adds a whole new meaning to “I will travel across the land, searching far and wide.”
While the Pokemon games currently have over 700 Pokemon to find and collect, Google Maps is keeping it old school with 150. However, the folks at Google are not genwunners, and have included a nice variety of Pokemon from every generation.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I fear in the time I have spent writing this article, I’ve fallen behind on my journey. I see someone has left a note for me on Route 3… “Gary was here, Rob is a loser!?”
Update: I have now completed my Google Pokedex. There is no big celebratory reward or anything, but completion is its own reward. During the search, I found myself looking up places I’d normally never think of, or finding places I didn’t know existed; I believe that is the true purpose of the project – to not only let people have fun while hunting down Pokemon, but to learn about the many landmarks and wonderful places the world has to offer. Well-played, Google. You win this round, but my pride as a Pokemon Trainer is still intact.