Google has introduced its best April Fools’ gag ever by laying down a Pokemon Challenge that requires a person — a budding Pokemon Master — to discover and capture 150 of Nintendo’s fictional Pokemon creatures to fill up their Pokedex, simply by navigating to different places on Google Maps.
Since it is already Apr. 1 in Australia and Japan, to kick off the annual gag day, a Japanese blog of the tech company announced that an update for the Android and iPhone versions of Google Maps lets users go around the world and try to catch all the Pokemon.
The good news is that this mini-game is already available here in the US too, even though it is not Apr. 1 as yet. The challenge comes with a deadline. In the US, it is 2 AM Pacific Standard Time on Apr. 2 so all interested gamers should get to the challenge right way!
According to the Japanese blog and video explaining the Pokemon Challenge, Google will invite gamers who catch all 150 Pokemon on the Google Maps to its headquarters in California to participate in a final round of hiring. The winner, who will become the Pokemon Master, will start at the company on Sept. 1. However, while the game is very much real – and a lot of fun — this is the part, which is the joke for April Fools’.
There is no job position being given to the Pokemon Master. A little warning that is given to gamers by the search conglomerate highlights that this is a gag. “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,” the firm said in its well-produced and rather slick YouTube video.
The video explaining the game showcases some extreme scenarios and illogical feats, such as rock climbing and mid-parachute descents, to catch rare Pokemons. This is rather impressive to watch as it features some unprecedented augmented reality software.
Anyway, to play the Pokemon Challenge, a gamer has to make sure that they have the latest version of Google Maps for iPhone or Android. To activate the game, go to the search bar at the top of the Google Maps app and hit the “Press Start” option with the blue Poke ball icon. Once the game starts, the gamer simply has to zoom in enough to read the names of the side streets and explore the entire Google Maps to find the Pokemons and catch them.
Along with the 150 Pokemons, the gamer may also come across an occasional Pokemon Centre. Gamers can also check their Pokedex, the famous index from Pokemon that stores each creature’s information, to view the profiles for each of their Pokemon.
Google and many of the company’s departments have a long-standing tradition for April Fools’ jokes, and this mini-game on Google Maps to allow a person to become Pokemon Master has already gone down well with users. April Fools’ is also always popular with many other tech firms, so there may be several jokes to look out for over the next 24 hours.
By Faryal Najeeb