Pipkemon Go

It’s probably not escaped your notice that everyone in the world appears to be playing Pokemon Go right now. And if they’re not playing it they’re writing about it. Thing is, I am not only not playing Pokemon Go, I also ended up in a situation where I got weirdly competitive about Pokemon Go.

That is how I ended up at my PC, learning how to use custom Google maps and creating an entirely new game called Pipkemon Go which is either TOTAL GENIUS or THE LAMEST ACT OF DEFINITELY NOT GAMING PIRACY EVER or maybe BOTH.

First: a tiny bit of context:

I like the outdoors. It’s at odds with this job pretty often but I love long walks and reading about plants and beetles. So for me it’s odd to suddenly have companions outside looking at things that aren’t there instead of the amazing stuff that is. I’m aware that I could easily sound like someone shaking their fist at the young folk so I’ll add that it isn’t that. I appreciate I only got properly interested in wildlife to the point of taking these walks in recent years. But still, it’s odd (and sometimes bothersome) having these new companions seeking digital creatures while striding past/into/onto real ones.

My partner installed Pokemon Go on my phone and I haven’t touched it. In fact I got so annoyed by its presence and its digital denizens that I started to feel the impulse to rebel somehow, or to “Show that damn game that it’s not the boss of me and that I can make a nicer game IN MY OWN GARDEN USING REAL THINGS”.

And no, this isn’t a PC game exactly but I USED my PC and I’m really pleased with myself right now and I have access to the publish button on this site.

What happened was I opened up custom maps and found the Google map satellite view of my garden. Then I created a layer to add markers for various Pokemon locations. This was inexact because I didn’t do any planning in advance beyond deciding bug types should go in places bugs would be and water types should go near the pond.

Then I printed out my five favourite Pokemon (i.e. the ones I liked in Pokemon Snap and the one which has a similar name to mine) and sellotaped them to plants in the same general location as the markers. Then I made my [long-suffering] partner play Pipkemon Go when he got home.


By the way, without the Google element I might play it with my toddler relatives over the summer, hiding little creatures for them to find and using it as an excuse to show them the real creatures that live in those spaces too.

This post was funded by the RPS Supporter Program.


  1. Sunjumper says:

    That’s… brilliant.

    I like the idea of using it to actually explore your surroundings as well as using it to get people inerested in things connected to the virtual critters.

  2. Skabooga says:

    That bulbasaur picture is mad cute, though.

  3. X_kot says:

    I do hope some grumbly folks start adding pokemon plushies to geocaches. Does anyone geocache anymore? Or orienteering? (I don’t, so I’m part of the problem, I guess.)

    • Premium User Badge

      Big Dunc says:

      I go geocaching from time to time, but am running out of caches in my local area that I either haven’t found or couldn’t find after 30 minutes of scouring trees/bushes/walls in a slightly dodgy looking way.

  4. Premium User Badge

    phuzz says:

    “I might play it with my toddler relatives over the summer”
    Just remember that small people require different difficulty levels to big people. I’ve learnt this from the last few years of setting up Easter egg hunts for my mum.
    Of course, as the sprogs get older I’m having to get more cunning with my chocolate egg hiding skillz.

  5. DelrueOfDetroit says:

    There’s a nice little park around here that has a creek running through it. Last time I went there for a walk somebody had placed a bunch of tiny little doors all over the place. Of course being the tool that I am I couldn’t help but critique it in terms of game design. “Hrm, that’s just bad sign-posting.”

    • Nauallis says:

      At least those doors are operable, at least if you like throwing doors.

  6. Capt. Bumchum McMerryweather says:

    Someone needs to photoshop a mudpip.

  7. SingularityParadigm says:

    There is a fellow over on Reddit that has been 3D-printing Pokemon and hiding them at his local Pokestops and Gyms.

    link to reddit.com

  8. UW says:

    If you like Pokemon that sort of sound like your name, there is also Pelipper. For some reason that is what I thought you meant when you described it.

  9. Sian says:

    I dunno. I haven’t even touched Pokémon Go and I’m already sick of it because everyone and their Meowth are writing and/or talking about it. I read a lot of webcomics, and every single one that is just slightly gaming related seems to have spawned a page about this game.

    Love Pipkemon Go, though. I have a dog, so I go for walks every day and tend to see interesting creatures from time to time, so I can understand the sentiment behind it. I just hope that when Pokémon Go arrives on our shores, there won’t be people trodding all over the four gigantic anthills in the nearby woods. I’ve grown quite fond of them.

  10. Ben King says:

    Someone get Pip a waterproof housing for her camera so that she can replicate this but with cut-outs of Subnautica creatures and props in the pond.

  11. GWOP says:

    By the way, Pip’s Twitter account is an awesome source for pictures of bugs. I’m expecting her to leave RPS soon and join Nat Geo or something.

  12. KingFunk says:

    Awesome, loving Pip’s work these days. I can empathise strongly with the outdoors/gaming agenda struggle. Mainly I play games for escapism, but then playing the Witcher 3 is like going for a horse ride in the bleaker parts of the UK, only there are also monsters to kill. As much as I love the game, I do wonder why I don’t just go for a walk anyway, especially on sunny days! Fortunately I have a wife who doesn’t game beyond the casual, so she makes sure I get my dose of real outdoors. I also returned from 10 months’ travelling in Europe/South America so I guess I have had a better amount of outdoorsiness than most folk get to enjoy… but still the dilemma remains.

    Not fully sure where I was going with this, but encore Pip anyhow!

  13. yhancik says:

    That’s so lovely!

  14. thedosbox says:

    Come back from a ridiculously intense work day to this? Wonderful – thanks Pip!

  15. Innocent Dave says:

    This is awesome :) I reckon we’ll look back on Pokemon Go as the best Walking Simulator of 2016, though.