Skip to main content

Pipkemon Go

Analogue monster garden party

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.

Read this next