Pokémon Go – Monster Hunting by Tram in Düsseldorf
Pokémon Go fans take to the Rheinbahn in search of Düsseldorf’s latest hotspots.
If the world wasn’t enough, it seems that Pokémon Go has now conquered the Rheinbahn too. 75 Pokémon Go fans recently paid €8 for a three-hour return ride on one of Düsseldorf’s classic yellow trams – all in search of hunting and catching virtual monsters with their mobile phones. Built in 1969, the tram or Straßenbahn travelled for 33km across Düsseldorf visiting various “hotspots” in the city or locations where Pokémon like to hang out.
With so many Pokémon players in such a small area, a Düsseldorf mobile operator had installed special wifi-hotspots in the tram, otherwise the data network would have quickly reached its capacity. Rheinbahn had also checked the route ahead for useful Pokéstops, with many passer-by’s looking quite bemused at all the commotion with shouts of “Stop right here – there’s a Pikachu” or “I’ve got a Blaziken” to be heard across the city.
The “Pokémon Express” attracted some substantial media interest with over 20 reporters and a camera crew also on board the tram for the duration of the tour.
What is Pokémon?
Pokémon (short for pocket monster) is a franchise owned by Nintendo and began life in the mid 90’s as a game for the Game Boy system. The game is centred on fictional characters known as Pokémon which humans (called Pokémon Trainers) catch and train to battle each other. The Japanese franchise became well known for its unique graphics and cute characters – Pikachu being one of the most famous. The game has grown into a successful franchise which has spanned TV, trading cards, comics, books and toys.
20 years later Pokémon has made a big comeback in the form of a location based smartphone game (Pokémon Go), with a live-action movie in the works.
Pokémon Go Explained
Pokémon Go is a free smartphone app that combines gaming with the real world. The game uses location tracking and mapping technology to create an ‘augmented reality’ where players catch and train Pokémon characters in real locations.
How Does it Work?
As players walk around the real word, Pokémon characters appear on the game map. When players come within a close enough range the Pokémon will appear on the device screen and players throw Poké Balls at them to capture them. The aim is to collect as many different characters as possible.
The map is an anime-style version of Google maps that replaces real street names and landmarks with Pokémon specific buildings. Another feature of the game are Poké Stops which are real life locations where users can usually collect free Poké Balls (used to catch Pokémon). Players can also find Pokémon eggs that hatch into Pokémon and can be added to a user’s collection.