When Pokémon was first introduced in the 1990s, people wouldn’t have expected the fanciful creatures to care about the environment. But the Pocket Monsters, as they’re known in Japan, live alongside humans in the wild, so they, too, have a stake in sustainability and global warming. Nintendo recognizes that vested interest with Sustainability Week, Pokémon Go’s latest event, inspired by the goal of safeguarding our planet.
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For those who haven’t played Pokémon Go, here’s a little background; the augmented reality game uses a free app and GPS to turn your phone into a pocket monster-catcher. The virtual creatures take the shapes of dragons, dinosaurs, snakes, rats and even swords and eggs and are deceptively powerful. As you and your phone move around, different Pokémon suddenly appear onscreen. You, as a human, are called a “trainer” and have the ability to catch and tame these creatures and then make them fight each other. You might capture Pokémon as you’re riding the subway to work or taking a bathroom break.
Pokémon Go is a partnership between Nintendo, Pokémon’s original maker, and Niantic, a San Francisco-based designer of augmented reality games. Pokémon Go’s Sustainability Week is linked with the Niantic Sustainability Campaign to protect the environment and raise awareness of global warming. The event runs from April 20-25, coinciding with Earth Day on April 22.
Throughout Sustainability Week, trainers will perform a variety of field research tasks. All must be completed during Sustainability Week if players want to keep their Pokémon Go rewards. Aficionados are excited about the release of two new Pokémon: Binacle and Barbaracle. If trainers get 50 Binacle candies, it evolves to a Barbaracle.
“There are also two new shiny forms available during Sustainability Week,” according to The Gamer. “Everyone’s favorite trash Pokemon, Trubbish and Garbodor, will be available in their shiny variants throughout the week. Catch shiny Trubbish in the wild and evolve it to get the shiny Garbodor.”
Sustainability Week also has real world components. Players will earn in-game rewards for picking up trash, planting trees, walking instead of driving and volunteering with local environmental agencies. To get credit for doing good, players need to post a picture and description on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #SustainableWithNiantic and tag @NianticLabs.
Image via Pokémon Go