Google’s April Fools Day prank urges users to ‘Catch’em All’

April Fools’ is supposed to be a day of elaborate pranks and gags. This year, Google delivered an addictive meta-game that was more fun than comical. Using Google Maps, Nintendo, The Pokémon Company and Google teamed up to hide 150 Pokémon across the globe in ironic or remote locations.

This was an augmented reality experiment from Google. This is the term for when an application superimposes a computer-made image, model, graphics or video on the world surrounding the user.

Players were meant to find these Pokémon in random locations across the globe with their smartphones. Once found, they could use their smartphones to make it look like the Pokémon in their location were right in front of them.

Of course you could never travel the world to discover all 150 Pokémon using your smartphone in the three-day period the Google Maps Challenge lasted. Using Google Maps on the computer, fans could zoom in on a particular building or location and “catch” a hidden Pokémon. The fan service didn’t end there, as participants were given a digital Pokédex, like Pokémon trainers are given in the video games, to document the player’s travels and discoveries.

Die-hard Pokémon fans couldn’t resist this unique but temporary spin-off of the franchise, with millions of fans searching the globe in an attempt to catch’em all. Some of them were in locations that made sense — like putting an electric-type Pokemon near a power plant or a water-type near an ocean.

Iconic Pokémon, like Bulbasaur, could be found relaxing on the sunny beaches of Kauai. Charmander could be found taking in the sights at the Sydney Observatory in Australia as well as in Hiroshima. Wartortle picked Hyde Park in London, Trevi Fountain in Rome and Pagan Island off New Zealand as its hiding spot.

The series’ most famous character, Pikachu, was one of the harder characters to find. The electrifying yellow pocket monster was hidden in the King’s College Chapel in Cambridge and in Munich, Germany.

For whatever reason, the pink puffball Jigglypuff picked Detroit. Snorlax was seen taking naps at Duke University and Vatican City. Lucario decided to trade stocks at the New York Stock Exchange while also visiting the Taj Mahal and San Francisco.

The Pokémon Google Maps challenge lasted only a few days, beginning March 31and ending April 2. It was a huge online campaign with millions of Pokémon fans both old and new taking part in the fun. Within hours of launch, the Challenge was already trending on Twitter. It will surely go down as one of the more extensive video game-related April Fool’s Day stunts in the history of the Internet and the video game industry.