VG Tribune

The Experience of Visiting Nintendo of America HQ and Playing Pokemon GO

July 20, 2016 / 12:42 PM

By: Matthew Williams

NOAPokestop

In just two weeks, Pokémon GO has created a cultural phenomenon that spans across multiple generations of gamers. From Poke-veteran adults who originally played Pokémon Blue/Red to children interested in playing the upcoming Pokémon Sun/Moon, Nintendo and Niantic Labs have formulated a unique and addicting recipe of success with this mobile game amongst these generations.

Gamers who’ve secretly fantasized about becoming Pokémon trainers can now live out their dream. With just the swipe of a finger, the app allows users to hurl Pokeballs at virtual Pokémon, which are augmented into the real-world via a Google Maps overlay. To make things more realistic, certain Pokémon only appear near locations similar to their native environments. Users are also able to battle in gyms and gather equipment via PokeStops, which are represented in reality as places of cultural significance (i.e.: churches, historical landmarks, memorials, museums, businesses, etc.).

As realistic as the game seems, one would think that there might be some rare equipment and Pokémon residing near Nintendo of America’s headquarters in Redmond, WA. Could some elusive nest of rare Pokémon be harbored right next to it? What about a rare PokeStop that only generated Ultra Balls and Max Potions?

NOAMap

I got the opportunity to visit Nintendo of America’s headquarters last week, and the readers will be sad to hear that there’s nothing but Pidgey, Rattata, and some Weedle around the campus grounds (for the most part). In addition, their headquarters just contained three PokeStops (only two of which are readily accessible by the public) which generated regular equipment and no gyms.

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While this may seem like a rather anticlimactic turn of events, the experience of visiting NOA HQ and exploring the Redmond area was still a unique and rewarding experience. How many people get to say that they explored around Nintendo’s North American office and hunted for potentially rare Pokémon? I bet it’s not many.

About the author /


Matthew, a graduate from Texas Christian University, now works as a Senior Digital Analytics Consultant for Ernst & Young. With a passion for video games (mostly retro and survival horror) and data, Matthew is pursuing a career in game analytics.

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