Pokemon Go looks eerie in banned countries

Scott Baird
Pokemon Go looks eerie in banned countries

Pokemon Go is an international sensation, but it’s not available in every country, so those who can access it in those regions are met with an eerie abandoned wasteland.

Pokemon Go’s world uses map app data. All of the Pokemon that appear on the world, as well as the PokeStops and Gyms, are displayed thanks to your GPS signal tagging your location and the game spawning elements around you.

There’s one problem, however — not every country has a service like Google Maps or OpenStreetMap. Countries like North Korea ban these services, preventing people from using apps to track locations within the region.

Without a functional map and GPS signal, Pokemon Go cannot function. However, a user named poopmushroom on the Pokemon Go Reddit revealed what the game looks like when used in a country where it’s banned, in this case, China.

It’s possible to get the game to launch using a VPN, but nothing spawns there. All that players can do is move around, collect Candy, hatch Pokemon Eggs, and complete research. In all other respects, the world is empty.

It’s particularly eerie to see the Pokemon Go world like this, almost like a giant liminal space. Even the most remote players in countries like the USA will still spawn wild Pokemon, even if they’re much less frequent than in cities.

While Pokemon Go can technically be opened under these conditions, it affects everything that happens there, as the game cannot nail down a signal. This has the effect of making any Pokemon acquired have “Unknown” as their base location rather than listing a country.

Ultimately, Pokemon Go might function in places like China, but it’s a shadow of what it is in other regions. While players can technically engage with aspects of the game, they’re still leaving behind most of the best content that it has to offer.

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