It seems stranger than fiction, but Pokemon Go - an app that has triggered a global phenomenon where millions of people obsessively capture small creatures in public spaces - was first introduced as an April Fool's Day joke, BBC reports.

 

In 2014, YouTube published a mock sales pitch called Google Maps: Pokemon Challenge, which showed the corporation's maps app overtaken by colourful monsters.

 

The video asked recruits to track down these critters using their phone's GPS location data, and then capture them using their camera.

 

If you are still unsure about how to play Pokemon Go, or what it is, Google's prank provides a pretty good guide.

 

It's perhaps no coincidence that the studio that developed today's blockbuster app, Niantic Labs, is itself a spin-out from Google.

 

Up until now, the central concept of mobile games has been something that can be enjoyed anywhere. They are pit-stops in daily routines.

 

But few games encourage playing while on the move like Pokemon Go does.

 

In order to succeed, players have to travel to destinations and visit landmarks previously unknown to them.

 

In doing so, the Pokemon Company - and Nintendo, which has a large stake in it - may have just harnessed the true potential of mobilised gaming.

 

Photo: BBC

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