Pokemon, No? Olympic athletes disappointed to find Pokemon GO inaccessible in Rio

Zika, protests and doping can wait. The biggest problem that has plagued the Olympic village right now is that the augmented reality mobile sensation Pokemon Go wouldn’t be playable in Rio!

FP Sports August 01, 2016 17:08:38 IST
Pokemon, No? Olympic athletes disappointed to find Pokemon GO inaccessible in Rio

Trainers, we have a problem. Zika, protests and doping can wait. The biggest problem that has plagued the Olympic village right now is that the augmented reality mobile sensation Pokemon Go isn't available in Rio!

The game has launched in over 30 countries so far, but Brazil isn’t one of them. Niantic Inc. hasn’t released any official statement, but some speculate that the game might release in time for the Olympic Games. So expectations are high, but for now the athletes are disappointed!

"I wish I could run around in the (athletes') village catching Pokemon," New Zealand football player Anna Green said Friday. "I just can't get it on the phone. It's fine, but it would have been something fun to do."

What will she do instead? "Train," she replied.

The empty maps and missing Pokestops — fictional supply caches linked to real-world landmarks — are making it hard for pokemaniacs to "catch ‘em all", and they’re taking to social media to post about their heartbreak. Here are some tweets, right from the village.

British canoer Joe Clarke tweeted — with a broken-hearted sad face — a screenshot of his player on a deserted map near the rugby, equestrian and modern pentathlon venues in Rio's Deodoro neighborhood. The map was devoid of PokeStops No Pokemon monsters to catch either: There was nary a Starmie nor a Clefairy to be found.

"Sorry guys no #pokemon in the Olympic Village," tweeted French canoer Matthieu Peche, followed by three crying-face emoji. Getting equal billing in his Twitter stream was a snapshot of a letter of encouragement from French President Francois Hollande.

For US diver Abby Johnston, this has been the only issue in The Village so far

Players with the app already downloaded elsewhere appear to be able to see a digital map of their surroundings when they visit Rio. But without PokeStops or Pokemon, the game isn't much fun. It would be like getting on a football field but not having a ball to kick or goals to defend.

Many competitors in the athletes' village took it in stride, though. Canadian field hockey player Matthew Sarmento said it would give him more time to meet other athletes. But he would have welcomed Pokemon during downtime in competition, adding that "sometimes it's good to take your mind off the important things and let yourself chill."

Athletes might not get Pokemon, but they'll have access to 450,000 condoms, or three times as many as the London Olympics. Of those, 100,000 are female condoms. Officials deny that it's a response to the Zika virus, which has been linked to miscarriages and birth defects in babies born to women who have been infected.

In Pokemon countries like the U.S., PokeStops are being used to attract living, breathing customers. In San Francisco, for example, dozens of bars, restaurants and coffee shops have set up lures that attract rare Pokemon, along with potential new patrons looking to catch them.

Even Brazilian politician Eduardo Paes begged Nintendo to get Pokemon to the shores of Rio De Janeiro

“Hello Nintendo! There are 23 days until the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Everybody’s coming. You should come on down too,” Mayor Eduardo Paes said on Facebook Wednesday, with the welcoming hashtag #PokemonGoNoBrasil (Pokemon Go in Brazil).

Will Pikachu feature in the Opening Ceremony on 5 August in Rio? Or is Nintendo hesitant to prepare for Poke-trouble? The athletes and fans will just have to wait and watch.

(With inputs from agencies)

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