Pokemon Go addicts can now battle in world’s most remote location after scientists’ plea

Two scientists can now catch Pokemon together thanks to a request on Reddit

Rikki Loftus
Thursday 11 April 2024 11:51 BST
Related video: Pokemon Go: First person to catch 'em all in the UK

Two Pokemon Go addicts have had their request for help accepted - all the way from the Antarctica.

Originally from Australia, both Raimon Hennessy, 29, and Pete Rizzo, 60, work at the most southernly Australian Antarctic station – Davis Research Station – and missed being able to play their favourite game while working away on the isolated continent.

Pokemon Go is a game that lets players explore the real world to find and catch Pokemon using their mobile phone – it also allows players to send digital postcards showing the locations in which in-game gifts are collected.

Raimon and Pete pictured here using PokemonGo in Antarctica (PA)

After Raimon’s partner, Alexandra, asked him to send her postcards from Antarctica through the Pokemon Go app, the communications technical officer realised there was no Pokestop within reach of their station.

He was surprised when Alexandra posted a request on a Reddit page to Niantic – the software development company behind Pokemon Go – and was even more shocked when they replied, agreeing to add the location to their game.

Once the stop had been added, Raimon discovered that his colleague Pete, who is an Antarctic medical practitioner, was also a fan of the app and now they are able to play together, catching Pokemon in the world’s most remote location.

Raimon said: “There’s not a lot of downtime here in Antarctica, we get weekends off, but still have things to do on the weekends.

“I enjoy going out for walks and capturing the landscapes with my camera, but I also enjoy playing other games on my computer when I get time. This lets me play games with mates back in Australia.

“My partner had asked a question on the official Reddit page – it was more of a shock when I found out our Doc, Rizzo, had requested a Pokestop too!”

Raimon and Pete use the Pokestop at their Antarctic station (PA)

There are currently 28 expeditioners working at Raimon and Pete’s station over winter where, for a lot of the workers, they will stay in Antarctica for six-month stints, although some are there for 12 to 15 months at a time.

Communicating with loved ones is often tricky from the isolated continent and Raimon recalled how he works to keep everyone connected with their friends and family.

He said: “As the communications tech down here on station, it’s my job to keep expeditioners in contact with their friends and family back home. We have a 20Mb connection via satellite back to Australia which keeps us in contact at all times.

“I had brought a Starlink (broadband satellite internet) down as well to play with as I was curious how it would go on the continent – it’s been fantastic.

“I have been able to help expeditioners keep in better contact with their families with it and we have been able to keep up with the latest releases of movies and shows by being able to use streaming services.”

Raimon had been a fan of Pokemon Go since its release in 2016, but restarted playing it when his partner asked him to send her digital postcards through the app while he was working away in Antarctica.

He said: “I have had the game since release, playing it on and off. My partner plays a lot more than me and really wanted some postcards from Antarctica so I started playing again so she could get some.”

It was not until Alexandra asked Niantic on their official Reddit page if they would consider adding a Pokestop to Raimon’s station that the company took notice of the area and accepted the request.

It was a huge shock to Raimon but an even bigger surprise came when he found out that his girlfriend was not the first person to request the stop – his colleague Pete had also asked for Pokemon Go to be expanded to their region.

Originally from Australia, both Raimon and Pete work at the most southernly Australian Antarctic station, Davis Research Station (PA)

Pete, who is the medical practitioner at the Antarctic station and lives in Brisbane, was inspired to work on the icy continent by his grandmother, who went on her own journey there in the 1970s before gifting him a vinyl titled Sounds of the Antarctic when he was 10 years old.

This sparked a lifelong dream for Pete who is now on his first stint of working in Antarctica. While he enjoys reading science fiction in his downtime, he had also gotten his own Pokemon Go account a year ago after discovering the game through his son.

Through the app, Pete connects with loved ones and added: “I do share a few of the images from Pokemon to others who aren’t Pokemon players, but I have a few friends that love getting postcards from here.”

Raimon could not believe there was a fellow Pokemon Go addict onboard and, since their request was approved, the pair can now catch Pokemon within their living quarters.

Raimon started using the app again when his girlfriend asked him to send her Pokemon postcards from Antarctica (PA)

The Pokestop is the most remote on Earth and is located just in front of their main operations building, with another inside their living quarters building, as internet access is limited outside the buildings due to weather conditions.

Pete added: “The weather can definitely be a factor going between buildings. ‘Green’ conditions still allow for 40 knot winds let alone visibility.

“The stops and gym (in the game) are within the station limits, however, we have 2G without data so we are limited to going to the different buildings that may have Wi-Fi next to the two stops.

“One stop is next to our living quarters, which has a giant living room with dining below, and a small bar, pool table and ping pong.

“Raimon works in the yellow operations building so he has the opportunity to go between the two stops nearly every day. The gym is a bit more challenging though. It’s further away and in the ‘Pineapple’ building due to its colour and shape. It’s an old meteorology building and now a music studio.”

While there are several other Pokestops at other stations in Antarctica, theirs is the most southern and remote – and there is little chance for Pete and Raimon to travel between them, but Pete hopes that other stops will become available at other Australian stations in the future.

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