The Soviet Union had, for much of its history, a fine tradition of vaguely hearing about something from the West and trying to copy it to amusing results. They did this with everything from military technology to arcade games. And now they’re trying to do it to Pokémon Go.
Why? Because you’re not capturing Pokémon in Russia any time soon. Gawker has an excellent round-up of the various reactions, from belief that it causes psychological problems to a former Russian general insisting it’s a CIA plot to photograph state secret bases, to a state TV station running a thinly veiled threat that side-loading Pokémon fans might face jail time. But to try and satisfy Pokemania, the city of Moscow has an app.
The basic idea is the same, in the sense that you put digital characters on a photo generated by your phone. But instead of delightful mythical creatures, you capture and take photos with Russian historical figures:
The game, which is due to be released in August, will use the augmented reality technology of “Pokemon Go,” to allow users to capture historical characters on real-life backgrounds with their smartphone cameras. “By the end of August, people will be able to catch and take a selfie with [deceased Russian rock musician] Viktor Tsoi, Yury Gagarin, Alexander Pushkin, Pyotr Chaikovsky, [founder of the first Russian university] Mikhail Lomonosov, Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great, Napoleon Bonaparte and the tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich,” the Moscow government website announced Monday.
So, in other words, they took something fun and made it educational. Moscow’s city hall is like your buzzkill parents, but a municipal government. Although hanging out with Viktor Tsoi would be pretty fun, we have to admit. Sadly, though, you won’t be able to make the various icons of Russian history fight. Which is too bad, because we really wanted to see Napoleon’s CP.