By now you've probably seen this picture, which went viral over the weekend, purportedly showing that Pokémon Go has truly gone further than anyone expected it to in its short time on Earth.
It turns out the picture really was taken in Iraq by 26-year-old Marine Corps veteran Louis Park.
After the Marine was deployed to Afghanistan and Japan, Park spent some time as a security contractor, but eventually decided to head for Iraq to take on ISIS in January 2015.
Park told BuzzFeed News in an interview over Facebook Messenger that he's long been a fan of the Pokémon franchise.
So when he had the chance to download Pokémon Go onto his Android, he decided to give it a shot and was pleased to find that it worked in Iraq.
(For those who were concerned about the fact that Park was using the game while in the middle of a war zone, the situation doesn't appear to have been quite so dire.)
Park posted the image to his Facebook, he explained, to show people back home that despite everything he'd been through, he's still human.
Despite the picture of him catching a Squirtle going viral, he told BuzzFeed News, he actually wound up with a Bulbasaur as his starter Pokémon.
He also says he hasn’t had too much experience playing the game, despite being on leave for the last week.
“There’s not a lot of people playing near me, but there’s Pokestops and gyms,” he said. “I caught a Zubat in the market today.”
And not only has Park told the other members of his unit about the game, he's seen other people around town playing, proving yet again that Pokémon truly is a global phenomenon.
Hayes Brown is a world news editor and reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Hayes Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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