At a time where Generation Y is constantly glued to their gaming screens, there’s a new game which is now going to take them outside into the real world – except that they would still be looking to capture imaginary creatures superimposed onto real locations on their screens.
Pokemon GO, the immensely popular augmented reality game has been breaking the internet for a couple of days now. And while its delayed launch in India has left many disgruntled, there are plenty of reports abroad which point to the inherent pitfalls involved while playing this seemingly innocuous game.
Why catching ‘em all could get you into trouble
A series of rather comical, although potentially dangerous incidents have befallen many Pokemon GO players. There have been instances where players have injured themselves by becoming oblivious to their immediate surroundings while being engrossed on their video screens.
People have reportedly tripped, fallen, banged into trees, twisted their ankles, discovered dead bodies and have even got robbed while playing the game.
For instance, a 21-year-old communications graduate from Long Island, New York fell from his skateboard while looking at his phone. And while his hand now sports a cut from the mishap, Mike Schultz maintains that it was his fault and he was riding a little too slowly so that he could stop instantly in case he saw a Pokemon.
Twenty-two-year-old Kyrie Thompson fell into a hole as she attempted to look up a Pokemon which her phone indicated was nearby. ThisReddit user posted his experience with the augmented-reality game where 30 minutes in, he slipped and fell down into a ditch, fracturing his foot. This Twitter user, who lives in an ‘old church’ found out that his house had been marked as a ‘gym’ in the app where players can train and battle their Pokemon.
And while some argue that Pokemon GO is getting people to exercise by making them venture out and discover their surroundings (and Pokemon), there have been cases where it has landed them in trouble.
In Missouri, a group of 16 to 18-year-olds robbed unsuspecting players by luring them to secluded spots. The sergeant who arrested the robbers explained that they used the geolocation feature in the app to mark themselves at a Pokestop and lured their victims.
There were similar reports for other places –
We had the first report of robbery while playing Pokemon go in Omaha. Please pay attention to your surroundings. Don't become a victim.
— Ofc. Ryan Miller (@OPDOfcMiller) July 11, 2016
Shayla Wiggins, a teen Pokemon GO player from Wyoming, stumbled onto a dead body floating in the water as she scoured the shore for a Pokemon. Disturbed by the sight, she cried for an hour after the incident.
There are also concerns of younger players encountering people or places which could be potentially harmful. Further, the app asks you to give it access to plenty of private information on your iOS/Android device.
People have also been posting pictures of Pokemon at various unfamiliar and dangerous places.
And then of course, there is the fear of a bunch of people just banging into each other, while trying to capture imaginary creatures on their phones.
How the game works
The soaring popularity of Pokemon GO owes itself to the equally popular Japanese cartoon ‘Pokemon’ where ‘trainers’ would go on expeditions to capture and battle imaginary creatures with element-derived powers.
The game allows you to do just that.
Once active, the game will make your phone vibrate if there is a Pokemon at or nearby your current location. The game will then allow you to catch the creature with your Poké ball. There are also provisions for PokéStops at landmarks and monuments, where you can collect Pokéballs and other Pokémon trinkets.
You can also choose to battle or trade your Pokemon with other players around you.
Here’s an explanatory video: