Gotta catch em all! Literally…
If someone asked you if you play Pokemon Go or know what Pokemon is and you said no, well let’s say you may receive some dirty looks. Pokemon Go is a free app available for Android and iPhone which has recently arrived in the UK and other countries after being released first in the USA. Needless to say, people went absolutely bonkers in excitement when they heard about this app. If you don’t know what it is, Pokemon Go is essentially becoming a Pokemon trainer in real life. You have to go out on the streets and catch Pokemon, battle in gyms and everything else of what is required from aspiring Pokemon trainers. It has received many positive reviews as it has led to more socialisation, friend making and bringing communities together.
However, not everything is fun and games (no pun intended) with Pokemon Go as some people have gone to the extremes with this game. The game breeds controversy as you literally have to explore unorthodox places in order to progress i.e. going onto roads or dangerous bridges to catch Pokemon or to battle. Furthermore, there are increasingly growing concerns for Pokemon Go regarding the safety of children especially and has even put people’s lives at risk. With that being said, here are 5 times where people went too far when playing Pokemon Go.
1) Gym battle breaks out on UK Motorway that creates havoc
To start off, this incident is pretty shocking even to a dedicated Pokemon Go player. A man in his forties with three children at the back suddenly stopped his car on the motorway, got out and risked his life to only hold his phone in the air in order to overtake a gym in Pokemon Go. His opponent? A 9 year old… This incident created havoc on the M56 near Manchester airport as many people were left in shock and confusion to why this man would do such a thing. It also infuriated drivers as there was a 5 hour delay on the motorway due to congested traffic caused by the ravishing gym battlers and caused around 45 people to miss their flights. Now this is a case of being zombified by Pokemon Go or just being plain stupid to do such a thing. Nevertheless, at least no-one was harmed in the incident…
2) Man crashes his car into a tree whilst playing Pokemon Go
There is an increasing trend of the term “Don’t Pokemon Go and drive” and rightly so. A man in in Auburn, New York crashed his car into a tree after being distracted whilst playing Pokemon Go and inevitably destroyed his car in the process. This is the definition of taking your love for Pokemon to the edge of insanity. I really hope that people learn from silly and unnecessary incidents like this and that a game is not worth risking your life.
3) Homeowner shoots at teenagers whom were mistaken as burglars
American residents have really taken their addiction for Pokemon Go to extreme levels. Two boys aged 16 and 19 trespassed into private property at 1 a.m. without telling their parents, in attempts to capture rare Pokemon. However, they were met with unwelcome gunfire from a man who thought they were going to steal from his home. Ironically, the man stated that the kids said “did you get anything” (referring to Pokemon rather than items) whilst they were parked in a white car. The man then stood in front of the car ordering the teenagers to not move but as they were so afraid of who it was, the boys drove towards him which then led to the man firing his handgun into the back of the car. Luckily no-one was hurt and the mother of the 19-year old phoned police regarding bullet holes in the car. I would have rather stuck to playing Pokemon on the Nintendo Gameboy rather than chasing virtual Pokemon in an ever-increasing dangerous world.
4) People are robbed at a Pokestop
For those who don’t know, a ‘Pokestop’ is a place where people can gain upgrades or in-game credits/ currency to upgrade your Pokemon and items. One particular location in Missouri U.S.A, became a luring spot for robbers where 11 youngsters were robbed by the squad. However, fortunate for the public, the robbers were apprehended at 2.a.m. on the 11th of July and were charged with first degree robbery as they had been involved in previous robbery attempts. The officers who apprehended the suspects stated that the robbers used the app itself to lure vulnerable people to a secluded location. When someone progresses through the game, they can set local landmarks to meet up if they are apart of a team – the way the robbers lured suspects in. There were no reports of anyone being harmed which is another fortunate case for Pokemon Go players.
5) Pokemon Go addict gets stab and refuses treatment
Now this incident is taking Pokemon Go to whole new levels of insanity. Michael Baker who is only 21 got stabbed at 1.a.m. on July 13th in Forest Grove Oregon, U.S.A. Michael stumbled upon what seemed to be another player and asked them if they played Pokemon Go and challenged them to a battle. Instead of virtually fighting, he tasted the physical side of the risks from Pokemon Go as he was stabbed in his shoulder. What’s even more crazy is the fact that after basically risking his life, he continued to search for more Pokemon and after completing his “mission” he then went to hospital. He quoted: “I basically risked my life” in an interview with FOX 12. Fortunately for him, he was not killed over a free app and even more lucky that he survived the stabbing wound without it worsening to critical levels.
In my personal opinion, it is great that Pokemon Go encourages getting out the house more and is an unique way of making friends, however it can be extremely dangerous and is nowhere near worth risking your life over. The more worrying thing is, is that the younger population are more likely to be exposed to these risks and are likely to do audacious things just for a virtual reality.