In a matter of days, the country has quite clearly become immersed in Pokemon Go, the mobile game based on the wildly popular 1990s title in which users can catch Pokemon by walking around in their everyday lives.
The stories that have emerged range from dangerous to hilarious to downright unbelievable, and they encompass the craze that has taken over. Here are some of the most outrageous stories to emerge since the game’s launch.
This story from Black Bag reckons that Pokemon Go is a giant government conspiracy to make us into an army of narcs. Although it sounds like a crackpot theory, the article actually goes into detail about the shady nature of the terms of service that are described as “Orwellian,” and also connecting the head of Niantic, the company behind PokemonGO, to its creator John Hanke, who previously ran a website called Keyhole that was funded by government information agencies before being bought by Google. Readers are free to draw their own conclusions, but I for one welcome our Pokemon overlords.
Apparently there is something that can drive human innovation that doesn’t involve pornography. Turns out it’s Pokemon. Not only did Pokemon Go apparently surpass Tinder in terms of downloads, but Google trends show search results have eclipsed “porn” as a search term. Perhaps the next technological innovation will be the result of bringing childhood memories to life, rather than killing them.
In more morbid news, a teenage girl in Wyoming actually found a dead body while on a search for rare Pokemon. She was reportedly on the hunt for water types near a natural water source in Riverton, where she found something floating in the water which turned out to be a human body. According to the police, the body was dumped less than 24 hours to the discovery, so if you’re planning to dump a body, wait until this global scavenger hunt craze goes down.
If you play Pokemon Go, you’ll be very aware that “lures” can be put down on designated “PokeStops” in order to attract Pokemon to a certain location. Although this is usually used among friends on the hunt for Pokemon, a group of criminals used lures to rob unsuspecting Pokemon trainers. One man wandered into a popular checkpoint on a Saturday night when the suspects drove up behind him and promptly robbed him at gunpoint. The four suspects are currently under arrest, and despite his scary experience, the victim said he won’t abandon his new hobby. Bless his soul.
The PokeStops that are spread all over the globe are designated spots to spawn items and Pokemon. Unfortunately, the actual locations themselves have no say in the designation. Such was the fate of Australia’s Darwin Police Station, which had a large number of young people randomly walk in, in search of the PokeStop. The law enforcement of Australia also urged players to actually watch where they were going, lest they fall victim to a car accident.
Even homeowners aren’t free from Pokemon-hungry trainers, as Boon Sheridan, a man from Massachusetts who lives in an old church, had his residence as a gym. Sheridan chronicled his encounters with random strangers, and met the man who “owns” his gym. For now he’ll have to live with strangers driving up and down for the sake of digital monsters.
What happens when the Westboro Baptist Church turns into a Pokemon gym? You own it with the fairy type Pokemon Clefairy, named “loveislove,” and taunt them. Well, the Westboro Baptist Church looks at your Clefairy, and raises you….a Jigglypuff! That’s right, the church chose a Jigglypuff to reclaim the gym with its name attached to it and used its twitter accountto make it official. The irony of the church using a Jigglypuff is probably lost on them.
In more serious news, Omari Akil wrote about his experience of playing PokemonGO as a black man after the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, despite his love for Pokemon. Akil writes in detail about his journey to catch a Jigglypuff while walking in circles, and how he came face-to-face with the realization that he might be reported to law enforcement as a threat. He wrote that if he was to play the game as intended, it would be a “death sentence,” and lamented that he couldn’t enjoy the app as much as others might be able to.
More news from Australia that has to do with Pokemon, as Perth was flooded by over a 1,000 people who got together and walked around in circles in search of Pokemon. Hundreds of young people were forced to be out in the sun and socialize for the most noble of endeavors, and may Arceus bless them all with rare encounters.
In cheater news, an article from The Verge writes how the game is simply perfect, all but for one major flaw. You kinda have to walk. Well fear not, for Reddit user hyperion993 found a way to catch Pokemon without having to move at all: attach the phone to a drone and control the app with a computer. By cleverly using the app’s reliance on GPS positioning and walking speed, the drone moves slowly enough to register as actual movement while the owner simply reaps in the benefits. Some may call him a cheater, but some call him a visionary.
Small businesses are apparently suffering from random young people walking in and around their places of business in search for Pokemon. In response, Palmer’s Fresh Grill in Lexington, Ky. has gone as far as to put a “No Pokemon Go players” sign on their door, hoping it would repel some hopeful trainers. Although it’s easy to call the grill a spoilsport, when someone tries to go into the kitchen or wander around eating customers, they might start to have a point.
Criminals don’t always have to buy lures. In fact, they don’t have to download the app at all, as a fake version of Pokemon Go popped up in the Android Market place that takes over the phone as soon as it is downloaded. The game has yet to be available outside the US, Australia, and New Zealand, so the hackers have been preying on those poor souls unable to join in the Pokemon craze, and researchers at Proofpoint warned users to watch what they’re putting into their phones, lest it be taken over.
Meanwhile, the lack of availability has literally gotten a man fired in Singapore. Native Australian Sonny Truyen raged on his Facebook that “you can’t f*cking catch Pokemon in this piece of f*cking sh*t country,” unlike his own, which attracted the ire of another Singaporean Facebook user and resulted in verbal fisticuffs. He was so offensive, other locals found his place of work and took it to the company’s Facebook feed. In an attempt to save face, the firm’s CEO apologized and fired Truyen, proving once again that Pokemon makes people do crazy things.
Back stateside, and this time the city of Duvall is having its own trainer problem, as it finds people trespassing into the local police department’s parking lot, which is said to be a “safety concern,” according to the Duvall’s Police’s official Facebook page. In nearby Edmonds, they had to put a barricade to the entrance of the fishing pier to dissuade people from entering, but such weak attempts only make the rare Pokemon in the area all the more enticing.
Finally, a man who caught a Pidgey while his wife was giving birth. Really dude? A pidgey? You couldn’t say it was a Lapras?
Have you seen any other crazy Pokemon Go stories? Feel free to leave a comment or let us know on Twitter.