Pokémon Go was released last week, and it seems to have taken over the world. And not just the world, but people’s houses, bathrooms, and even the Westboro Baptist Church. Pokeman Go is an augmented reality app, in which Pokémons are inserted (or superimposed) into real world context on your phone, using both the GPS and the clock. But already bad guys are using it to rob people, and one poor woman unwittingly found a dead body along with her Pokémons.
The point of Pokémon Go, at it’s base, is to collect Pokémon, which you do by finding them… in the real world. You capture them by throwing a Pokéball at them. (You can also turn off the augmented reality, and have a computer generated background.) Of course there’s more to it, and in-app purchases, but this is the basic description and, of course, why it’s taking the world by storm. Because… Pokémon… in the real world.
And, all sorts of locations may yield Pokémons. Typically these are public locations, including churches.
This has led to all sorts of interesting situations. For example, Boone Sheridan and his family live in an old converted church in Massachusetts. Did you catch that? They live in what may at one time have been a public building (a church), but is now their home.
Sheridan discovered that his house (church) had been tagged as a Pokémon gym. (Once you reach a certain level, you have to find a Pokémon gym and take your Pokémons there to train them.)
And, someone with a sense of humour made the Westboro Baptist Church into a Pokémon gym.
Says ‘Max Im A Koopa‘, who describes himself as a “gay as hell dumpster racoon” on his Twitter feed, “an unstoppable clefairy named Loveislove has apparently seized control of the Westboro Baptist Church #PokemonGO gym.”
And, apparently, Pokémon Go characters also need to use the toilet.
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But already, Pokémon Go has led to some dark places. Some by design, some quite by accident.
Shayla Wiggins, for example, found a dead body while looking for a water Pokémon while playing Pokémon Go.
As Wiggins told CNN, “I was trying to get a water Pokemon,” adding that “I guess I was only paying attention to my phone and where I was walking.”
She didn’t notice the corpse, laying face down in the water, until she was just six feet from it.
But by far the most sinister situation resulting from playing Pokémon Go, at least to date, is the armed robbers using the game to lure unsuspecting victims to a secluded location, in order to rob them.
According to the O’Fallon Missouri Police Department, they have arrested four suspects who were using Pokémon Go to facilitate their armed robberies. O’Fallon PD, in a Facebook post, explained that by “[u]sing the geolocation feature of the ‘Pokemon Go’ app the robbers were able to anticipate the location and level of seclusion of unwitting victims. The way we believe it was used is you can add a beacon to a pokestop to lure more players. Apparently they were using the app to locate ppl standing around in the middle of a parking lot or whatever other location they were in.”
O’Fallon PD took Shane Michael Baker, Brett William Miller, Jamine James D. Warner, and a fourth juvenile suspect into custody.
This occurred yesterday (July 10th, 2016), and remember that Pokémon Go was just released four days earlier (July 6th, 2016).
Says Pokémon Company International and app maker Niantic in a statement, “We encourage all people playing Pokémon GO to be aware of their surroundings and to play with friends when going to new or unfamiliar places. Please remember to be safe and alert at all times.”
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