The Joys and Terror of Pokémon Go
It’s been about two weeks since I downloaded Pokémon Go onto my phone and took to wandering around my neighborhood in search of these digital creatures. Since downloading the free app, friends and I have compared each other’s Pokédex in hopes of outdoing each other. Coworkers and I have gone hunting in our spare time to random locations and enjoyed the thrills at becoming an actual trainer. Of course, you can’t enjoy the good without the bad; servers crash periodically whilst the game crashes on attempts to catch Pokémon. Controversy stirred when PokéStops were listed at unusual places, such as cemeteries, busy streets, memorials, etc. To be fair, it’s tempting to visit a local cemetery to see if any ghost Pokémon pop up.
Controversy aside, the game itself brings about wonderful memories of having played the games in the past. From Pokémon Red, Green, Blue and Yellow crossed international waters, the twenty year old franchise has only evolved (no pun intended) into a culture phenomenon. Friends across the world have sent me photos of themselves out and about, hunting down rare Pokémon and having a good time with their own friends. Somehow, it makes the game more exhilarating knowing your friends are enjoying the same thing as you while also serving as the competition. Choosing between three teams can lead to playful banter (author’s note: I will wreck Team Instinct on site).
As fun as this game can be, external factors play a part in making it a dangerous one. Users worldwide have come across dead bodies, with one Twitch streamer witnessing a murder. Dead bodies are the least of some concerns; several users have been robbed at PokéStops by criminals using in-game items to lure Pokémon and players to their location. If traveling to PokéStops or Gyms, bring someone with you. There is safety in numbers. Also, be aware of your environment. Trespassing onto someone’s property is illegal, it doesn’t matter how rare that Pokémon is. Being arrested is only one part, one teenager was recently killed and has been identified as potentially the first victim. Seriously, be careful and be aware.
Our friends over at YouGov compiled a list of why users are playing this mobile game, and what they’ve done while playing it. Some users have bumped into others and inanimate objects while chasing down the elusive creatures or neglected to work (guilty!). I can’t fault them; video games can be quite engaging and failure to notice your environment may happen once or twice. Though you may make a friend or two and reminisce about when the games first made a giant splash and had everyone crazy for the original three starters and the iconic Pikachu.
Read more of YouGov’s research here!
Pokémon Go is available now on iOS and Android.