Everybody, and we do mean everybody, has been hit by the Pokemon GO fever, but sometimes trends can bring out the worst in us.
Pokemon GO lets players traverse the landscape in an ARG simulation, where users scour real landmarks for different creatures and gyms to capture. Already there have been hundreds of players filling out streets in search of rare Pokemon, but be warned, many are growing increasingly negligent or outright dangerous in their usage of the cutesy little app that could.
The US Holocaust Memorial Museum recently reported that people were roaming the halls of a site meant to memorialize the tragic deaths untold numbers of innocents…looking for Pokemon to catch. Not only this, but similar sites such as the Arlington Cemetery, the Vietnam Veterans Plaza and even Auschwitz have had similar problems. The depths people go for virtual animals amazes us.
— The Levine Machine (@Eitanthegoalie) July 11, 2016
And as if a blatant disrespect for the dead wasn’t enough, some users have worked out a particularly unpleasant use for the app. That would be marking out high traffic zones for a bit of the old armed robbery. Pokemon GO‘s geolocational data often picks out isolated areas for rare creatures to catch, which can provide a direct marker for unwitting smart phone users to become targets. In Missouri on 11 July, four suspects were arrested after reports of their activities, which involved robbing app users at gunpoint by following Pokemon Go hotspots. In one statement, the Missouri police department noted:
“you can add a beacon to a pokestop to lure more players. Apparently they were using the app to locate [people] standing around in the middle of a parking lot or whatever other location they were in.”
Similar events were reported in Manchester, where three students were robbed during a late night romp around a secluded park. We’re sure it seemed like a flawless plan at the time.
In other news, 19-year-old Shayla Wiggens discovered a human corpse in a river where she was hoping to catch one of the many creatures on offer. The app lead her to jump over a fence and enter a dangerous area, likely related to the death, which is currently being deemed as an accident.
Look, we get it, Pokemon GO is fun. But it’s no excuse for endangering yourself or acting like a complete dick. It may sound obvious (despite evidence to the contrary) but with any location based ARG game, you should always be prepared to think things through before making a potentially awful decision.
After all, there is nothing more embarrassing than being killed while chasing a virtual animal.