...with Pokémon GO!
Pokémon Go, the new mobile game that scatters everyone's favorite digital critters across real locations using augmented reality, climbed to the top of the App Store charts after only five days of release.
As of July 11th, Apple Store users rated the game over 43,000 times. It even surpassed Tinder in Android app popularity. Somehow, the most bizarre side effect of the mobile phenomenon's success isn't the game's early-day glitches or Reddit-friendly memes, but the real-world experiences emerging from outdoor play.Pokémon Go thrusted players into the great unknown. The last 48 hours make us wonder if they were ready or not. Here, we round up the scariest and strangest turns of events:
- Robbers used the game to lure victims...
Missouri police apprehended four suspects who allegedly used Pokémon Go's geolocation feature to shepherd players to remote locations, where they'd grab their valuables instead of Squirtles -- a felony charge of first-degree robbery. "The robbers were able to anticipate the location and level of seclusion of unwitting victims," Sgt. Bill Stringer of O'Fallon, Missouri, said. He cautioned further: "If you use this app (or other similar-type apps) or have children that do we ask you to please use caution when alerting strangers of your future location."
- One player stumbled upon a dead body
Poké-hunting led 19-year-old Shayla Wiggins to Big Wind River in Wyoming, where she spotted something far more shocking than a Jigglypuff: a corpse. According to the Fremont Sheriff's Office, "the death appears to be accidental in nature."
- A woman gave birth to a Pidgey
Well, the critter crashed her delivery room, at least. "As soon as it popped up, I was like, oh my gosh, there's a Pidgey sitting on your bed!" the woman's husband said, interrupting her labor. Pidgey's not even worth that much, man.
- Unsuspecting homes became in-game hotspots
The majority of Pokémon Go's "gyms" were assigned in public places based on existing map data. But because Massachusetts resident Boon Sheridan's home was an active church over 40 years ago, it wound up as one of the game's hangouts, drawing players to his now-private property. Sheridan's understandably ticked off about the disturbance, and concerned it might even lead his property's value to decline.
Other high-profile gym locations? The Pentagon, the White House, and the Westboro Baptist Church's compound in Topeka, Kansas. In defiance of the latter group's frequent homophobic hate speech, Pokémon players are proudly posting messages like "LoveIsLove."
- Cops thought a player meet-up was a drug deal
"Yeah, so it turns out two twenty-something black dudes and a 40-year-old white guy chilling in the park at 3:00 am looks strange, "one Reddit user discovered after finding an Onyx near his home -- as well as some other eager fans. "It took a bit of talking to convince the cop we weren't doing a drug deal, and a bit longer to explain the game. Then the cop downloaded the fucking game on his phone and asked us how to get started."
- A man used a drone to expedite his hunt
One Tumblr user rigged up a drone to hunt down far-flung Pokémon for him by duct-taping his smartphone to the device. Lucky for players with a little more integrity, the drone is not very good at it.
- People are actually walking
For those who haven't rigged up drones, Pokémon Go is forcing them to hunt down Pikachu the old-fashioned way. One Daily Dot writer logged 8,000 steps on one day's journey; an overweight fan named Doug Byrd claimed to walk up to six miles in a single day of gameplay. Who says video gamers are lazy?
- At least it hasn't caused any car accidents... yet