Pokemon Go: Make sure you stop before you GO.

Stock image Fabian Rouire via Flickr
Stock image Fabian Rouire via Flickr

It is now official, Pokemon Go is today available here in the UK.
The UK is now the fifth place worldwide where this augmented reality game is officially available, with the US, Australia, New Zealand, and claiming first place in Europe, Germany, beating us to it. But just how much is it going to cost all those Pokemon trainers, after all it is estimated to be making £1.2 million a day in the US alone helping to push Nintendo’s share price up by nearly 50 per cent in the last week. Pokemon GO is so popular it has more users than Tinder, obviously love is harder to find than Pokemon, and searches for Pokemon Go have even outstripped those for Porn on Google. Talking of porn, adult site Pornhub have reported a massive jump in searches for Pokemon porn since the games release, the mind boggles.
A game like this which encourages the players to walk about outside has had consequences besides increasing the amount of exercise game players are getting. In the US one of the real world location used to replenish in-game supplies was staked out by four armed robbers, who preceded to rob eleven teenagers at gunpoint before they were caught. Two separate players have stumbled across dead bodies whilst hunting the digital creatures. Police forces have had to issue warnings to players to look up from their phones before crossing the road, and elsewhere drivers have been warned not to Go and Drive. Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia has had to ask visitors not to play the game within the grounds of the cemetery, as it is not appropriate decorum, similarly visitors to the Ground Zero 911 memorial have been asked to refrain from playing. Also the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC has had problems with Pokemon players. People have been seen playing at funerals and some businesses have been swamped with people hunting down the elusive creatures including here in the UK a sex shop. A man in Massachusetts living in an old church has had a steady stream of players turn up since the game was launched, the augmented reality game chose his house to be a Pokemon gym, that is an arena for trainers’ can battle each others Pokemon. A gym has even been spotted at the White House. How long before a newspaper prints a photo of a bored MP trying to catch one in the House of Commons?
In Forest Grove Oregon 21 year old Michael Baker was out catching Pokemon when he met what he thought was another player, he asked him if he was playing Pokemon GO and did he want to battle, which resulted in Michael getting stabbed in the shoulder, but did he head to the hospital? Nope he carried on catching the digital creatures basically risking his life for the game. Later on he did receive medical treatment, eight stitches in his shoulder. As mentioned earlier numerous children have had near misses crossing roads whilst playing which has led to police issuing warnings about looking where you are going. More seriously elsewhere in the US a 28 year old was attempting to catch a Pokemon whilst driving his car, he swerved off the road and smashed into a tree. Luckily he was not seriously injured. Here in the UK Police have issued guidelines to players, these include:

Don’t be tempted to take your phone out in busy or unlit areas where thieves could target you.

Concentrate on the road when walking and crossing.

Never play while driving

Don’t trespass to catch Pokemon.

This augmented reality game is a wonderful way for kids to get out and about exploring their locality, and with the up coming school summer holiday I’m sure it will be very popular. Just make sure your kids play safe, that they watch what they are doing, and they stay out of places they shouldn’t be. Hopefully we will make it through the summer without the press attacking the game after a child has an unfortunate accident. As for the older players remember when in your car, make sure you stop before you GO.

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