The biggest mobile game in U.S. history, Pokémon Go, features an “augmented reality” experience in which players are able to find and catch Pokémon characters in the real world. But some users are going above and beyond to catch these “pocket monsters,” and in doing so are risking their own physical safety in the process.
The game uses a smartphone’s GPS location and real-world maps to track players as they move around. Players can visit Pokéstops – typically landmarks or buildings – and collect free items in the game.
The main aim is to catch Pokémon, which pop up along the way. The game provides an augmented reality experience, using the smartphone’s camera to provide a live view of the world, with Pokémon superimposed.
Here’s a list of etiquette and safety tips users should keep in mind while on their quest:
• Be alert at all times
• Stay aware of your surroundings
• Play in pairs or as a group in well-lit areas to ensure your safety
• Do not drive or ride your bike, skateboard, or other device while interacting with the app – “you can’t do both safely”
• Do not trespass onto private property or go to areas you usually would not if you weren’t playing Pokémon Go
• Be cautious of being lured into a bad situation
And the warnings seem absolutely necessary:
• A player in Texas exited a moving vehicle Monday to catch a nearby Pokémon, according to the Texas A&M University police department.
• A 15-year-old Autumn Diesroth of Tarentum, Pennsylvania, was struck by a car after the game “took her across a major highway at 5 o’clock in the evening,” according to WPXI in Pittsburgh.
• Most recently, two men were injured while playing when they fell off a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The men broke through a fence to catch a Pokemon, despite posted signs warning people that the bluffs they were climbing onto were unstable. One man fell 80 to 90 feet down, while the other dropped out 50 feet. Luckily neither man was hurt.
Otherwise, happy questing!