Pokémon Go is a lot of fun. At long last, gamers are presented with an inviting reason to explore the terrifying, nigh-mythical world outside, and they're doing it in droves. But as much as we'd like our generation to be the one that redefines gamers as something other than cloistered troglodytes who shun the light of day and the horrors of being around nature and the outdoors, we've...kinda got a long way to go, guys. Here are some examples of why gamers and the outdoors don't yet quite mesh well yet. If nothing else, we hope this list might improve your survival chances in the wild, vast real world that forms the backdrop for Pokémon Go. Without further ado, here're 3 more places where you probably shouldn't Pokémon Go.
1. Empty Parking Lots, Deserted Alleys, Suspicious-Looking Houses, and Other Places Where You're Probably Going to Get Mugged
Barely over a week since Pokémon Go's hugely successful launch, a group of armed robbers decided to cash in on the game's overwhelming popularity. In Pokémon Go, players can purchase and deploy (in this case, ominously-named) "lure beacons" in real-world locations in hopes of attracting wild Pokémon. More powerful lure beacons can attract rarer and more desirable Pokémon. As it turns out, lure beacons attract more than just Eevees and Flareons – it's also great bait for Pokémon trainers as well.
By getting the word out about the location of their lure beacons, the robbers were able to lure their victims to key places where they were lying in wait. The robbers were so efficient and so successful at their schemes that police believe they were responsible for a string of armed robberies that took place in the St. Louis and neighboring St. Charles County areas. Police have reported that they have since tracked down and arrested all four suspects of the armed robberies. (You could say they just had to "catch 'em all." *weak sitcom laugh track*) While details about the specific locations where the crimes took place, at least one police officer involved in the case have issued a warning to players of Pokémon Go to stay away from empty parking lots or other places where they feel like their personal safety might be endangered. The officer adds that parents should be especially vigilant and aware of their children's whereabouts, as Pokémon Go can alert strangers to your child's future location.
2. Cliffs and Other Places That Are Hazardous to Your Safety
You might assume that this is a no-brainer. But in Encinitas, California, two men defied this very assumption. Definitely one of the strangest things to happen to someone while playing this addicting game. Apparently, they were so engrossed in their hunt for Pokémon that they walked past a No Trespassing sign, and then a Do Not Cross sign near the edge of a cliff. One man fell the full 90 feet to the bottom of the cliff, while the other managed to grab something and stopped his fall about three-quarters of the way down. Firefighters had to recover the men, who were then brought to the hospital. Both are recovering and are lucky they won't be facing trespassing charges...or worse.
Don't let Darwin win, guys.
3. Other People's Homes, Private Properties, and Other Places Where You Might Get Shot at for Trespassing
Over the weekend of July 16-17, two teenage Pokémon Go players, at 19 and 16 years old, were lucky to walk away with their lives. According to the Orlando Sentinel, it was 1:30 am in the Palm Coast area, and the teens were driving around in search of new Pokémon to collect. At some point, the teens managed to wake up a man living in a home they were parked outside. The man reportedly heard one teen outside his house say to the other, "Did you get anything?" and came to the perfectly understandable conclusion that the teens were robbers who'd managed to break into his or one of his neighbors' homes. The man went outside, raised his handgun, stood in front of the teens' car and told the teens to stay where they were. Only, the teens didn't, and instead in a brilliant act of young adult decision-making, floored the vehicle. The man was forced to move out of the way of the speeding car, believing it was attempting to strike him, and opened fire. Authorities spent the rest of the night combing the area but found no trace of the "thieves."
Meanwhile, early the next morning, the mom of one of the teens found that their car had a flat rear tire and that the hubcap and rear fender were riddled with bullet holes. She confronted the teens, who told her that they were sitting in the car hunting Pokémon (a Marowak and Tauros) when they heard gunfire and sped away. The teens claim that they didn't see anything and decided not to report it because they thought "it was someone trying to scare them." The mom called authorities right away, and an official investigation is still underway.
Another less-potentially-deadly, but still disruptive incident involves a man who noticed that large groups of teens and young people have been gathering outside his home, loitering and wandering about with their smartphones out. The man was understandably distressed, thinking that the strangers were behaving suspiciously, perhaps even taking photos of his private property, but couldn't figure out why. The man eventually went online and discovered that the strangers were Pokémon Go players. But why were they swarming his house?
In Pokémon Go, players are often inclined to visit places called Pokéstops, where they can buy items to help with catching and evolving their Pokémon. Pokéstops are designated with real-world GPS coordinates, and so players must physically travel to the corresponding real-world location to access a particular Poké Stop. The game, however, only places Pokéstops in areas that are accessible to the public, like community centers, parks, and shopping centers. So why were eager Pokémon Go players congregating on the front lawn of this man's private property? As it turns out, the man's home had once been a church; the renovation had been recent, too recent for the version of Google Maps used by the game engine that powers Pokémon Go, which still registers the man's home as a publicly-accessible site. Whoops. The man has since made a plea to social media for people not to enter his property in search of Pokémon.