Pokémon Go is an augmented reality game that sends players into the real world, sometimes to remote locations, to collect a variety of creatures placed there. To play, you dive into the app and trek to prominent local landmarks—represented in the game as “PokéStops”—where you can gather supplies such as "Pokeballs." (You fling those at online “pocket monsters,” or Pokémon, to capture them for training.)
Players also use their phone cameras to see where creatures placed on their screen are as if they were roaming the real world. After finding the creatures, players can improve them and use them to do battle.
1The teen who discovered a dead body while playing Pokémon Go
A 19-year-old Wyoming girl, Shayla Wiggens said she "got up and went for my little walk, to catch Pokémon Go." However, the game led her to a shocking surprise—a dead body in a river.
The pursuit of Pikachu and friends led her to a highway bridge over the Wind River near the city of Riverton, where she jumped a fence to approach the water. She spotted two deer near the water's edge, and then a corpse lying prone in the water, wearing a black shirt and pants.
The Fremont County sheriff's office said that it was investigating the death, and believe the man simply drowned. Wiggins remains unswayed and will continue to play the game. “I might go get a water Pokémon, she said. “I'm going to try.”
2The man who was caught cheating while playing Pokémon Go
New Yorker Evan Scribner claims he's now single after his girlfriend discovered he was cheating on her, thanks to Pokémon Go.
After canoodling with an ex in Bushwick, Scribner said he opened up the game and caught a bat character. His current flame happened to look at his game activity and saw that he had caught a Pokémon while at his ex's house.
When he didn't have a good excuse as to why he was wandering around his ex's neighborhood, his current girlfriend ghosted him. “She found out and hasn't contacted me since then,” Scribner said.
3Pokémon Go helps gamers overcome anxiety and depression
Some Pokémon Go players have said the game has unexpectedly helped them with their mental health.
Ari, a teen from Orlando, Florida, is one of them. She has anxiety and depression and for the past three years has avoided leaving the house unless necessary. But she's venturing out with the release of Pokémon Go. “As soon as I got Pokémon Go, I was able to leave the house. I walked outside for hours and suddenly found myself enjoying it. I had the instant rush of dopamine whenever I caught a Pokémon, and I wanted to keep going. Then today and yesterday I purposely put myself in social situations, going to the mall, just to play. I think it's because it gives an instant reward. It's not like going out, having an awful experience, and getting praise after. It's going out and getting that immediate positive affirmation that makes it a good experience. I guess most people get that with being social or doing other activities.”
Psychologist John M. Grohol thinks that the benefit comes from encouraging people to get moving around—something that studies have shown is beneficial for mental health. Some of the most interesting Pokémon are found near trees or water which also could be helping. Just 30 minutes of exposure to nature each week can benefit people's mental health.
4The people who are being injured while playing Pokémon Go
In just a week, Pokémon Go shot to the top of Apple's free apps chart and has ben downloaded at least 100,000 times on Google's Play store. While hugely popular, the game is also leading to an unexpected side effect—injuries.
‘‘Pokémon Go put me in the ER last night,'' read one post on the Pokémon Go subreddit. ‘‘Not even 30 minutes after the release last night, I slipped and fell down a ditch,'' said the Reddit user. ‘‘Fractured the fifth metatarsal bone in my foot, 6-8 weeks for recovery. I told all the doctors I was walking my dog lol... Watch where you're going, folks!'' Others posted that they, too, had near misses or minor scrapes from chasing Pokémon a little too enthusiastically. And it should go without saying, but we'll say it anyway—DON'T play and drive!
5The robbers who targeted Pokémon Go players
Teens in O'Fallon, MO apparently staked out specific spots they knew would draw players of the popular Pokémon Go game and robbed them.
Authorities charged Shane Michael Baker, 18, Brett W. Miller, 17, and James D. Warner, 18, with first-degree robbery and armed criminal action. All three were being held with bail set at $100,000 (cash-only).
Police initially thought the robbers were trying to lure people to the robbery locations through the game, but now believe they used their knowledge of it to ambush victims at spots they knew would draw players, and picked relatively secluded spots for the crimes.
6The gamer who attempted to cheat at Pokémon Go with a drone
Hate walking a considerable distance to find a Pokémon character? You may want to take a tip from one Tumblr user who tried to use a drone to cheat. "Perchbird" posted a photo that showed his phone running the app while mounted on a drone. The caption just says, “I'm a cheater.”
That you are, Perchbird, but you didn't get very far, did you? With only a non-WiFi connection, it would have been too choppy to throw a Pokeball, so Liam (Perchbird's real-life moniker) was restricted to the broadcast area of his WiFi and could only move the drone in a 50-foot radius around the router. There were no Pokémon in the area.
Under certain conditions, one could theoretically send their drone/phone combination off to catch ‘em all. You'll just need a stronger signal and a drone that doesn't fall out of GPS mode when duct taped to a smartphone.
7The Holocaust Museum asks gamers to put their phones away
If you're visiting the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, you may want to stop chasing Pokémon.
Yes, it's come to this—the museum had to issue a statement regarding gameplay on the premises. “We feel playing ‘Pokémon Go' in a memorial dedicated to the victims of Nazism is inappropriate,” Andrew Hollinger, the Washington, D.C., museum's communications director, said. “We encourage visitors to use their phones to share and engage with museum content while here,” he continued. “Technology can be an important learning tool, but this game falls outside of our educational and memorial mission. We are looking into how the museum can be removed from it.”
Chris Desciora, a security guard at the memorial, said, “I don't think there's anything wrong with the game itself, but maybe the game's services could consider where they are placing the Pokémon or whatever. You should come here to see everything and to respect the memorial, not just to catch a Pokémon.”
8Pokémon Go is sending players to questionable locations
Pokémon Go is sending people to some really strange places. The game sometimes involves walking to “gyms” and “PokéStops," which are where Pokémon battle each other and where items are collected, respectively.
Gyms and PokéStops are supposed to be linked to local landmarks. However, game creator Niantic imported these “landmarks” from an earlier game, Ingress, where those locations were created and tagged by players. Some spots were seemingly never reviewed before becoming an integral element of a game for children. Many of these sites are irrelevant, bizarre, or borderline offensive. Players are beginning to catalog them on Tumblr, Twitter, and Reddit's r/TheSilphRoad—some locations include strip clubs, sex shops, a Church of Scientology building, and the 9/11 Memorial Pool. Catch 'em all!