People are losing their minds over ‘Pokemon Go’…and their wallets.
Let me be upfront about something: This is not a fun, feel good Pokemon story.
On a personal note, I am not, nor have I ever been, a fan of Pokemon. I'm sure just reading that first sentence may cause an uproar, not only because of the statement itself, but due to the fact that I'm not using an accent over the 'e' in Pokemon.
Personally, I've just always found more useful things to do with my time. Like when it originally came out, I would be practicing sports. Today, my excuse would be, "I have laundry to do." You can see where my priorities reside these days. I think the main reason why I never caught on to Pokemon was because of my rebellion towards the severity of its popularity. Long story short, people were hooked and I think I just kind of refused to join that crowd.
Regardless, the app that's sweeping the nation, 'Pokemon Go', was released last Wednesday for Android and iOS and people are losing their minds over it. So much so, that I'm sure we're not too far from seeing a new South Park episode based on it when the new season arrives on Comedy Central in September.
For those of you that haven't caught on to the concept of Pokemon Go as of yet, the app uses your phone's GPS and clock to detect where and when you are in the game and make Pokemon appear around you (on your phone screen) so that you can go catch them. As you move, more types of Pokemon will appear based on where you are and what time it is. The idea encourages you to travel around reality to catch the Pokemon in real time within the game.
Pokemon Go fever has caught several people already. Now people are hunting down Pokemon at the office, in hospitals, even in the bathroom. There's also been a report of a Wyoming teenager discovering a dead body while looking for Pokemon with the app. And most recently, armed robbers used Pokemon Go to lure players/victims into a trap.
You read that right, Pokemon Go was used for armed robbery. In O'Fallon, Missouri (a suburb of St. Louis, MO), four suspects were charged with first degree robbery, a felony for luring victims to a specific location by using the app. According to the arresting officer, Sgt. Stringer, “Using the geolocation feature,the robbers were able to anticipate the location and level of seclusion of unwitting victims.”
While the app does warn players to keep aware of their surroundings during their virtual treasure hunt. Since the release of the app, a state agency and Australian police have warned people not to break the law or endanger themselves while "Pokemoning." That's a thing now apparently.
Aside from the idea of chasing around a figment of my imagination, I have nothing against the new app when it's used for its pure recreational use. However, when robberies, dead bodies, and accounts of people ending up in hospitals start showing up after not even a week after the release of the app, it raises a few concerns. At the beginning of the movie "Batman Begins," Henri Ducard, played by Liam Neeson, instructs Bruce Wayne to "always mind your surroundings." This is good advice. Be careful out there, everyone!!!
(Disclaimer/Spoiler Alert***: Henri Ducard was later revealed to be Raz Al Ghul and ends up being the main villain in Batman Begins. This may deter someone from taking such advice. However, Bruce Wayne as Batman later uses this advice to defeat Raz Al Ghul thanks to the training received while with the 'League Of Shadows' and uses Henri/Raz's advice against him as the key line before leaving him on a train to crash into Wayne Enterprises. Therefore, please "always mind your surroundings.")