Pokemon Go has taken the world by storm in the past week. It has become one of the most popular apps for smartphones and has grown incredibly quickly to become one of the most successful games ever created in app form. Pokemon Go is based on the highly popular Japanese franchise that first debuted in 1995 in the form of Pokemon Red & Blue. It has since spawned a trading card game, a television series, multiple video games, and 19 feature films. So, this might go some way in explaining why the new app has become such a hit in a short space of time.
In Pokemon Go, players have to catch a variety of creatures that are located throughout the real world. Using GPS technology and map data, developer Niantic has created an experience where users can walk around their local area in search of Pokemon to catch. They can then train them and battle them against other monsters. A combination of the fun aspects of the game and the nostalgia generated by a series that was such a big part of many people’s childhoods has helped to launch Pokemon Go to the top of app charts on both iOS and Android.
However, the sheer amount of people playing the title and its focus on exploration means that there are some rather bizarre consequences that no one could have predicted.
15. The Game Is Helping Local Businesses And Parks
While rumors have been spreading that Nintendo and Niantic have agreed on sponsorship deals with the likes of McDonalds for Pokemon Go, it turns out that the game is also helping local businesses entirely by accident. Because the game uses real-world locations as ‘Pokestops’ and gyms, shops and restaurants are seeing a huge number of new patrons as people turn up to play the game. Businesses that never get many young people as customers are suddenly seeing a surge in the number as players decide to grab some food or shopping while they are catching Pokemon.
It isn’t just local businesses that are seeing an upturn in visitors, either. National parks and museums have also noticed an increased number of people visiting as they hunt for elusive Pokemon. The organizations have noticed that many of those arriving have never been to the parks or museums before and often stay to have a look around when they have finished playing.
14. It Is Giving People The Chance To Earn Extra Cash
Like any other craze, Pokemon Go has given enterprising people the chance to earn extra money by offering some unique services. Perhaps the most inventive offer is from a man in Baltimore who has taken to the internet to advertise his chauffeur offer. For a fee, this man will drive trainers around the city at a slow pace so that they can hatch eggs and catch Pokemon at a quicker rate than normal.
There are other services on offer at places such as Craigslist and Bidvine, where people will effectively play the game for you for as much as $10/hour. These do entail some risk of course, as you are handing over your personal details and account over to complete strangers, yet some individuals are willing to take the risk in order to level up that much faster. Another person is willing to chaperone new trainers to teach them the basics and instruct them how to catch Pokemon effectively.
13. Robbers Used The Game To Lure Victims
Unfortunately, there is a nastier side to Pokemon Go that has been exploited by criminals looking to pull off an easy robbery. Four men in Missouri used the ability to interact with other players in the game to get them to go to secluded areas where they could then rob them at gunpoint, taking the expensive smartphones they were using to play app. Fortunately, police later arrested all four and charged them with first-degree robbery.
“Using the geolocation feature”, Sgt Bill Stringer said: “the robbers were able to anticipate the location and level of seclusion of unwitting victims. You can add a beacon to a Pokestop to lure more players. Apparently they were using the app to locate [people] standing around in the middle of a parking lot or whatever other location they were in.”
12. But It Also Helped Catch A Dangerous Suspect
The good thing is that Pokemon Go is not just an unwilling aid to criminals, but that it is also helping to catch people who are wanted by police. This is exactly what happened in Fullerton, California, over the weekend.
While out exploring their local area to catch new Pokemon, Marine Corps veterans Javier Soch and Seth Ortega, helped police catch a man who was wanted for a series of crimes, including attempted murder. They had come to a local park, as it was a popular location to find the virtual creatures, when they saw a man confronting some children and their mothers. When the situation eventually escalated, they intervened to prevent any violence and called 9-1-1.
11. It Is Forcing Americans To Learn The Metric System
Almost every app and game in the world is adapted for the market that it is releasing in. This means that a title will have references removed that don’t make sense in a particular country, have words changed to more relevant ones, and for measurements to be converted to the standard for the country. At the very least, most usually give players the option of switching between metric and imperial.
That isn’t the case for Pokemon Go, though. The game only lists its measurements in the metric system, with all distances listed in kilometers. This is effectively forcing Americans who are not used to working in these figures to learn the new system and understand how to convert the distances into miles. Google has already revealed that searches for converting kilometers to miles have jumped significantly since the game’s release.
10. Nintendo’s Share Price Has Risen By 50%
Nintendo is a huge company that has released a string of hugely popular games. These include the likes of Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong, and Metroid Prime, yet one of their most iconic is the Pokemon franchise that has been a dominant force in children’s entertainment for 20 years.
However, no one could have predicted the huge success the game would be. Within hours of its release it had already been installed on 5% of Android devices in the United States, beating incredibly popular apps such as Tinder and approaching social media giants such as Twitter. One unexpected consequence has been that the share price of Nintendo has shot up rapidly in the last week.
9. A Teenager Found A Dead Body While Playing
It isn’t just adorable cartoon creatures that people are finding while exploring their local area as they play Pokemon Go. Some people are finding some rather unexpected things, like a 19-year-old girl in Wyoming who found a dead body in a river.
“As I looked one way, I noticed that there was something in the water in front of me,” she said. “And so I took a closer look and saw it was a body. I was crying and shaking really bad because it was a very scary situation”
Wiggins phoned the police soon after and waited at a nearby highway until the police arrived to investigate the body. The Fremont Sheriff department later released a statement explaining that the death appeared to be a case of accidental drowning and that there were no indications of foul play.
8. It Turned One Man’s House Into Chaos
One of the good things about Pokemon Go is that it uses technology developed for the game Ingress to place Pokestops and gyms at landmarks and places of interest in the real world. This forces people to leave their homes to play the game and ensures that only locations that are designed to allow groups of people to meet up are affected.
However, it can occasionally go wrong, as was the case for Massachusetts resident Boon Sheridan. He lives in an old church that has been converted into a house, but its former use as a place of worship has meant that it was a designated Pokemon gym. This has led to hundreds of people turning up at his home to battle with other trainers at all times of the day and night. Some are even parking cars outside for up to 30 minutes in the early hours of the morning.
7. Accounts Are Being Sold For A Lot Of Money
Unlike many other free-to-play apps that flood the smartphone market, Pokemon Go actually has some intrinsic value linked to accounts. This is because people have to actually invest time and effort into leveling up and catching monsters by going out and traveling around. This is apparently too much for some people as upgraded accounts have already been sold on sites like Craigslist.
One listing on the site listed an account that was at level 20, had caught 75 Pokemon, had a number of eggs ready to hatch, and had a host of additional items that the player could use. It did not come cheap, with a price of $100 meaning that only someone who really didn’t have the time or the ability to explore would be willing to spend that amount of money on a virtual account.
6. It Got A Man Sacked In Singapore
The Pokemon Go craze is so strong that you probably wouldn’t be surprised that it has caused someone to be sacked from their job. After all, a lot of people are certainly playing the game when they should be working. However, the only person that is known to have been fired since the game’s release is an Australian man employed in Singapore – and not for the reason you would expect.
Sonny Truyen wasn’t sacked for not doing his job but rather for a foul-mouthed rant he made on Twitter because Pokemon Go had yet to launch in the country. In the scathing attack, he said, “You can’t f*****g catch Pokémon in this piece of f*****g s*** country,” and then later went on to call the Singapore population stupid. This quickly led to the chief executive of 99.co, the company he was working for, relieving Sonny of his duties as they are a proud Singaporean business.
5. It’s Causing A Lot Of Injuries
Pokemon Go is somewhat unique in the gaming world as it requires physical effort from users. The last major craze that did this was the Nintendo Wii and many people were soon complaining of injuries that they had suffered as a result of playing the console. Exactly the same thing is happening with this new game.
There are various reports of people who have hurt their legs while walking or cycling long distances that their bodies are not used to. Even worse though, is the fact that two men fell down a cliff in San Diego causing minor injuries. A rescue team had to use a rope to get them safely back up the cliff. There is also a growing number of youngsters who have been hit by vehicles while crossing busy roads as they are too engrossed with the screen to properly check if there is any traffic.
4. People Are Cheating Using Drones
The need to ‘catch ’em all’ has led to some enterprising players to cheat rather than actually get up and walk around to encounter new Pokemon. Instead, some players have attached their smartphones to remote-controlled drones that they can then fly around to stock up on supplies and catch more Pokemon than they would be able to on foot.
The idea of using drones to help play the game has gone a step further as well, with technology company TRNDlabs developing a prototype drone that will help players reach Pokemon that are in difficult to get locations. The miniature device has been specially adapted so that it can work with the smartphone app perfectly. Using a special pairing trick, users can use the drone to collect creatures that are in locations they cannot get to themselves, with the GPS and camera of the drone taking the place of those on the smartphone.
3. Real-Life Animals Are Being Helped
While Pokemon Go might see people effectively trapping living creatures and then battling them against each other in savage fights, it turns out that many players are actually helping real-life animals.
The Muncie Animal Shelter in Indiana saw the potential of the app and asked local people to take some of their abandoned dogs out for walks while searching for Pokemon. The next morning the advertisement had gone viral and more than 70 people had turned up to exercise and interact with the dogs while playing the game.
In other instances, some users have found abandoned animals while exploring. One report saw a group of friends come across hamsters left on the side of a road in a box, leading to the group adopting the animals. Another case involved four people walking in a park and coming across an injured puppy. They helped nurse the dog back to health and got it urgent medical attention.
2. People Are Going To Dangerous Locations
The search for Pokemon means that people are having to travel to locations they might otherwise never visit, including parks, museums, shopping centers and businesses. However, some are unwittingly entering restricted areas and other dangerous locations as they try to find rare creatures that have appeared there.
One Dutch railway company has already contacted Nintendo to ask them to change the title so that Pokemon will not appear near railway tracks as a number of individuals have gone onto them. Hospitals, police stations and army bases, have also seen groups of people wandering around near them or inside buildings as they attempt to catch more Pokemon. This has led to appeals from senior officers and executives to remind people about the dangers of entering restricted areas and to stop them from going to places that they shouldn’t.
1. It Is Helping Those With Mental Illnesses
Although Pokemon Go might seem like just a fun game with no real-world benefits, many people have already come forward to say that the app has helped immensely with their depression and anxiety. It has long been known that exercise is a powerful way to fight mental illness but it seems that it is the combination of exercise and the social qualities of Pokemon Go that are having an effect on those suffering with various psychological problems.
Talking on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, users have been explaining how the game has given them extra motivation to go outside and interact with other people when they usually wouldn’t. Many have reported that their mood has improved significantly in just a short space of time while playing.
“What I like is that about Pokémon Go has encouraged me to go out more and do more things. That, in turn, has improved my mood, even just in five days,” says Lola Phoenix, a 28-year-old London woman who struggles with anxiety and is on the autistic spectrum.