If you’ve been within about 0ft of anything over the last few weeks, you’ll have a vague idea about what Pokémon GO is. Most of you reading this will also know what Pokémon is – it’s that Nintendo game which, for 20 years, has been raking in masses of cash.
The games are actually terrific and in Japan are a way of life – it appeals so perfectly to the nation’s kawaii (cute factor) culture the country had no chance of fending off the onslaught of the super addictive game and its appallingly cute characters. Cat type things such as Pikachu have been a huge hit and are so cute it’s nauseating – so is the app. So here we go! We’re getting our didactic hats on.
Okay, so just what the bloody hell is going on? The above video should clear things up a bit, but it doesn’t clear up why this app has seemingly taken over everyone’s lives. Let’s state, before we explain the app, Pokémon has been around for 20 years now. It hit the Game Boy in ’96 and become a cultural phenomenon.
Literally, the game’s borderline worshipped. So, considering Pokémon GO launched today over there, you can imagine this thing’s about to reach an insane new level.
Anyway, what you do is download the app and then go wandering around your local vicinity. Reach landmarks and you receive Pokémon balls to catch the Pokémon you bump into arbitrarily. The game’s taken off, simply put, because of the Pokémon name – being able to go out and catch Pokémon is what fans have always dreamt of. Now they, sort of, can.
The nature of the game, however, has led to hundreds of bizarre incidents – some people have even got themselves killed playing it. Let’s journey, then, into the world’s most dangerous video game!
Due to the nature of the game, it’s created increasingly weird incidents. You have to hold the camera out in front of you and wander around – the on-screen map tells you where stuff is. This makes one look like a brainless zombie and has led to incidents of people mindlessly walking onto roads into oncoming traffic.
As such, Niantic (who developed the app for Nintendo) has stuck a legal waiver on the loading screen reminding people to be careful. Reeling off the incidents we’ve read off the top of our brains, here are just a handful of the bizarre incidents Pokémon GO has created:
- In America, people have been jumping from moving buses to get at Pokémon in the street – Washington and Oregon states issued public safety warnings as a result
- Two men in America walked off a cliff in pursuit of Pokémon
- A woman stumbled across a corpse in her pursuit of cute and cuddly Pokémon
- Three students in Manchester were held at knife-point whilst playing
- A hospital in Stoke issued a warning to players banning them from entering intensive care units whilst hunting for Pokémon
- Bosnia issued warnings to players to steer clear of minefields
- In England, one man’s home inadvertently became a focal point for hundreds of players, who congregated outside his home like zombies
- An 18 year old in Guatemala broke into someone’s home to access Pokémon and was shot 20 times
- One player using it whilst driving crashed into a police car in Baltimore
- In Northern Ireland, police had to warn players it was illegal to break into homes to try and catch a Zubalt
- In the UK, four players got lost in a mine and had to be rescued
- In New York, a man drove his car into a tree in pursuit of a hallowed Pokémon
- And finally… a Pokémon GO dating service has launched
I’m Praying this is a Fad!
Considering the immense popularity of Pokémon, it’s unclear whether this will be a blip in the world of apps. It’s only Nintendo’s second (after the gloriously surreal Miitomo) and the company’s market value shot up by $7 billion in a couple of days due to the monumental success of this thing.
With the potential to introduce new Pokémon as and when it pleases (there are only 151 at the moment) and an exclusive marketing deal for brands such as McDonald’s on the way, Nintendo is set to make a goddamn fortune.
As for the rest of us… quake in fear, people. The company has more apps on the way. Perhaps it’s time to rebuild those old bomb shelters from WWII and get to praying for a saviour.