Pokémon Go may be the biggest smartphone game in U.S. history, but that doesn’t mean you should risk death for it. And yet people have done that and more. Here are eight questionable decisions people are making in the name of Pokémon Go.
1. QUITTING THEIR JOBS
New Zealander Tom Currie, 24, quit his cafe job to explore the country. Well, the parts of New Zealand where you can collect Pokémon. As of July 13, he’s collected more than 700 of them, adding the ultimate fuel to anti-Millennial rants across the globe.
2. MAKING CAREER-RUINING COMMENTS
An Australian SEO specialist was so angry that Pokémon Go hadn’t yet made it to Singapore, where he lives and works, that he went on an anti-Singapore rant on Facebook, further elaborating on his hatred in subsequent comments. He called the country stupid and derided its residents’ IQs. When his employer found out, he was fired. Looks like his comments were a little too optimized for sharing around the web.
3. CHASING POKEMON AT SOLEMN MEMORIAL SITES
The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum is listed on the app as a Pokéstop, and the museum had to explicitly ask visitors not to play the game at the somber memorial to millions of murdered Holocaust victims. Other inappropriate places people have been caught catching ‘em all include restricted areas of a Dutch hospital, Auschwitz, and the 9/11 Memorial in New York City.
4. REFUSING MEDICAL ATTENTION
Michael Baker of Forest Grove, Oregon was stabbed when he asked a stranger on the street at 1 a.m. if he was playing Pokémon Go. He continued his mission rather than go straight to the hospital. ("I basically risked my life," he said.) He eventually received eight stitches in his shoulder.
5. WANDERING ONTO RAILROAD TRACKS
The Dutch railway system ProRail contacted Nintendo to ask the company to usher Pokémon fans away from its tracks. Several people wandered onto railroad tracks, forcing trains to slow down. Others have been wandering down highway shoulders looking for their next catch.
6. TRESPASSING ON PRIVATE PROPERTY
Several police departments have had to remind residents that wandering onto strangers’ property is illegal. Holland, Massachusetts and the wonderfully named Goochland County, Virginia have both noted upticks in trespassing reports.
7. DISRUPTING TRAFFIC
While rumors of a massive car crash due to Pokémon Go were a hoax, that doesn’t mean people are sensibly refraining from training and driving. A driver in Auburn, New York crashed into a tree while playing the game, ruining his car. A Jalopnik writer’s account of driving her boyfriend around to catch more Pokémon doesn’t include playing behind the wheel, but she describes herself and other drivers she saw succumbing to distracted driving patterns that could be dangerous in certain traffic conditions, such as stopping abruptly, backing up in the middle of the road, etc. Arizona’s transportation agency has pleaded with people to refrain from playing while driving (it even plans to have electronic signs on its highways read "POKEMON GO IS A NO-GO WHEN DRIVING"), as has Washington’s.
8. IGNORING THEIR SURROUNDINGS
Players have walked into ditches, fallen off their skateboards, run into poles, and wandered straight into the waiting arms of robbers while ignoring the real world in favor of their phone. Just remember to look up every once in a while, please?
BUT ON THE BRIGHT SIDE...
... not every Pokémon Go experience has ended in ill-advised disaster: One grandmother rescued a young boy who was being bullied while she was playing the game. It’s also forcing people to get out of their houses, leading them to unexpectedly get some exercise and enjoy nature.