Pokémon GO is the latest smartphone game sweeping the globe and spreading quicker than a computer virus. The game has been available in some parts of the world for approximately two weeks and has already generated much in the way of news stories. Pokémon GO is an augmented reality title set partially in the real world and partially in a digital world created by Nintendo and Niantic. It is in effect a treasure hunt, whereby your smartphone shows you a real world map where you can find Pokémon to capture. Players must travel to the location of the Pokémon and then to capture it, throw Pokéballs at it. Captured Pokémon can be used to fight other players. There are also PokéStops to boost your capturing equipment, and Pokémon Gyms so as to better train your captive Pokémon. Unfortunately, not all of the publicity that Pokémon GO has generated might be considered positive. We've seen reports of players falling off cliffs or being targeted by criminals, who have set up camp around a PokéStop in order to rob inattentive or unaware players. We've even seen one person crash their vehicle and in the US, highway signs are reminding players not to play Pokémon GO whilst driving.
Today's story concerns two teenagers who were shot at whilst undertaking some nighttime Pokémon hunting in the Palm Coast area of Orlando. A 37-year old man was sleeping but was woken up at 1:30 in the morning by a loud noise. He looked outside to see a white car outside his home, whereby he reached for his sidearm and went outside to investigate. As he approached the vehicle he states that he overheard one of the occupants saying, "did you get anything?" At this point, the man stepped in front of the vehicle thinking that he had been robbed, pointed his sidearm and ordered them not to move.
The teenagers decided that driving towards him was the best action to take and the man dodged to the side, then shot at the fleeing vehicle because it was attempting to strike him. Deputies searched the area but were unable to locate the white car in question – the following morning, the mother of the two teenage boys called to make a complaint, explaining that her 16-year old and 19-year old were playing Pokémon GO when a man came out of his home and started shooting at them. She also explained that her sons did not tell her about the situation until she discovered bullet holes in various parts of the car. Whilst officials are still investigating the incident, fortunately both teenagers are unharmed. However, it is not clear when their mother will let them out of the house late at night again, or if the Marowak and Tauros they were hunting were captured. On a more serious note, this story reminds us of the real world dangers of actions and words being misconstrued. If you are playing Pokémon GO, be careful and considerate out there.