Pokémon Go, the new mobile game that scatters everyone's favorite digital critters across real locations using augmented reality, climbed to the top of the App Store charts after only five days of release. As of July 11th, Apple Store users rated the game over 43,000 times. It even surpassed Tinder in Android app popularity.
Somehow, the most bizarre side effect of the mobile phenomenon's success isn't the game's early-day glitches or Reddit-friendly memes, but the real-world experiences emerging from outdoor play. Here, we round up the scariest and strangest turns of events:
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Poké Stops are popping up in all kinds of places they shouldn't be (more on that below), and private citizens are not having it. According to CTV, one fed-up Ontario resident fired a pellet gun at a crowd of gamers on her property Saturday night. "It is believed that the suspect fired at least four shots at the people playing Pokémon Go, but none were struck and there were no injuries," according to a statement from York Regional Police. That's messed up.
... and during an attempted robbery
Fox News reports that two Las Vegas men opened fire on a group of Pokémon players they'd hoped to rob as they wandered the streets at 4am. Unfortunately, one of the victims had a weapon of his own, and the resulting shootout sent both a perpetrator and a defensive player to the hospital.
Would-be robbers also used the game to lure victims
Missouri police apprehended four suspects who allegedly used Pokémon Go's geolocation feature to shepherd players to remote locations, where they'd grab their valuables instead of Squirtles -- a felony charge of first-degree robbery. "The robbers were able to anticipate the location and level of seclusion of unwitting victims," Sgt. Bill Stringer of O'Fallon, Missouri, said. He cautioned further: "If you use this app (or other similar-type apps) or have children that do we ask you to please use caution when alerting strangers of your future location."
Two Poké-seekers even fell off a cliff
Last week in Encinitas, California, two men in their early 20s fell "an estimated 50 to 90 feet down a cliff," according to CNN, in pursuit of Pokémon. Though they sustained minor injuries, they were not charged with trespassing, even though the area was clearly marked "Do Not Cross." Two Toledo players weren't so lucky -- they were arrested for trespassing in their city's zoo while on the hunt.
Well, this could have been avoided: the police car was parked when one reckless player drove into it, apparently too immersed in hunting down Pokémon. The officer's dashcam captured the interaction above. Thankfully, no one was hurt.
A 21-year-old Oregon man was Poké-hunting late into the night when he got stabbed by another pedestrian. Instead of seeking medical attention, the victim went on playing and stopped for refreshments. According to KTLA, by the time he did make it to the hospital, the wound required eight stitches.
One player stumbled upon a dead body
Poké-hunting led 19-year-old Shayla Wiggins to Big Wind River in Wyoming, where she spotted something far more shocking than a Jigglypuff: a corpse. According to the Fremont Sheriff's Office, "the death appears to be accidental in nature."
Well, the critter crashed her delivery room, at least. "As soon as it popped up, I was like, oh my gosh, there's a Pidgey sitting on your bed!" the woman's husband said, interrupting her labor. Pidgey's not even worth that much, man.
Living in an old church means many things. Today it means my house is a Pokémon Go gym. This should be fascinating.
The majority of Pokémon Go's "gyms" were assigned in public places based on existing map data. But because Massachusetts resident Boon Sheridan's home was an active church over 40 years ago, it wound up as one of the game's hangouts, drawing players to his now-private property. Sheridan's understandably ticked off about the disturbance, and concerned it might even lead his property's value to decline.
"Yeah, so it turns out two twenty-something black dudes and a 40-year-old white guy chilling in the park at 3am looks strange," one Reddit user discovered after finding an Onyx near his home -- as well as some other eager fans. "It took a bit of talking to convince the cop we weren't doing a drug deal, and a bit longer to explain the game. Then the cop downloaded the fucking game on his phone and asked us how to get started."
One Tumblr user rigged up a drone to hunt down far-flung Pokémon for him by duct-taping his smartphone to the device. Lucky for players with a little more integrity, the drone is not very good at it.
People are actually walking
For those who haven't rigged up drones, Pokémon Go is forcing them to hunt down Pikachu the old-fashioned way. One Daily Dot writer logged 8,000 steps on one day's journey; an overweight fan named Doug Byrd claimed to walk up to six miles in a single day of gameplay. Who says video gamers are lazy?