“This is an easy way to be robbed of your cell phone, as criminals know you have one in your possession since it is required to play the game”

pain sculpture

From MPD:

“There is a smartphone app that is rapidly gaining popularity across the country. It is called Pokemon GO, and it is sort of an outdoor treasure hunt where you use your GPS-enabled smartphone to locate Pokemons. While the game was intended to be a fun outdoor activity where you can explore new areas and get some exercise in the process, there have already been reports that criminals are using the app to create “beacons” to draw people in and then rob them or commit other crimes. This is an easy way to be robbed of your cell phone, as criminals know you have one in your possession since it is required to play the game. Below are some tips to reduce your risk of becoming a victim:

1. Always be aware of your surroundings, and look up from your phone frequently. There are reports that players have fallen down hills, into holes, stepped off curbs into traffic, and run into objects such as trees and poles because they are concentrating on their phones.

2. Do not play the game at night and stay out of poorly lit areas.

3. Try to stay in public areas where other people are around.

4. Stay clear of alleyways, tunnels, and other secluded areas.

5. Make sure that someone else knows that you are playing, and what area you will be playing in.”

100 Comment

  • I’m convinced that this game is part of a systematic plan to round up all the young people. Once things are set into motion, you’ll see throngs of people staring down at their screens, marching together toward their ultimate doom. It’s like the pied piper.

    • +1. Driving home from work last night was surreal. People were glued to their phones and wandering around. Not just casually on their phones like normal when checking e-mail or Twitter, but GLUED to their phones. Whoever put this plan into motion is an evil genius. Seriously though people, BE SMART about this.

    • Haha, I saw someone [jokingly] say it was a conspiracy on the part of cell phone companies to increase phone bills. But seriously, unless you have unlimited data this has to be eating up data plans!

      • I do have an unlimited data plan but I’ve heard from my friends who don’t that it doesn’t use much at all, somehow.

        • I thought it was eating up my data plan but then I looked at the breakdown on my phone. Hours of Pokemon: .05GB. Probably an hour or less of Tinder: .20GB — Pokemon wins my heart and my data usage any day.

      • It actually uses very little data! You just gotta keep an eye on your battery life

  • “There are reports that players have fallen down hills, into holes, stepped off curbs into traffic, and run into objects such as trees and poles because they are concentrating on their phones.”


    • A woman/girl also found a dead body in a creek.

    • I don’t know anything about this game, other than it exists and many people are obsessed with it. However, whomever decided to make the Holocaust Museum a stop where people collect things needs a slap to the head. And if, as reported in the Post, someone intentionally placed a *poison gas* Pokémon in the museum, there’s aren’t enough slaps to be had. In the words of wdc, what the actual fcuk?!?!

      • The game automatically makes neutral places (monuments, government buildings, non-profits, etc) places of interest (pokestops for items or gyms for battles). No human made the decision to make that particular place a gym. Some human may have purposefully put a poision gas pokemon there, but they may have also done it inadvertently as poison gas pokemon aren’t particularly rare or anything and they would have had to install something there to claim/defend the gym.

      • I just saw the story in question and it appears the Koffing wasn’t even placed there to defend the gym; it was just found there randomly spawned. This was definitely a completely random coincidence; pokemon are spawning everywhere all the time and while there is some coded in tendency for certain kinds of pokemon to spawn less rarely or around certain geographic features/times (water pokemon around the water and nocturnal pokemon at night, for examples), anything can spawn anywhere (and poison gas pokemon aren’t very special).
        It’s cute that people understand how the game works so little as to think there’s that much rhyme or reason to the things it does.

        • “It’s cute that people understand how the game works so little as to think there’s that much rhyme or reason to the things it does.”
          I bow to your superior knowledge. I’m sure it will serve you well as you progress in the game.

        • justinbc

          1) it’s not a gym, so there are no battles taking place there
          2) all of the pre-generated gyms, pokestops, whatever were pulled from a previous game’s data called Ingress, which is essentially the exact same game (by the same developer) just with less recognizable brand…meaning the Museum was already a spot to collect crap, but nobody knew it because the game was nowhere near as popular
          3) pretty sure the Koffing was photoshopped, but even if it wasn’t the devs assign certain RNG values to any given area, so it’s possible that they selected it for that area like they do any other area simply by random number generation…it’s not like they go through every single city and determine which mobs can be found where

        • I really dislike that use of “cute” — so dismissive.

  • I honestly left America for 1 week and came back to this mayhem. People my age (30ish) are playing it too, its not just teenagers!!!!!!!

  • Are people older than 18 really playing this game? /I feel old?

    • 31 year person here who is competing against my twin sister, 28 and 24 year old brothers. Most of my similarly aged friends are playing as well. Pokemon is nostalgic to my generation! (Well not me, I never played as a kid. But I figured it would be a fun distraction)

    • Yes, tons of my friends are playing it. My friend told me she “caught so many at the beach on Sunday.” Hahaha. I don’t know…I was never into Pokemon so I guess it’s not appealing to me. I also already feel like enough things draw me into my phone, I don’t need something else. I have been actively trying to cut down on phone time.

      • This is exactly my feeling. I tried it for about a day and a half and then deleted it. I feel like I am sort of missing out, but I’m fine with it

    • Speaking for the under-18 crowd (well, the under 14 crowd, I guess), most parents I know have said No Way. Not until the bugs are worked out. And maybe not then if this walking-into-traffic thing is real.

    • I am 27 and know so many people are who playing. Hitting up that nostalgia hard.

    • General Grant Circle

      Pokemon was released in the 90s. While mostly popular with elementary/middle school age kids, some older kids and adults also bought into it.

      Those people are still alive, and if all the transformers/super hero reboots show anything, its that nostalgia is big

    • Some guys at Marvin tried to talk about Pokemon Go as a way to hit on my friend and I at Marvin on Saturday night. We’re 29 and 30 years old and it definitely did not work.

    • I play it with my son. It is actually a fun activity for the kids if supervised. A lot of the Pokestops are historical signs. “You can check in at the Pokestop if you read the historical sign.” You also have to travel certain distances to get the eggs to hatch and such. It isn’t all awful- but needs to be supervised. As far as video games go for kids- at least this one gets them out of the house.

    • Quotia Zelda

      The young Zeldas are all playing it. Last night, they took a walk around the neighborhood together, and today Eldest Zelda is taking them to the town square to hunt Pokemon.

      I’m playing, too, though not nearly as intensely (though my building has a very convenient Pokestop). Mr. Zelda thinks we’re all morons.

    • I’m clueless about Pokemon in general and how to battle at gyms but hanging out with dozens of people playing last night at Meridian Hill was surprisingly fun for this 35 year old.

    • justinbc

      Yes, about to be 36 myself. You’re not old, you just have different interests, there’s nothing wrong with that, and there shouldn’t be any ageism in video games.

  • Why does this make me feel old?

  • Or do what I do and play on the bus. You can stumble upon Pokemon and not have to worry about walking into things at the same time! Granted sometimes you lose Pokemon if the bus moves away before you finish a battle.

  • Here’s a thought: developers should hide these pokemon geotags inside the users’ closest polling stations come election time.

    • Awesome. Or concentrate them in schools! I bet the app collects all kinds of demographic data; you could lead specific groups of people anywhere you think they should be. And then the businesses will get in on it, paying the app to put pokemons in their bars, but only for users 21-28 years old.
      (I actually have no idea how it works.)

      • I know people who are attending Pokemon Go bar crawls.

      • The technology the game was based on (Ingress) was partly designed with this goal actually in mind (paid company sponsorships in-game)

      • I’ve seen a number of articles citing privacy concerns if you signed in with your google account. For example, CNET Pokemon Go: Gotta catch all your personal data.

        • Yeah, the privacy concern thing prompted me to create a fake google account just for this game.

        • Personally, I very much understand where people may get concerned about this, but really I don’t have a problem with Google having access to data collected by a company spun off from Google with Google staff using Google Maps (which I already used on my usual account). Also, they’re shutting down the full access ASAP, it’s only a mistake that happened for certain iOS users (Android users should be good).

          • My understanding is that the app developer (Niantic) has access to your entire *Google* account. Names, contacts, Google Docs, etc…

          • Whoops I definitely typed this backwards my bad. I don’t have a personal problem with a company spun off of Google (Niantic), with Google staff, originally funded by Google, using Google Maps, having access to (the rest of) my Google account. Just my personal feelings on it.
            Google has stated it’s shutting down the full access pronto though so it shouldn’t be an issue much longer.

        • This issue is being resolved. I was annoyed about it too but rationalized it by the fact that Niantic was a spin-off of Google and therefore probably had access to this data already anyway.

  • Not to sound like a jerk but I don’t understand why people are staring at their phones so intently? I’m playing, but your phone vibrates (or should) when a pokemon appears. So I just set my screen not to time out and put my phone down until I feel it…..

    • Agreed with this. I don’t understand what people are staring at.

    • My guess, based on my short-lived time playing, is that people don’t set their screen to not time out, so they have to keep tracking it to keep it working and want to make sure they don’t miss one. I really don’t know though.

    • I’m with you, I just hold it in my hand and keep moving.

    • Tsar of Truxton

      You can use the tracker to find specific pokemon. To do that you need to be watching your phone.

      • Ehhhh sort of – I haven’t had much luck with this, though. The tracker seems to be a bit random to me.

        • Tsar of Truxton

          Do you know how it works? (I don’t mean that in a condescending way, but in a “it is hard to figure out” way) Basically, top left is closest to you. if you walk in a direction and the one in the top left moves to the right, it means you went the wrong way, so turn around and go back and try a different direction.

        • +1. Same. I know about the leaves and the “pokemon in my area” but I have only had minimal luck with it. And I’ve gotten some good ones with no warning at all.

  • South Park is going to have a field day with this (again).

  • Can anyone please explain what the point of collecting virtual Pokemon? Seeing who can get the most?

  • When I first heard about this I was thinking I must be a jaded urbanite because I would NEVER sign up for something so addictive that it would have me compulsively pulling my phone out on the street. That’s just asking for trouble IMO.

    • Everyone is criticizing the app for making people use their phones while walking around — but let’s be honest, have you really NEVER walked around on the street with your phone out? Ever? People do this all the time anyway, stupid or not.

  • People are aware that all these historical sites, museums, etc., existed BEFORE Pokemon, right? You don’t need a game as an excuse to go and see these places. I know it’s a difficult concept for some but you do not in fact need to have your face stuck in your phone to get out into the world. You can just GO! It’s amazing.

    A very jaded 32 year-old

    • Well for example, there’s a fountain I’ve passed hundreds of times in Arlington (used to work near there) that is a Pokestop and while walking around to check in at locations on Sunday I discovered that it has a small plaque on the stem of the fountain that you can only see when it’s turned off (which it was, for some reason). I had no idea it’s the “Electrician’s Fountain” and was dedicated to electricians. There are some fun things to discover.

    • justinbc

      People are aware that there actual problems in the world to be upset by BEFORE Pokemon, right? Everyone in DC was already walking around staring at their phones, why do you suddenly care what the content is?

  • For any other iOS users who had full Google access automatically given to the game – the update is out in the app store now that will fix it. You’ll still likely have to go into your Google account and revoke the full access (security.google.com/settings/security/permissions?pli=1)

  • Idiocracy in action… Now all we need is our very own Pres. Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho !

    • This game is probably more sophisticated than most things you do in the world.

      • HaileUnlikely

        I’ll stipulate that the game in question is more sophisticated than basically anything I have ever done or even aspire to do. Sophisticated is not the same as useful, though.

  • justinbc

    So basically don’t be anymore of an idiot than you would be otherwise? Got it. Also, please stop with the NSFW Diglett photos, ick.

  • I met a friend last night in Meridian Hill Park. It was remarkable to see so many people completely disengaged with the world around them, staring at their phones like hypnotized zombies.

    • justinbc

      You do understand that part of the purpose of augmented reality games is that they are in fact literally engaging with the world around them.

      • It is quite something to claim that looking for imaginary creatures is ‘engaging with the world around them’. I heard someone else claim that Pokemon Go was good because it was encouraging people to go out walking. Made me want to rip my own brain out of my head. Everything good and useful in the world will soon just be by-products of games we play on our phones rather than things we do because they are good and useful. Sh**, I need to be about 50 years older than I actually am.

        • justinbc

          Your personal qualitative evaluation of the degree of interaction has no bearing in whether people are actually doing it or not.

          • I wouldn’t say you’re in a position to evaluate that either. The best we can agree on is that they are indeed situated in the real world, I guess, but that’s not a very informative observation.

          • justinbc

            I’ve played the game, I know exactly how it works. They are “engaging in the world around them” 1) the overlay UI of the game puts AI mobs onto the real world on your screen, so in a virtual sense you are playing a game actually in the world, and 2) you have to actually be out in the locations to most efficiently play it, so people are literally out in the world visiting / seeing things they might not otherwise. You might think this is stupid and people should just want to go see things on their own without prompting, but this is the society we live in, so either get used to it or stay grumpy I guess. I think people were blissfully absorbed in their phones long before Pokemon, and will be once the fad is over, it’s just a new outlet. I can understand being angry at people who are stupid and do inconsiderate things while playing, I just don’t blame the app for it. I’m not sure how much more you expect them to be engaged…would you rather they pick the grass and eat it? Sweep the sidewalk as they’re walking?

          • I’ve made at least three new friends at work by playing this game. We’ve been spending our 45 minute lunch break together each day talking and looking for pokemon. I used to just sit in our break room and eat… while looking at my phone, alone.
            I don’t believe I’m an anomaly here, and I think that everyone who is anti-Pokemon because they think people aren’t engaging with the real world should take a step back and stop being such curmudgeons.
            tl;dr – I agree wholeheartedly with Justinbc

    • As you have discovered, them’s fightin’ words to the Pokeybots

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