Earth & Conservation

Pokémon Go: Top 10 Hazards of Augmented Reality Gaming

The latest obsession with Nintendo's Pokémon Go has lead to bruises, trespassing, robberies and car crashes.

<p>Pokémon Go, YouTube screenshot</p>


The augmented reality game Pokémon Go is sending droves of people on scavenger hunts to capture imaginary creatures that appear on their phone screens at real locations. Players "train" their Pokémon and pick up virtual items at PokéStops, but the goal is still to catch 'em all.

Although Pokémon Go has been credited with encouraging exercise and exploration, the game has a dark side -- to the point where law enforcement officials are issuing warnings. In some cases, players are walking directly into danger. Here's a look at the top 10 biggest hazards so far in the quest for characters like Pikachu and Squirtle. Credit: Pokémon Go, YouTube

All that wandering around focused intently on a smartphone can make players extremely vulnerable. In Fort Wayne, Ind., Stephanie Simpson told WIBC that she was alone and immersed in the game one night, when a man pulled up beside her in a vehicle. He tried to get her into his car but she began screaming. Credit: Thinkstock

Mike Schultz was cruising around Long Island on his skateboard looking for the critters when he hit a big crack and fell off, the Associated Press reported. He cut his hand, but said he doesn't blame game-maker Nintendo: "I just wanted to be able to stop quickly if there were any Pokémons nearby to catch." Credit: Thinkstock


Engrossed Pokémon Go players who ignore their surroundings are getting injured. The effects range from bruised pride, such as what Albert Monina of Brooklyn felt when he fell into a pond in Prospect Park, to bruised legs, like the one suffered by @kittenqueen (above), to more serious injuries, like the two men playing the game who fell off an oceanside cliff in San Diego and had to be hospitalized, NBC 7 San Diego reported. Credit: @kittenqueen/Twitter

In Phoenix, a Pokémon Go beacon was set in the New Windsor Hotel. Although it's on the local list of historic places, the building is now a halfway house for registered sex offenders, Fox 10 Phoenix reported. A couple in Holyoke, Mass., discovered that their house -- previously a church -- was a Pokémon "gym" in the game, prompting players to swarm it. Credit: @boonerang/Twitter

Robin Bartholomy and Adrian Crawford were playing Pokémon Go in the middle of the night when they jumped a fence at the Toledo Zoo. The duo were charged with criminal trespassing and arrested outside the tiger exhibit, the Toledo Blade reported. "It was all fun and games until the cops showed up," Crawford told the newspaper. Credit: Sean Hagen, Flickr Creative Commons

Pokémon Go enthusiast Sonny Truyen moved from Australia to Singapore, when he discovered the game wasn't available yet in the country. After writing an expletive-laden screed on Facebook expressing his anger, the firm where he worked gave him the boot for "rude behavior," Digital Trends reported. Credit: @Direct2Drive/Twitter

So far the game has caused several car crashes. In College Station, Tex., a player illegally parked a car and left to catch a Pokémon. A second driver crashed into the vehicle, causing airbags to deploy, Texas A&M police tweeted. In another incident, a man in Auburn, NY, crashed into a tree while trying to play. He was uninjured but the car got mangled, Jalopnik reported. Credit: @RobertHarding/Twitter

Pokémon Go-obsessed Michael Baker, 21, was playing in Forest Grove, Ore., when a man approached him. At first Baker thought he was another player, but the man drew a knife and stabbed him. Baker told Fox 12 Oregon that he kept playing instead of going to the hospital right away. Later he got eight stitches in his shoulder. Credit: Thinkstock

Oblivious people staring at their phones can make prime targets for robbers. In O'Fallon, Mo., Nikolas Howard went to a popular check-in for the game near a gas station late one Saturday night. He walked right into a trap and was robbed at gunpoint, KSDK reported. On Long Island, a 19-year-old was mid-game when he had his phone taken at gunpoint. Credit: Thinkstock


Teenager Shayla Wiggens was scoping out Pokémon Go resources near her home in central Wyoming, when she spotted a body floating in the Wind River, the Riverton Ranger newspaper reported. The man was later identified and authorities told the Billings Gazette they thought his death was accidental. In Nashua, NH, a Pokémon Go player exploring an obscure area discovered a body floating in Salmon Brook. Credit: @FOX61News