Niantic’s recently released ‘augmented reality’ Pokemon game called Pokemon Go has already found a huge following among gamers, but it can be harmful to you unless you’re careful.
The game, which has been officially released in just three countries (Aus, New Zealand and U.S), has stuck a chord with gamers and has raced its way to the top of the charts on both the iOS and Android app stores.
However, some people are getting too engrossed in the game and in turn getting injured, which is partly due to their own carelessness, and partly because the game transforms the real world into a Pokemon catching arena.
Mike Schultz is one such guy who got injured while playing the game. The 21 year old suffered minor injuries while he was glued to the screen hunting for rare Pokemon. He cut his hand while surfing on his skateboard looking for Pokemon.
“I just wanted to be able to stop quickly if there were any Pokemons nearby to catch,” he says. “I don’t think the company is really at fault.”
Several people have posted on social media showing how they got injured while playing the game, while most have only themselves to blame, the nature of the game does raise some questions about the safety of those playing it.
Pokemon tend to appear in odd places including the dashboard of cars, and even intersections, while gyms and Poke Stops have been found in cemeteries and even police stations.
“You don’t actually have to step inside in order to gain the pokeballs,” the Northern Territory Police Fire and Emergency Services says on its Facebook page.
Another person who got injured while playing the game is Kyrie Tompkins. Tompkins twisted her ankle while searching for Pokemon in downtown Waterville, Maine at night.
“It vibrated to let me know there was something nearby and I looked up and just fell in a hole,” she says. She had to be driven home by her parents after the incident.
These are just some of the injuries people have suffered while playing the game. Many other reports are already coming in. However, it would be harsh to blame the game for it. One just needs to be careful and draw a line between the virtual and the real, and not get so engrossed in catching Pokemon that they ignore the real world hazards that might befall upon them.
As long as there’s a balance and people are alert, these situation can be avoided, but one has to accept the fact that having the real world as a Pokemon catching arena can have dangerous consequences unless the people playing it are wary of the risks.
Niantic definitely is keeping a tab on these developments, and if needed, the company is sure to create some fail-safes or warnings to make people realize the risks of suffering actual injuries or accidents while playing the game if they aren’t careful enough.