I’d like to think that I’m kind of a healthy gamer. While MMOs take a lot of time, the nice thing is that their downtime can lead to forming bonds, or give you time to exercise. Augmented reality games can give you both at once, especially Pokemon Go, since it’s the best-known ARG we have (and the mountains of merchandise make it easier to stand out as a fellow player).
However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, and I’m not just talking about game mechanics that have plagued Niantic games since at Ingress. I remember playing that title and thinking, “Man, this game is dangerous! There’s no way they’ll just clone this for POGO, right?” And yet, here we are. But I can’t put all the blame on Niantic, especially after my time with ARG competitor Maguss. Some things just seem inherent to the genre.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from Pokemon Go, it’s that staying home and playing MMORPGs from the comfort of my pajama pants is way safer than leaving the house. For many years, the only thing gamers had to fear was the occasional report on someone dropping dead in an internet cafe after not drinking for days, or maybe that kid you stole a Lineage sword from shivving you at school.
But Pokemon Go drags us out into the real world, and bad shit happens. This week’s reminder to watch your back comes in the form of a 39-year-old North Carolina man who was jumped, severely beaten, robbed of his phone and PoGo Plus, and left for dead in the parking lot of a restaurant, according to the Winston-Salem Journal. While the Journal reports that police haven’t formally confirmed that the assault was Pokemon Go-related, his friends believe it was: The victim, Vincent Mannino, was apparently a hardcore member of the local Pokemon Go group who walked six miles a day playing the game, and the group has disclosed information about the extent of his injuries and hope for his move out of the ICU. In fact, the group has begun raising money to donate to him and his family and have planned multiple community events in his honor. To date, they’ve raised nearly $5000.
Twitch streamer Rickeybot wasn’t bothering anyone; he was just streaming a session of Pokémon Go in Central Park at night. Long-time stream audiences know that game sessions can frequently go in unexpected directions, and this once certainly did, as Rickeybot was soon introduced to a new game in which another human being assaulted him and stole his phone. While being recorded.
The suspect in the mugging has not yet been apprehended, but committing a mugging while on live camera being streamed to the Internet likely will not wind up on anyone’s list of “most intelligent crimes.”
Rickeybot himself spent time with the police and then went to the hospital to be examined for further injury, while his audience has been trying to identify the assailant based on the footage. You can view the incident in the video down below. Our best wishes are with the streamer for both the recovery of his phone and his health, and we hope this serves as something of a reminder about being mindful when you’re out catching Pokémon.
The Pokemon Go news never ends. Here’s the best of it from the last 24 hours.
- A shootout at the Pokemon Go corral took place on Monday in Vegas when two people tried to rob a group of Pokemon Go players at gunpoint… and were instead surprised to find one of the players had a gun of his own thanks to his concealed carry permit. One thief and one player were shot and hospitalized with “non-life threatening” injuries. Meanwhile, up in Canada, a woman shot at Pokemon Go players with a pellet gun up on a rooftop. No one was injured, but she was arrested.
- Someone “karped” — that is, trolled — the Pokegym in the White House with a Magikarp named… The Donald. According to Kotaku, it lasted all of two minutes. Apparently you can access that gym from outside the gate, so now the crowd of tourists out there play Pokemon instead of gawking.
- Congrats to Niantic are in order: Pokemon Go has reached 50 million downloads through Google Play — in 20 days.
- Game research firm PlayerXP apparently paid to sponsor an article on GamesIndustry.biz exploring its metrics on Pokemon Go. This is a weird thing for us to link to, but it’s one of the very few pieces out there discussing the game in anything like a negative light, in this case by balancing review scores, reported technical issues, and related searches to arrive at a very poor grade when it comes to player satisfaction with the game. (Obsession is another story. No, obsession is all the other stories.)