The new Pokémon video game reboot Pokémon Go has become a pop culture sensation. Utilizing the camera and GPS on an electronic device, players must go out into the real world and seek out cute little monsters that the game says are hidden in stores, streets, behind trees, etc. (They show up superimposed in the camera’s viewfinder.) The wild search has led players to a lot more than just virtual monsters.
- A 19-year-old woman named Shayla Wiggins was playing the game in rural Wyoming. Having already caught more than 50 monsters after one day, she exhausted the parking lot and gas station near her house in Riverton and went searching for creatures the game calls “Water Pokémon” along the Big Wind River, which runs behind her house. She kept following the river, eventually walking beneath a bridge. When Wiggins finally looked up from her phone, she didn’t find a Water Pokémon, but she did find a dead body. Police do not suspect foul play, and believe the man accidentally drowned.
- The game allows players to place a “beacon” at a spot in an area where they’ve discovered lots of Pokémon, allowing other players to reap the rewards. That was reportedly the first part of the plan for four men who were arrested at a shopping center in O’Fallon, Missouri. Parked in a black BMW, they allegedly robbed at gunpoint 11 different teenagers who sought out beacons that they had artificially placed in the game.
- The Pokémon that players catch can show up virtually anytime, anywhere. For a man named Jonathan Theriot, a birdlike creature called a Pidgey appeared when he was killing time on his phone while at a hospital…while his wife was in labor on the bed next to where he sat. He shared on the website Imgur a self-deprecating picture of himself going ahead and capturing that Pidgey with the caption, “When your wife is about to have a baby and a Pokémon shows you have to low-key catch it.” The photo went viral, and it’s been viewed more than 1.7 million times.