KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s a worldwide phenomenon, and Kansas City is part of the craze. Pokémon Go instantly became one of the most popular mobile apps in the world, and continues to grow in popularity.
As the folks playing the game become a common sight in major cities, stories of game mishaps are also becoming more common.
A Pokémon Go player in Wyoming stumbled upon a dead body while she was searching for Pokémon, and armed robbers used the app to target players in St. Louis. Police in our own metro area have been called on reports of suspicious people walking around at night, only to find that they’re playing the game.
FOX 4’s Judy Le hit the streets of KC to learn more about the game, and it didn’t take long to find some aspiring Pokémon masters.
The only way to enter the world of Pokémon, is through your phone. Depending on where you are and the time of day, Pokémon will appear around you.
“It kind of fulfills a childhood dream to go out and catch Pokémon. It’s kind of cool in that way,” said Jackson Brigham who started playing the game five days ago.
“It’s the closest you can get to the real thing. Walking around in the real world catching Pokémon. It’s fun,” said Daniel Cole.
The idea of the game is explore your world. City of Olathe tweeted out Pidgey and Oddish sightings. There was a meeting in downtown Lee’s Summit that drew in hundreds.
“There were a lot of people walking around playing the game, especially by city hall and the train tracks in Lee’s Summit. Just huge groups of people,” said Trever Jensen.
This game has the potential to cause real life problems. In Liberty, officers stopped a man wandering around a cul-de-sac around two in the morning who was playing the game. The unusual behavior could be misunderstood.
“Maybe you’ve got your head down and you’re looking at your phone, holding your phone up. I think people might misinterpret that. They’re not going to automatically know that you’re just playing a game,” said Capt. Andy Hedrick with the Liberty Police Dept.
Hedrick said officers also witnessed a near car accident.
“They were trying to catch Pokémon, but they’re driving. It’s a bad idea to stay in moving vehicle. I think if you’re driving and trying to do this, I suggest people stop,” he said.
Walking across streets and driving becomes more dangerous because eyes are often glued to phones. That’s why most of these players travel in groups, like these strangers who met on the plaza.
“You can set up lures and things like that to draw Pokémon near you which will then draw people near you. I set some of those up and so while we’re street performing, people will walk up because I’m drawing people into our area,” said Cole.
Cole plays in a band called Run With It. He used Pokémon as opportunity to play the game and also spread the word about his music.
There are three teams you can ally yourself with — Yellow, Red, or Blue. But there’s a common goal: “Gotta catch them all.”
The little creatures are everywhere, even in the FOX 4 newsroom.
The game has already been downloaded more times on Android than Tinder, and it’s on its way to overtaking Twitter, Forbes reported.
Pokémon Go players also have spent an average of 43 minutes per day using the app, compared to 30 minutes on WhatsApp, 25 minutes on Instagram, and 12 minutes on Facebook Messenger.
In real world dollars, Nintendo’s market value grew by a whopping $7.5 billion dollars in two days.