Every time you turn on “Pokemon Go,” the first thing you see is a picture of a trainer about to obliviously walk into a monster’s mouth, alongside the warning: “Remember to be alert at all times. Be aware of your surroundings.”
But that doesn’t necessarily mean people are listening. The game is revolutionary, fun, highly-addictive … and sometimes, a bit dangerous. Below, 10 things that have gone horribly wrong to players who often had eyes on their phone rather than the real life around them — read up and learn how to be the very best without putting yourself in harm’s way.
Hundreds of people getting together in Central Park in the middle of the night to search for Pokemon? Fun! But watch out if a high-value asset is spotted somewhere nearby, because the game could suddenly turn into an old-fashioned gold rush. As dangerous as that can be, you have to admire the guy who jumped out of his car, leaving his engine running.
Losing your job
It’s easy to lose hours playing “Pokemon Go,” and all the exercise of walking around is definitely a plus. But you might want to put the brakes on before you reach the level of Tom Currie, a New Zealand bartender who quit his job because it was getting in the way of his Pokemon hunts.
“When I resigned, I didn’t tell my manager I was going out into the world to hunt Pokemon,” he tells Newsbeat, admitting that his parents are “a little bit baffled.”
As the old saying goes for the dearly departed: “Rest in Peace.” Folks, there’s a reason why we don’t say: “Rest in Peace among dozens of phone-staring zombies walking all over your grave while they attempt to locate a Pikachu.”
Playing the game, GPS technology steers you into certain areas where Pokemon are located. But according to Florida TV station WESH, the game seems to be a bit obsessed with the Greenwood cemetery in Orlando. There’s even a gym located among the graves.
“They’ll be cutting right through graves, moving toward funerals,” the cemetery caretaker tells the station. “They’re so enamored, effaced with their game.”
Finding dead bodies
The only good thing about the problem above is that the bodies of the deceased remain six feet underground. In other instances, “Pokemon Go” players wandering around real-world, often secluded locations have discovered dead bodies.
First came the well-chronicled discovery by a teen of a dead body in a Wyoming river, then another player spotted a corpse floating in a New Hampshire brook. It happened again recently in Denmark in a drainage canal.
It’s no coincidence that all three of these discoveries happened near water, as the game places elusive “Water Types” near such locations. But be careful: No Blastoise is worth wandering into a horror movie.
Getting in a car accident
Let’s be brutally honest here: The game seems to reward players who drive, albeit it slowly, in traffic. If you can trick the game into thinking you’re just a fast walker, it’s not uncommon to have Pokemon pop up at traffic lights.
However, playing while driving is a horrifically stupid idea! Don’t do it, people — you might just end up like this Baltimore resident who drove into a police car.
Breaking and entering
We may all have a fun new game to play, but that doesn’t mean the rules of real life have been suspended. So, if you break into a zoo, telling the cops afterwards that you were playing “Pokemon Go” won’t get you out of trouble. And if you wander into a tiger cage, good luck explaining to the beast that you’re just there to grab a quick Eevee.
The idea of “Pokemon Go” is to let your creatures battle for you, while you sit back like a Roman emperor at a safe distance. So, when an Oregon man was walking around at 1 a.m. looking for Pokemon and saw a man approach him with a knife, he later realized that asking the guy if he was playing too was probably a bad idea.
“I saw him go by and asked if he was playing ‘Pokemon Go.’ He was like ‘what?’” 21-year-old Michael Baker tells KPTV. “I guess he wanted to battle, because he came up at me with a knife.”
The craziest part about this story? After he was stabbed, Baker kept playing.
Being mistaken for thieves
Keep in mind that we live in America, folks, the land of gun-wielding homeowners who don’t want strangers on their front lawns. Recently in Florida, two teens were shot at by a man who thought they might have been robbers when they were hanging around outside his house at 1:30 a.m. The bottom line? In the middle of the night you should be dreaming about Pokemon, not looking for them in strange yards.
Falling off a cliff
Remember the second part of that game-intro warning? “Be aware of your surroundings”? That would particularly apply to cliffs, rooftops and other places where a misstep could spell the literal end of your game.
Stepping on a landmine
Thankfully, not much of an issue if you live in the United States. If you happen to find yourself in Bosnia and Herzegovina, however, it might be a good idea to save your data usage — and your life — and listen to the Bosnian demining groups who are urging players to only play in safe areas.