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Pokémon Go Disaster Show?

Pokemon Go Grizzly Bears.jpg

Image Credit: Nintendo & Montreal Gazette

Lately we've seen the tech industry riding a surge of nostalgia toward greater profits. Exhibit A in this phenomenon is Nintendo's Pokémon Go, an interactive application that has everyone searching for virtual Pokémon in unsuspecting places. Over the past few weeks it's become a worldwide craze, with people of all backgrounds playing the game. While some criticize Pokémon Go for encouraging players to fritter away their time in front of a mobile phone screen, others welcome the activity that this mobile app has generated. Players are spending hours outside outside rather than sitting inside, but there has also been a dangerous aspect to this all-encompassing game.

"Catching them all," as the game's motto goes, is leading distracted Pokémon seekers into ever more perilous situations. These risks go beyond the norm of poor eyesight from squinting at a screen. With this new brand of game, Pokémon Go has caused people to fall off cliffs and crash into parked police vehicles. Such injuries are just about inevitable when the real world disappears into a virtual space. This is not the first time technology has inspired significant portions of the population into risking life and limb - just think of the dangers of distracted driving with smart phones. More and more, apps are becoming so physically interactive that they seemingly swallow reality. Criminals have also taken advantage of the craze, using lures to rob unsuspecting players.

While lawsuits against Nintendo have not yet occurred, the likelihood of legal action grows as Pokémon-related incidents increase. The popular app Snapchat, for example, was subject to a lawsuit over a car crashed caused by reckless driving. It's apparently not enough to update our written feeds on Facebook or Twitter while not operating a vehicle. Snapchat videos have also been blamed for drivers losing focus on their surroundings.

Pokémon Go is a game that is only gaining popularity as participants await updates concerning new features and new Pokémon. Some are calling for more disclaimers and warnings, but the creators of this innovative app have not commented on how they can fix the population's personal fixation on the game. At least before the next absurd craze hits millennials, Pokémon Go is going nowhere anytime soon. And whatever you do, don't follow that Pikachu into the grizzly bear enclosure at the zoo.

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