PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A new twist on an old classic is taking the gaming world by storm, and police are issuing a warning to players.
If you haven’t heard about “Pokémon Go” yet, you’ll likely run into someone playing it very soon.
The app has been downloaded by millions since its debut last week and is being praised for getting young people all over the country out of their houses during summer vacation.
Pokémon rose to prominence in the late ’90s with its popular game on the Nintendo Game Boy, which was then followed by a trading card game, TV shows, movies, and all kinds of licensed merchandise.
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The mobile game acts as a virtual scavenger hunt of sorts, with players wandering about their neighborhoods on a mission to “catch ’em all.” It uses GPS and your phone’s camera to create an augmented reality environment in which virtual characters, items, and locations are projected in your path.
In the game world, real-life landmarks are used to represent “Pokéstops” and gyms, the latter of which players can battle to gain control of.
Also, different Pokémon can be found by exploring different types of terrains, such as the park or the beach.
Officials say it’s not all fun and games, unfortunately. In Missouri, thieves used the game to lure players to a location by putting up a “beacon” and robbed them at gunpoint, according to police. The teenage suspects were later arrested on armed robbery charges.
To prevent similar scenarios from happening, police are warning players to be careful who you tell your next location to. They’re also advising trainers not to trespass on private property while playing the game.
Also, for all those gamers with their heads down as they hunt for Pokémon, be sure to keep an eye on your surroundings, especially when near a roadway. And, it has to be said: don’t play Pokémon and drive.