Culture

Australian Police Are Already Issuing Warnings About Pokémon Go

Stop trying to get Pokeballs from the cop shop.

With this week’s release of augmented reality game Pokémon Go, nerds across the country finally have something to do other than furiously refresh the Australian Electoral Commission’s website and wait for an election result (Disclaimer: I am one of those nerds). Australians absolutely flooded the game’s servers, bringing them to a standstill numerous times, and have gotten so caught up in the game even the police are now involved.

If you’re a ’90s kid the release of Pokémon Go is basically the biggest story since the Spice Girls announced they were doing a reunion tour. No longer is catching Pokémon something you can only do in a game on a tiny handheld gaming device. Thanks to the wonders of augmented reality, GPS and smartphones you can catch Pokémon in real life too! Yeah! Gotta catch ’em all! All of them! Yeah, Pokémon!

The game requires players to walk around their cities, keeping an eye on their phone for the nearest Pokémon and when they get close enough, throwing a virtual Pokéball to try and catch. The aim of the game is to try and catch as many Pokémon as possible and take over virtual “gyms” which are located in real life landmarks around the world, including The Whitehouse.

If you thought that thousands of people walking around the streets of major cities, glued to their phones, trying to catch virtual Pokémon might cause some sort of safety and congestion issues you would be absolutely right. The Northern Territory police have taken a break from wrestling crocodiles to remind locals that “It’s a good idea to look up, away from your phone and both ways before crossing the street.”

The Darwin police station is also labelled in game as a “Pokéstop”, where players can stock up on supplies, but the NT police have helpfully pointed out that people don’t actually need to enter the police station to get new Pokéballs. Given that the game encourages players to get out and about, there are already a few people wondering how long before we see first Pokémon Go related car accident.

Pokémon Go has already topped both the Apple and Android app store charts and doesn’t look like trending down in popularity anytime soon. If you’re an active player please make sure to stay safe and look both ways before crossing. Also, don’t accidentally enter police stations while you’re hunting for Pokéballs. They aren’t real and the police have better things to do. If you haven’t gotten onboard with the game yet you better get used to most of your Facebook feed consisting of photos of people in their living rooms trying to catch tiny flaming lizards.