Rebecca Bernard
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We Need to Talk About Pokémon Go

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Pokemon Go at Lunch

Everyone was catching Weedles on Pokémon Go at lunch

If you’re like some of the editors at The News Wheel and a multitude of other nerdy Americans, you probably spent part of this weekend walking with your phone out, looking for tiny pocket monsters while playing Pokémon Go (when the servers weren’t overloaded). For those of us in the office who grew up wishing for the latest Pokémon game for our Game Boy Color, the new app has been a great taste of nostalgia. It doesn’t hurt that the game gets us moving and laughing with people we find awkwardly huddled near landmarks at the mall and at work, collecting items from PokéStops.

While Pokémon Go is a lot of fun, there are people who are ruining it for all of us. I’m looking at you, people playing behind the wheel.

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First of all, I’m ashamed that I have to even make this post, but I’m not really surprised. If texting while driving is an incredibly stupid practice, not to mention illegal in most states, sane humans would also assume that playing a game that requires you to find a creature and then aim and throw a ball at it would also be a highly idiotic and potentially illegal idea. If you’re behind the wheel of a car, for the love of all things holy, put the game down. No super rare Pokémon is worth you totaling your car or injuring yourself and others.

Pokémon Go is not a completely stupid game, as it can tell the difference between someone walking and someone driving, and several of the game’s features depend on walking. That means that several players, like the boyfriend of Jalopnik’s Alanis King, are creeping around neighborhoods in vehicles driving at less than 10 mph, stopping suddenly or sometimes reversing to catch Pokémon near the street. To give Ms. King’s boyfriend a sliver of credit, he was not the one behind the wheel. However, he was still directing a vehicle to make sudden stops on a roadway. Going that much slower than the speed of traffic is neither safe nor nice to surrounding cars, and quickly slamming on the brakes is a great way to cause an accident.

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While the popular story of the man stopping in the middle of the highway to catch a Pikachu and causing a pileup is not true, there have been several reports of fender benders and other traffic incidences caused by the game. If you think you’re being sneaky, countless law enforcement agencies around the country have been warning area drivers not to play and drive on social media. They know exactly what you’re doing, and you can bet a mention of Pokémon Go on an accident/arrest report will draw the attention of local media. For the sake of safety, sanity, and your reputation as a respectable adult, please play Pokémon Go on your feet at the mall, in parks, on neighborhood sidewalks, or near monuments with the rest of us.

9-11 Pokemon Go spot

I would like to know who thought this PokéSpot was a good idea

News Sources: Jalopnik and PIX11