Pokemon GO might just start a worldwide craze - and if an Australian police station's involvement with the game is any indication, that craze is already beginning.
When Nintendo and Niantic first paired together to announce the development of Pokemon GO, an alternate reality game for mobile devices everywhere, the news deservedly generated an incredible amount of hype in the gaming community. Pokemon GO represents a potentially industry-altering step forward for the franchise, and follow-up reports about trainer battles and how players can become a Pokemon GO gym leader did nothing to quell excitement levels. When Pikachu and company attempt to shake up the video game scene, the world takes notice.
Perhaps, however, the world could do with a few reminders about how to behave even when there's a new Pokemon to capture only minutes down the street. The Darwin Police Station's staff in Australia, which is one of the lucky areas where Pokemon GO is available now, certainly seems to think so. The Police Station's media team took to Facebook to remind people that while the building might serve as a Pokestop - an area players can visit to get more Pokeballs and capture Pokemon - gamers don't actually need to enter the building in order to access either feature. The police force, who seem to be taking the whole situation in stride, expanded on their message to include some safety tips:
"It's also a good idea to look up, away from your phone and both ways before crossing the street. That Sandshrew isn't going anywhere fast."
Good advice from experts on the subject of civilian safety, then. Of course, showing up uninvited at a police station in Australia isn't the only way to get more Pokeballs - Pokemon GO features microtransactions that allow players to spend small amounts of real world money in order to acquire important in-game items, including the most crucial accessory in any aspiring Pokemon trainer's arsenal.
Although a local Australian police station needing to address a sudden influx of Pokemon trainers is a nod to the game's obvious popularity, it still remains to be seen if Pokemon GO is the mobile Pokemon game fans have wanted for years now. Early beta reports have been promising, but it will be interesting to see how the game performs under the stress of many more players, and whether or not the battles and Gym Leader features can hold strong under the weight of fan expectation for both of them.
For those of us lucky enough to be playing Pokemon GO right now, and to those who will jump into the title as soon as it's available in their region: always be safe while playing an alternate reality game like Pokemon GO. No Pokemon, not even Mewtwo itself, is worth causing a traffic accident over.
What do you think about the Darwin Police Station's handling of a humorous, if not inconvenient, situation? Are you surprised that many people are causing havoc over a Sandshrew of all Pokemon? Let us know in the comments below.
Pokemon GO is available now in select regions for mobile devices.