Pokemon Go’ Phenomena

Pokemon Go’ Phenomena

Phenomena is defined by dictionary.com as, “a plural of phenomenon.” A phenomenon in the singular is anything that is extraordinary, extremely unusual. The word comes to mind, in its plural, when I consider what’s happening to people (people: the plural of person, i.e., Buku people) who are playing “Pokemon Go.” Just today I read a news article entitled, “’Pokemon Go’ Players Attacked by Robbers Launch Pepper Spray Campaign.”

Two “Pokemon Go” players Josh and Sean (last names were not used to protect their identity), were attacked by armed robbers in Lakewood, California, in early July 2016. The police report states that the two were walking home after playing the game on their smartphones about 2:30 a.m. when a tan vehicle came alongside them. A man with a gun exited the vehicle and demanded their personal property. As it happened, Sean, is a US Marine veteran and pulled out his knife and jumped on the man. Although Sean suffered a broken nose and fat lip during the scuffle, the suspect with the gun jumped back into his car and tried to run over the two. The suspect was not successful and fled the scene.

On today’s date, Josh and Sean started a GoFund Me campaign for “Project Protect Go!” It is their attempt to raise $600 to purchase pepper spray and distribute among fellow gamers, who like them, have been swept away by the “Pokemon Go” phenomenon. The augmented reality game has players running around towns and country sides tracking and snatching at monsters on a smartphone as they appear in previously mundane locations, i.e., museums, libraries, and, etc.

In their pursuits, many are so focused on their hunt for monsters that they inadvertently jeopardy their safety. CNBC on July 12, 2016, reported that a 19-year- old girl in Wyoming who was caught up in the game hunting monsters discovered a body floating in a nearby river. In Missouri, four suspects were charged with armed robbery after targeting their victims through the game. “Using the geolocation feature of the Pokemon Go app, the robbers were able to anticipate the location and level of seclusion of unwitting victims,” O’Fallon Police Sergeant Bill Stringer said in a release, according to Reuters.

The game is truly a phenomenon. Journalist Matt Kamen, writing for “Wired” looks at the data. Kamen writes, “Social media tracking service Brandwatch has followed the Pokémon Go phenomenon since the game started rolling out around the world, and handily converted it into infographics;” The surge of chatter about the game has exploded. Again Kamen reports, “Tracking mentions of the game on social media between July 4-10, Pokémon Go went from zero to more than 1,250,000 in a single day, and more than 4.5 million mentions in total over
the period. The volume of mentions doubled roughly every two days, and the hashtag #PokémonGo made 5,982,616,734 impressions during that period.” That’s crazy. Or should I say, “That’s phenomenal!”