Well, Pokémon Go continues its reign as the most popular thing in the history of mankind, so rather than turn The A.V. Club into The Pokémon Go Club Featuring Game Of Thrones, we’ve put together a fun roundup of all the Pokémon Go news you’ll need to satiate your hunger for at least the next couple of hours or so. Basically, this is like a huge Pokéstop, but instead of giving you a fresh supply of Pokéballs, it’s spitting out stories about Pokémon Go. Or maybe it’s like spotting a patch of rustling leaves on the Pokémon Go map, but when you get there you find a bunch of interesting stories instead of another damn Rattata. Anyway, let’s do this.
Starting on the fun and silly side of things, The Telegraph is reporting that a guy named Jonathan Theriot decided to stave off some of the typical boredom that men experience while their wives endure the stress of childbirth by logging on to Pokémon Go. Much to his surprise, he spotted a little Pidgey hopping around right next to his wife (who is just laying there and not catching any Pokémon). Naturally, he posted a screenshot on Imgur:
Colin Meloy from The Decemberists has also joined in the fun, posting a photo of bassist Nate Query catching a friendly Venonat on Instagram, and the U.S. Marines even tweeted a picture of an adorable Pikachu staring down the barrel of a rifle. Ooh rah, little guy!
New York’s Central Park has apparently been taken over by nerds (much to the chagrin of the city’s high-priced dog-walkers and hansom cab drivers, we assume), but for people who aren’t lucky enough to live in a city as big as New York, Gizmodo says that people are posting offerings for Uber-like rides to all of the hottest Pokémon Go locations on Craigslist. This is obviously a great way to get murdered (especially in light of the armed robbery story from earlier today), but that’s just the risk you have to take if you want to be the very best, like no one ever was. Plus, walking kind of sucks, so figuring out a way around Go’s most torturous game mechanic is probably a smart idea.
Meanwhile, down in Kansas, (as reported by Kotaku) some brave Pokémaster has conquered the controversy-fueled and famously intolerant Westboro Baptist Church with a Clefairy named “LoveIsLove.” The Westboro Baptist Church has never found a situation it couldn’t turn into free publicity, so it decided to take this opportunity to rage against a fictional little monster that is somehow “a sodomite.” As part of this weirdly specific Clefairy defamation campaign, the church also posted a Vine of Jigglypuff (who is OK for some reason) singing about how Clefairy is evil. In other words, Westboro Baptist Church is gonna Westboro Baptist Church.
On the less fun and/or righteous side of things, the Chicago Tribune has a story about people getting hurt while looking for Pokémon, and there have even been multiple stories about people getting in trouble at work for Go-related reasons. According to The Daily Dot, a young guy working at a “banking/IT” company who is absolutely forbidden from using his phone’s camera while on the job decided to ignore that rule so he could catch a wild Zubat (of all things). He got caught, and the higher-ups at his company confiscated his phone and sent it away to make sure he didn’t photograph any confidential data.
Now—assuming the story is real—there’s a chance he’ll get fired, but in Singapore, a guy already lost his job for complaining about not playing Pokémon Go. The game isn’t available in Singapore, and according to Mashable, a guy named Sonny Truyen posted the following message on Facebook: “You can’t fucking catch Pokémon in this piece of fucking shit country.” Angry Singaporeans tracked down where Truyen works and complained, with the company eventually issuing an apology and explaining that Truyen had been fired.
That’s all still a little fun in a schadenfreude way, but post on Gawker’s Black Bag subsection explains that there’s actually some pretty bananas surveillance stuff going on with Pokémon Go. For starters, if you’re playing it on iOS and you log in with Google, the game gets full access to everything on your account. Internet people have latched onto this as proof of an elaborate conspiracy (because everything’s an elaborate conspiracy to internet people), but it actually gets a little spooky as you read into it. For one thing, the developers at Niantic can “disclose any information about you” to “government or law enforcement officials or private parties.” Plus, Niantic founder John Hanke apparently has some connections to the CIA and shadowy surveillance organizations, which—to these internet people—suggests that the game is just a relatively obvious way for the government (or whoever) to trick people into photographing people or places that may have some value to the intelligence community.
— dade (@0xdade) July 11, 2016
This can mostly be avoided if you create a separate account through the Pokémon website, but that’ll mean losing all of your progress. On the other hand, you could just not play Pokémon Go, but then you’ll be left in the cultural dust. Either way, let’s all just stop talking about it for at least the rest of the day, okay?