RIFLE, Colo — Just when you thought texting and driving was obnoxious and dangerous, the new rage in town is playing Pokemon Go and driving. There have been numerous accidents reported in and around the Rifle area since the game’s release on July 6th.
One driver was so distracted, she drove into the Colorado River. Another man drove into a neighbor’s tree and was treated for a broken arm and lacerations to his forehead.
Pokémon Go (stylized Pokémon GO) is a free-to-play, location-based augmented reality game and used on iOS and Android devices. It was initially released in selected countries last month.
In the game, players use a mobile device’s GPS capability to locate, capture, battle, and train virtual creatures, called Pokémon, who appear on the screen as if they were in the same real-world location as the player.
“This is so cool!” one guy said, without taking his eyes away from the game and walked smack into Railroad Avenue, almost getting his by traffic.
There has even been a group that has formed in Sayre Park, in which nobody actually talks to each other, but sits around in a circle concentrating on their phones.
One couple was arrested by the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office when the 27-year-old husband and his 25-year- old wife, left their two-year-old son home alone with only Bernie the Boxer to watch after him, while they went out in the neighborhood to play Pokemon Go. Deputies responded to the home at 10 p.m. that evening after a neighbor saw the little boy outside and no one appeared to be home.
The game has experienced enormous popularity and became an overnight sensation with more than 75 million people worldwide having downloaded the game, although critics say it has contributed to accidents and is a public nuisance.
The Rifle police chief said the game’s addicting qualities are quite alarming, as players travel around while looking at their phone’s screen with complete disregard to their surroundings.
“There have been rumors of a new help group forming, called PGA. Pokemon Go Anonymous,” he said.
According to a popular gaming website, there are seven stages of Pokemon Go addiction.
• Rather play Pokemon Go than talk to your spouse
• Sleep in bed with your Pokemon Go
•Incorporating the word “Poke” in every conversation you have.
“Poke” is not a verb.
Getting up in the middle of the night to play Pokemon Go.
Giving up Facebook to play Pokemon Go.
Chanting “Pokemon for President!”
“I think we’re gong to start a support group here in Rifle for the Pokemon Go addicts,” one behavioral counselor suggested. “This game is wreaking havoc all over the city.”