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Pokemon Go is bringing the world together in an immersive experience that transcends the gaming world. Yet it is hard to ignore the far-reaching controversies that the app has spawned.

The newest addition to the Nintendo franchise, Pokemon Go has reportedly caused trespassing, robberies, and numerous vehicle crashes. Naturally, the game has created controversy among many of its players.

In fact, at M-A, students had interesting stories to share about their experiences with the game. Alex Oesterling, a junior, recalls an experience he and his dad had while at Santa Monica Pier. “Someone yelled, ‘Charizard! [a rare pokemon in the game]’ We sprinted up some blocks to catch it and as we ran, people were asking us what Pokemon it was, and we said, ‘Charizard.’ They all flooded into the street and the traffic guard was yelling and it was very chaotic.”

The Pokemon Go craze is not limited to a specific demographic, and has consequently become omnipresent in all forms of social media and pop culture. Often, the controversy surrounding the game arises from its players prioritizing the game above other important things. This obsession with Pokemon continues to create unsafe or peculiar situations, especially with the law.

Junior Colin Scioscia played the game for much of the summer after the app launched. Along his journey to ‘catch ‘em all’, he encountered some unusual and amusing circumstances. “One time we [Scioscia and friends] were playing Pokemon at the Stanford Mall and a cop pulled up and got out and asked, ‘What are you guys doing here at 1:30 in the morning?’ We all sort of held up our phones and said we were playing Pokemon. He said, ‘That’s what I thought. Have a good night and be safe.”

Scioscia’s story, while amusing and harmless in this particular case, reveals the difficulty that law enforcement might have when handling the Pokemon fad. As far as dealing with people on their phones, this is not new territory, however, at the magnitude at which the game is played, it becomes harder to enforce safety rules, like jaywalking and safe driving.

In this regard, Menlo Park has remained safe and controlled throughout the Pokemon launch, but Pokemon Go may not be the last of its kind. Built on an augmented reality platform, allowing players to see a reality that others do not, Pokemon Go may be only the beginning, as the first popular app to bring this platform to a mass audience.

So, in your quest to catch ‘em all, please be safe and cautious. Remember that there are more important things than that Pikachu that just appeared on your screen.

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