Cherie Howie is a reporter for the Herald on Sunday.

World goes mad for Pokemon Go

Pokemon are superimposed on to the real world. Photo / Michael Craig
Pokemon are superimposed on to the real world. Photo / Michael Craig

Pokemon Go is going, all right. It's going around the world.

Since launching last week, the internet has gone mad for the game which, through a smartphone app, allows players to capture, battle, train and trade virtual Pokemon who appear through the real world.

In New Zealand, the game is currently the country's most popular sport according to search data from Google.

Wellington is the most Pokemon Go obsessed region in the country, with hundreds of fans spotted around the waterfront area over the weekend. Tasman is second, followed by Gisborne.

However, there are fears people may go to extremes to catch the virtual monsters and New Zealand Police yesterday posted a photo on its main Facebook page showing Pokemon Hitmonlee in central Auckland.

The photo is accompanied with a message to "choose safety" while out playing the popular app.

"So you gotta catch 'em all. But don't let your pursuit of virtual monsters get you into real strife. We'd like players of the new Pokemon Go game to watch out for real-world hazards while using their phones to hunt Pokemon around our communities."

That included never using the phone while driving, or stepping into the road without looking.

"Be aware of what's happening around you and respect other people and their property. Stay safe and have fun."

Pokemon Go is the most downloaded app on the app store and is tracking to have more daily users than Twitter.

Pokemon are superimposed on to the real world. Photo / Supplied
Pokemon are superimposed on to the real world. Photo / Supplied

Auckland man Ra Pomare and a mate went for a drive this week to catch some new Pokemon when they realised they weren't alone.

A photo posted to Facebook shows dozens of people - smartphones in hand - at a beachside Auckland park.

"Got a little carried away with the whole Pokemon Go thing and thought we'd drive to Mission Bay to try find some newies. Stumbled on 5 beacons and hundreds of people doing the same. In the middle of winter. Fantastic/ridiculous."

Some landmarks and monuments are designated as "pokestops", where players can pick up items such as pokeballs, eggs and potions.

Players this week discovered that the Whanganui Hells Angels headquarters has been set down as a pokestop.

A man who answered the gate at the Hells Angels club did not know what Pokemon Go was, and said to "go talk to the police".

Other strange incidents involving the game include police descending on three men playing the game in an America park at 3am, suspecting a drug deal was taking place, while in Wyoming a teen stumbled on a body in a river while playing the game.

- NZ Herald

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