‘Pokemon Go’ smartphone game craze


(AP) — Actors, athletes and musicians are alongside the millions of fans searching for Pokemon creatures.

Ellen DeGeneres, Chrissy Teigen, Demi Lovato, Steve Aoki and Soulja Boy have posted about the augmented-reality sensation on social media.

NBA player Karl-Anthony Towns had to resist the urge to pull out his smartphone at Wednesday night’s ESPY Awards to hunt for one of the cutesy pocket monsters.

On the award ceremony’s red carpet, Towns said, “I haven’t taken my phone out to play it yet, but I’ll be very upset if I missed a Pikachu around here.”

Professional snowboarder Chloe Kim says that in Oregon recently, she “spent the whole day walking around catching Pokemon because it was raining, so we couldn’t do anything. It was so fun.”

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The Japanese game maker Nintendo, which suffered as a latecomer to smartphone games, is seeing the deep wealth of its franchise characters pay off with the success of “Pokemon Go,” even without a launch yet in Japan.

Nintendo was starting to look like a casualty of history after missing both the online and mobile revolutions.

The popularity of “Pokemon Go” says much about the untapped value of cultural properties — at least when you’re lucky enough to deploy them in the right place at the right time.

The windfall could help reverse Nintendo’s fortunes, although some analysts believe its impact on the company’s revenues will be limited because the game is free apart from certain revenue-earning features.

Nintendo’s original “Pokemon” game featured adventurous wanderings through a fantasy world to collect cute, imaginary monsters. “Pokemon Go” involves finding digital creatures that pop up in the screen of your mobile device as you move about the real world.

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Police in New Hampshire’s largest city have gotten the Pokemon Go bug, trying to lure fugitives with the popular app.

A post on the Manchester Police Department Facebook page announces that police recently detected one of the more rare Pokemon characters — a Charizard — in the booking area. The post invites those whose names appear on a list linked to the post to be “one of the lucky ones” to come capture the Charizard.

The list includes the names of the more than 500 fugitives on the department’s wanted persons roundup.

Sgt. Eric Knight said Sunday the post has yet to net an arrest. But it’s been popular with its Facebook followers.

Since the post went up late Saturday night, it’s captured more than 13,000 “likes.”

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A Michigan man with a warrant for his arrest has been taken into custody after showing up at a Detroit-area police station while playing the “Pokemon Go” game.

The Detroit News reports that Milford police say the 26-year-old, who was wearing pajama pants, rode a bike to the Milford station Thursday.

Police Chief Tom Lindberg says officers recognized him because they’ve had contact with him in previous years. He was booked on a warrant for missing a court date and released. The newspaper says he was originally charged with breaking and entering.

The location-aware smartphone game gives digital incentives like “Pokeballs” as rewards for visiting real places, known as “Pokestops” and “Gyms.” According to Milford police, the station is the site of a “Gym” as part of the game.

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A man is recovering from minor injuries he suffered when he crashed his brother’s car into a tree in central New York while playing “Pokemon Go” on his smartphone.

Police in Auburn in the Finger Lakes region tell The Citizen that 28-year-old Steven Cary of Portland, Oregon, crashed late Tuesday night while playing the popular digital-monster game.

Authorities say Cary suffered a broken ankle and cuts to both legs. Police Chief Shawn Butler says his injuries could’ve been worse because the impact of the crash nearly sent the engine into the passenger compartment.

Cary was ticketed for using a mobile device while driving and failing to remain in his lane.

Butler says the car, which was totaled, belonged to Cary’s brother. The police chief says Cary was visiting his mother at the time of the crash.

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Police say a man’s body was recovered from a brook behind the New Hampshire Holocaust Memorial after it was spotted by someone playing the smartphone-app game “Pokemon Go.”

Lt. Robert Giggi tells WMUR-TV that the player was looking in obscure places in connection with the game Thursday. Giggi said apparently, that’s what “brought the person that found the victim to that area.”

An autopsy was planned.

The body was found near Rotary Park, the location of the Holocaust memorial. This week, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and Arlington National Cemetery requested that smartphone users refrain from “catching” Pokemon when they visit. The museum is a Pokestop — a place where players can get free in-game items.

Last week, a woman playing the game in Wyoming found a man’s body in a river.

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German police say they’ve arrested an 18-year-old man who was wanted for evading a prison sentence after he ventured out to play the newly launched “Pokemon Go” smartphone game with friends.

Police in Trier, on Germany’s western border, said the group’s “peculiar behavior” as they played the game in the city on Friday prompted officers to check their papers.

The 18-year-old initially gave a false identity but police quickly established that there was an arrest warrant out for him. He was detained and is now serving a six-month prison sentence he had previously avoided serving — police wouldn’t specify for what.

The app was officially rolled out in Germany earlier this week.

The game has sparked a frenzy of players wandering around U.S. cities hunting for “pocket monsters” to fight.

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Power companies are warning players of the “Pokemon Go” smartphone app to stay away from electrical facilities.

AEP Ohio is cautioning players after learning that discussions were suggesting electric-type Pokemon could be caught near substations and transformers. The company says such facilities are dangerous and not to be considered gaming locations.

Meanwhile, the Baldwin Electric Membership Cooperative in Alabama says electric utilities cannot control where the Pokemon appear, making it important for players to make sure they catch their Pokemon safely.

Baldwin EMC spokesman Mark Ingram says the company hasn’t received any calls about players visiting substations looking to catch Pokemon, but is trying to be proactive about warning users of the dangers they could face around electrical equipment.

The statement also says parents should talk to children who play the game about how to be safe around electricity.

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An animal shelter is asking “Pokemon Go” players to walk an adoptable dog as they wander the streets of an eastern Indiana city doing battle with digital monsters on their smartphones.

The idea is the brainchild of Phil Peckinpaugh, superintendent of Muncie Animal Shelter. He noticed people shuffling along as they played the addictive game and thought “it would be awesome” if they each had a dog to walk.

Peckinpaugh posted the idea on Facebook, asking: “Trying to Hatch an Egg or Catch Rare Pokemon? Come down to the Muncie Animal Shelter to walk one of our dogs while you get your steps in! Just come to the front desk and say you are here for the Pokemon dogs!” His post was widely shared.

“This is a great way to get more volunteers in and helping them (the dogs) get the exercise that they need,” said Adrienne West, who drove 45 minutes from Upland to walk a 3-year-old pit bull named Maya as she tried to catch a weedle — a larva Pokemon character.

Peckinpaugh says he bought 20 new leashes to cope with the increase in demand, which is fortunate because 73 “Pokemon Go” players heeded the call Wednesday and turned up to exercise hounds, including one who adopted a dog.

“I hope this ‘Pokemon Go’ isn’t something that lasts a couple weeks,” he said. “I hope the shelter becomes a hot spot.”

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