LOS ANGELES — Beware: “Pokemon Go,” a new smartphone game based on cute Nintendo characters like Squirtle and Pikachu, can be harmful to your health.
The “augmented reality” game, which layers gameplay onto the physical world, became the top grossing app in the iPhone app store just days after its Wednesday release in the United States, Australia and New Zealand. Players already have reported wiping out in a variety of ways as they wander the real world — eyes glued to their smartphone screens — in search of digital monsters.
Mike Schultz, a 21-year-old communications graduate on Long Island, New York, took a spill on his skateboard as he stared at his phone while cruising for critters early Thursday. He cut his hand on the sidewalk after hitting a big crack, and blames himself for going too slowly.
“I just wanted to be able to stop quickly if there were any Pokemons nearby to catch,” he says. “I don’t think the company is really at fault.”
Kyrie Tompkins, a 22-year-old freelance web designer, fell on the sidewalk and twisted her ankle while wandering in downtown Waterville, Maine, on Thursday night.
“It vibrated to let me know there was something nearby and I looked up and just fell in a hole,” she says. Her parents had to drive her and her fiance home.