On Saturday mornings, I like to fill my travel mug with three shots of espresso and take a stroll through Gibbons Park, which is down the road from my apartment in London, Ontario. In winter, when the park is deep in snow, I often see cross‐country skiers, sledders, and hardy dog walkers. In summer, when the flowers are out, I know to be on the lookout for speedy cyclists, sweaty joggers, and runaway toddlers. But the other day on my morning meandering, I came across something unexpected: numerous small and scattered gatherings of people, young, and old, all staring intently at their smartphones.
… my beloved park had become a PokéStop and my quiet contemplative morning was now a victim of Pokémania.
At first, I thought it was some sort of public scavenger hunt or a community garbage pickup with more texting than picking going on. But listening to the iPhone itinerants quickly solved the riddle. “Quick”, shouted a young girl, “there's a Bulbasaur in that big tree”. “Yes”, screamed a middle‐aged father, “I finally caught a Zubat”. “I can't believe it”, cried an older woman by a swing set, “I've wasted three Poké Balls on a Doduo!” Then and there I realized the problem: My beloved park had become a PokéStop and my quiet contemplative morning was now a victim of Pokémania.
As almost everyone on Earth now knows, Pokémon Go is a free‐to‐play game for mobile devices, which blends virtual reality with the real world (Fig 1D). Users download the app, create an avatar, and then hit the streets trying to find and catch a wide diversity of fictional Pokémon species, from Magikarp, which lives by bodies of water, to Sandshrew, which frequents deserts and other hot spots. According to Apple, Pokémon Go has broken the App …