SAN FRANCISCO — The suddenly ubiquitous Pokemon Go app is allowing people to experience the same streets through a new lens: their smartphone.
On Wednesday, the viral phenomenon took over the streets of San Francisco in what was dubbed a Pokemon Go crawl.
The Facebook event, which had more than 9,000 people RSVP, brought Pokemon enthusiasts together on a journey through San Francisco neighborhoods with a shared mission: “Gotta catch ’em all!”
The Poke-crawl included different start locations and break-off points, but all routes eventually brought players to a final destination — bars in the Mission neighborhood.
A Pokemon spirit pervaded the city. There were plenty of Pikachus running around, and local businesses adhered to the theme using slogans like “Gotta buy ’em all” and naming drinks after the Pokemon teams.
The alternate-reality-bar-crawl-fusion even included food specials, dance parties, raffles and giveaways at various locations along the way.
With thousands planning to attend, police warned people to take caution — they have had to deal with injuries and robberies as a result of the distracting nature of the game, CNN affiliate KRON reported.
The opening screen of the application asks people to watch where they’re going, but many haven’t taken the advice seriously enough in recent weeks. Two men fell off a cliff in San Diego and a man was stabbed in Oregon.
As people furiously jab at their screen, pausing and backtracking, the SFPD offered some words of wisdom:
“Do not run into trees, meters and things that are attached to the sidewalk; they hurt,” They wrote in their Pokemon Go Safety Tips.
But the safety concerns didn’t stop thousands of people from across the Bay Area from planning their hunt days before the crawl began.
“So I’m team yellow,” Pokemon Go player Gabe Perez told KRON.
“I haven’t decided my route yet. I kind of want to start in Dolores. I know there’s also another pinpoint where all the Bulbasaurs are down by the Embarcadero, but I’m looking for a Charmander so I think I will have more luck going down to Dolores. I’m trying to get myself a Charizard. I’ve got all the other ones, but I’m trying to get myself a Charizard so I got to get those candies.”
If you don’t know what any of these words mean or you’ve been living in a cave for the past two weeks, you might feel slightly disconnected. Here’s your beginners guide to Pokemon Go.