It's hard to say whether or not the Nintendo conglomerate could have foreseen the absolute insanity to come when they released Pokémon Go, that mobile app game that's been blowing up your timelines and newsfeeds. Either way, it's here, it's happening and New Yorkers are embracing the hype, nabbing Pokémon all over the city and setting up battle-ready gyms at local restaurants and tourist attractions. Beyond the screen, however, the game is having some very real-life effects. For better or worse, here are eight crazy things that have happened as New Yorkers try to catch 'em all.
1. Thousands of people are planning to take part in a Pokémon bar crawl in Williamsburg.
It starts at Barcade on Saturday, July 23rd at 7pm and there are over 16,000 people who have marked "interested" on Facebook.
2. You can now charter a Pikachu-shaped Pokémon bus to cover more ground faster (and in style).
The Astoria-based driver is charging anywhere from 99 cents per Pokéstop to $24.99 for a gym takeover and $99.99 to "own the hood."
3. Tons of local landmarks, shops and even fancy restaurants are now bonafide Pokémon gyms.
4. An NYC assemblyman is considering legal action against the hidden critters, according to Politico.
Brooklyn Democrat Felix Ortiz—who also backed the salt ban, hoverboard regulation and alcohol tax (sounds like a real fun guy)—says if the company behind the game doesn't fix certain public safety issues, he will introduce legislation.
5. The NYPD urges citizens to not Pokémon while driving and to stay alert at all times.
New York's Finest issued a comprehensive list of Pokémon safety tips in response to concerns about users being distracted while driving or biking. Furthermore, following several incidents of robbery across the country where the game was used to lure victims, the guide tells parents: "Be aware and tell your kids about 'stranger-danger.' The app may draw strangers together in real life at 'Pokéstops.'"
6. A self-proclaimed "professional Pokémon Go trainer" is offering her expertise to budding trainers for just $20 an hour.
Ivy St Ive is a level 15 trainer who will "walk around in 1-4 hour shifts signed in to your account capturing every single Pokémon I come into contact with, activating every Poke Stop I pass and walking nonstop to help hatch your eggs."
7. Spotify streams of Pokémon music have more than tripled in the past week.
CNET reports that the show's original theme song "Gotta Catch 'Em All" jumped 364 percent.
8. Perhaps the craziest effect of all: Pokémon Go is bringing together New Yorkers of every color and creed, and *gasp*, making them more social!
Even celebrities are getting in on the Pokémania.