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2016 was an eventful year. Besides the political “red wave” that our neighbours to the south experienced, a different wave swooped over the world, and it had to do with the highest earning media franchise in history: Pokemon.
The launch of Pokemon GO saw an Onyxpected boom to the franchise, as millions grabbed their phones and experienced the Pokemon world through a new augmented reality technology that saw generations of fans cling to the game like a Magnemite.
But this had some Ghastly real world consequences. Namely, Pokemon trainers around the world we’re getting themselves into situations they weren’t supposed to be in, often by trespassing into areas they had no business being in, because Wynaut?
This even included Canadian military bases. According to Master Cpl. Daniel Boyd, on the night of July 10, 2016, he spotted something that was potentially suspicious around the Canadian Forces Base around 350 kilometers north of Toronto.
Two people, making suspicious U-turns around the military facility in an unknown van. Boyd, who went up to the driver window to take a peek at who was operating the vehicle, discovered two men holding their phones, each with the trendy Pokemon GO on their screens.
At Pokemon GO’s launch, the game indiscriminately told users to explore their communities and capture Pokemon, regardless of if the location was a park, a cemetery, or a highly secured military base.
According to documents obtained by the CBC, the Canadian Armed Forces even issued a public warning to Pokemon GO players attempting to Weedle around their bases, instructing players to stay off military bases and property.
Now, nearly four years after the CBC filed an access to information request Seaking the full story, the complete 471 pages of files about Pokemon GO have been released.
The formerly Seel’d documents themselves sound rather confused about the whole situation, as the military was apparently unprepared and undereducated on the global phenomenon known as Pokémon GO, and the last thing the military wanted to do was hurt themselves in their confusion.
“Plse advise the Commissionaires that apparently Fort Frontenac is both a PokeGym and a PokeStop. I will be completely honest in that I have no idea what that is,” wrote Maj. Jeff Monaghan at CFB Kingston.
“The game’s premise seems to be going to the ‘PokeStops/Gyms’ to collect ‘Pokemon’s’ (we should almost hire a 12-year-old to help us out with this) of which we were able to find 5 of these things on the range road itself,” the internal communications went on.
“There’s a game out there taking off like gangbusters, and it requires people to move to digitally cached locations to get points, etc.”
We assure you while all of this does sound Farfetch’d, it’s all real.
Eight days after Pokemon Go launched, the military police in Canada issued a criminal intelligence advisory.
“It has been discovered that several locations within DND/CAF establishments are host to game landmarks (PokeStops and Gyms) and its mythical digital creatures (Pokemon),” the report read.
After two tweets after the game’s release, military police say they had a large boost in “suspicious activity,” including one woman allowing her children to climb up on Octillary equipment.
“One lady at the Worthington Tank Park was playing the game whilst the 3 children with her were climbing all over the tanks.”
The frequency of military bases being used as PokeStops in GO led to officials at CFV North Bay to even file a complaint with the game’s developer, Niantic.
“With the implementation of this PokeStop, there will be an increase in traffic onto the base, which could have a negative impact on 22 Wing’s Mission,” the request stated.
Pokemon GO remains popular, even years later. According to estimates by SuperData Research, in May 2018, the game had $104 million in monthly revenue and had 147 million monthly active trainers, its highest since Summer 2016.