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Pokemon Go launched across the pond last week and already they've got their first case of "wait, someone playing the game did what, now?" A group of teenagers decided to go hunting in a complex network of caves and, well, you can probably guess where this story is going.
This news comes to us courtesy of BBC News, who are reporting that a trio of teens in Hawthorn, Wiltshire, took a Pokemon Go hunting trip a bit too far. And by "too far," I mean "too far underground."
Pokemon Go launched last Thursday in the UK, so maybe players in the region haven't seen all of the "play smart" messages we've been getting here in the US. Still, you'd think that common sense would come into play here. I mean, these guys were 16 and 17 years old and should probably know better.
Anyway, as the story goes, they decided to go out hunting for Pokemon and, apparently not understanding how the game or satellites work, thought they might find some especially rare Pokemon Go creatures hidden in a nearby underground mine.
According to the rescue party, these mines cover an area of about 72 square miles and are full of intricate systems of intertwining tunnels. Thankfully, the trio of teens made their way into an area known as "the Cathedral," where they were able to get a signal and call for help.
Rescuers were able to lower the boys some water and radios for easier communication while a mine expert was contacted to head into the caves and fish the boys out. In an odd sort of way, it's like that mine expert was playing his own version of Pokemon Go, only with real people who really need to rethink their actions.
The initial report claims that the boys were "glum and embarrassed" upon emerging from the cave, which makes a heck of a lot of sense. Pokemon Go works off of satellites and mapping from Google Earth. It doesn't know every nook and cranny of the world and the developers certainly didn't program the game to drop rare Pokemon in hard-to-reach places like underground mines. On top of that, if you know your phone isn't going to work 100 feet underground, why would you expect to be able to play the game beneath the Earth's surface?
Maybe it seems like I'm being harsh, but pretty much every reported case like this tied to Pokemon Go usually results in a reaction of "well, duh." Perhaps I wouldn't be so disappointed if it wasn't for the fact that one of the rescuers blamed the game, rather than the teens who decided to go spelunking for Pokemon. He said that Pokemon Go is "leading people into dangerous situations," and that things are "likely to escalate" if people follow the rules of the game.
The first "rule" on the screen is to always be aware of your surroundings. Instances like these aren't the fault of Pokemon Go. They are clearly user error.