July 12, 2016

Dennou Coil redux

So you thought Dennou Coil was just a TV show, eh?

Pokemon Go is making people do crazy things. An American in Iraq who is fighting against ISIS captured a pokemon on his cell phone. People have been hunting for pokemon in the Holocaust museum in DC, to the point where the museum has publicly asked them all to stop. (Reportedly someone captured a poison-gas pokemon there, but other people are saying they think it's a hoax.)

I wonder who will be the first to capture a pokemon inside the White House? or the Pentagon?

Cell phone use in public places is already obnoxious, and it's about to get worse.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Weird World at 09:40 AM | Comments (14) | Add Comment
Post contains 113 words, total size 1 kb.


I'm on leave this week, but I should probably talk to our operations staff to see if we've had anybody trying to catch a Squirtle in the Bonneville forebay or something since Pokémon Go came out.

I'm also wondering if anybody's had a close call chasing a Pokémon on the railroad tracks yet.

(Huh.  The Windows 10 autocorrect puts the accent mark on the "e" in Pokémon.)

Posted by: CatCube at July 12, 2016 10:16 AM (fa4fh)

2 At our monthly "All Hands" meeting this morning, the director of IT security briefed us on the grave security threat posed by this game.  Not the fact that on some phones it requires too much access to your personal info. 

Instead, his main concern was that apparently the gazebo in back of our building (used for lunch and smoke breaks) is listed as a hot spot for catching rare Pokemon.  He is worried that unsavory people will mingle with employees while hunting, and possibly overhear sensitive conversations (which are already prohibited outside the office, unless you are a Clinton).

Posted by: Siergen at July 12, 2016 12:59 PM (De/yN)


How soon before the "WOWGOLD!" groups start camping on Pokemon Go hot spots? I guess it would be a bit more of a problem because you have to be on the spot physically.

I can imagine this getting out of hand rapidly if hotspots start appearing places like the middle of Times Square, or the lobby of the NYT, or the White House Rose Garden.

Or the middle of a runway at LaGuardia. Oh, the fun we could have if we hacked the Pokemon Go server and started placing hotspots in wonderful locations like the middle of the Golden Gate Bridge. Or the front lawn of someone we hate.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 12, 2016 02:14 PM (+rSRq)

4 Players camping at hotspots probably won't be feasible at least until Niantic opens up a trading function.

There are two types of hotspots: Gyms and Pokestops. Gyms are where players can fight Pokemon left there by other players, taking the Gym and leaving their own Pokemon to defend it. The bonus for having a Pokemon there is 10 Pokecoins (each Pokecoin costing from 99/100ths to about 20/29ths of a cent, depending on how many you buy) and some Stardust, which can be used to make Pokemon a little stronger. This bonus is claimable every 21 hours, so it's not really feasible as a source of revenue. (By the way, according to this site the White House does have a Gym.)

Pokestops provide a few consumable items with each use, and is reusable after a few minutes. The key is that there's an item called the Lure Module that can be applied to a Pokestop that attracts Pokemon to it, and any player near it benefits. (I'm not 100% sure on this, but I'm given to understand that all players can get their own copy of any particular spawn, but that higher-level players get stronger versions.)

At its cheapest, it's about $1.18 an hour to keep a Lure Module active. In theory, once trading opens up, groups can camp an area and gather Pokemon to trade online for revenue. Depending on how much Pokemon end up going for, this might be worth farming by groups.

There is farming going on already, but not by groups of players. Because it's easy to tell when a Lure Module has been applied, businesses have been using Lure Modules to attract customers. Unfortunately, robbers have used the same method as well.

Posted by: mp122984 at July 12, 2016 07:52 PM (AXGJ5)

5 People camping the way the WOWGOLD guys do certainly can't happen until there's a way to transfer pokemons from one person to another. But I can imagine people doing it just to get ahead. It's a pretty day and there's a hotspot in a park, so go there with a book and your phone and read until a new spawn happens, and acquire a new one. Keep it up until dinner

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 12, 2016 09:25 PM (+rSRq)

6 Saw a couple hipsters wandering the Barrio with their focus entirely on their phones near our plant today. This can only end poorly.

Posted by: Will at July 13, 2016 06:09 PM (D6ny+)


As I understand it, this is one of those Free* games, where you can download and run it for free but there are loads of things you are supposed to decide you need to buy in-game with real-world currency. Is that right?

I'm not capable of going out anymore; I can't really walk any more and I haven't been outside since last Fall. But I wonder if I were to load the thing, if I could see a pokemon out of any of my windows? That would be weird. Maybe I'll try it and see.

(The weirdest thing, of course, would be to try it and discover one in my living room. That's unlikely since I'm on the second floor of a three story building, even if the map position lucked into this location.)

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 13, 2016 07:30 PM (+rSRq)

8 Yes, it's free with paid boosters to lure pokemons to you and (I think) help you catch and train them.

One of the girls at my office found one right on her desk.  There must be a bit of give to the GPS co-ordinates.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at July 13, 2016 07:42 PM (PiXy!)

9 That's unlikely since I'm on the second floor of a three story building...

As I was listening to the sports radio station I am wont to indulge in this evening, the evening host was interviewing his video game expert in-studio about PGo.  As they were talking, the game expert found a pokemon and took a photo.

They're on the 12th floor of Two Prudential Plaza.

Posted by: Wonderduck at July 13, 2016 07:42 PM (Hdexn)

10 There are two different functions, is my understanding.  A GPS-based locator gets you to a location, but then the software places the Pokemons in the environment using object recognition programming.  That's how they wind up in desks and on tables or in fireplaces.

Posted by: Ben at July 14, 2016 09:51 AM (S4UJw)

11 I've been playing it a bit. The AR function is very simple. There's no object recognition or anything going on; it just overlays the Pokemon model on your camera image, and you can move your phone around to place it in a good spot for a photo if you like.
Ben is right that there are two separate phases. There's the map screen, where you're placed using GPS. The game server spawns Pokemon at various locations. Once you get close enough, you can switch to the capturing screen, which is the aforementioned AR.
Steven, if you ran it in your apartment, you would occasionally have Pokemon spawn close enough that you could try to capture them. There's also an item in the game that causes several to automatically appear right where you are over half an hour. On the AR screen, they might appear to be in your living room or outside (I think wherever your phone is pointing when the capture screen loads, but I'm not sure).

Posted by: Griffin at July 14, 2016 09:39 PM (BODJ+)

12 There was a report that allegedly Pokemon Go caused a reduction is clinical depression by forcing people out of the house. Suposedly, a big hurdle for them is to get motivated and do anything, like put on clothes.

Not sure how truthful this is, seems a little too easy. Of course I'm sure it's a statistical effect. A game is not guaranteed to help bad cases. On the other hand, Russian researchers experimented in late 90s with hitting junkies with wooden sticks. Those beaten reported significant reduction in interest in drugs for which they had accustomed, as well as reduction in withdrawal symptoms. Normally one would not think that beating someone with a stick would change the organism's biochemistry. So perhaps Pokemon works by some statistical miracle too.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at July 15, 2016 09:19 AM (XOPVE)

13 That's probably anecdotal. The game simply hasn't existed long enough to allow any scientifically valid data yet.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 15, 2016 10:52 AM (+rSRq)

14 Yeah, typical Soundbite Psychology, written by the sort of person who wouldn't recognize the concept of statistical significance if it bit them in the Squirtle. "Doing something fun" definitely has an effect on people, but "causing a reduction in clinical depression" isn't something that can be measured in less than two weeks. And nobody knows how long it's going to remain engaging and fun, especially for people new to the genre.


Posted by: J Greely at July 15, 2016 11:45 AM (ZlYZd)

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