Pokémon Go has been available in the US for a couple of days now, and by any measure it’s a runaway success. My only complaint so far is that the game keeps making me walk to weird places, and I’m not the only one.
YouTuber Beware The Flood was driving around with his girlfriend looking for a gym—basically the Pokémon equivalent of a boss battle—to test their mettle at, when they realized the in-game map was directing them towards a strip club. Sure, why not! But after turning onto that street it became clear the gym was further down the road, where there happened to be a small graveyard. [Insert joke about ghost Pokémon].
GPS spoofing exists and it’s possible this short video is a hoax. However, plenty of players have already reported that the game has a strange habit of taking them to church, and the closest gym to my apartment is an Ayurvedic yoga studio. It’s safe to say landmark placement in the game is semi-random. And on a bleaker note, I now know that somewhere in America (most likely this exact location in Allentown, PA) there’s a strip club adjacent to an actual graveyard.
So: what’s the weirdest place Pokémon Go has taken you so far?
Update July 8, 12:20pm: Twitter user Erica H. sent us a screengrab which appears to show that one of the game’s many PokéStops—locations to store monsters and get items—is the pool outside the 9/11 Memorial.
As many of our commenters pointed out, the locations of gyms and PokéStops are largely culled from Niantic’s earlier game Ingress, where players would try to maintain control of “portals” in real-world landmarks. Lifehacker editor Alan Henry was able to find the Ingress map of the area, which is littered with portals. If the 9/11 Memorial pool really is an in-game location for Pokémon Go, it’s strange of Niantic not to filter out locations like this for a game that is, ostensibly, for children.
The Ingress portal for the 9/11 Memorial pool is currently controlled by a player charmingly named SuperEbola.
Correction July 12, 1:59pm: YouTuber Beware The Flood got in touch via Twitter to inform Gizmodo that his girlfriend is not a regular part of the channel, and that the strip club/graveyard in question is actually in Columbia, SC. The odds of two such businesses with the same name built next to a graveyard is truly mind-boggling and we deeply regret any inconvenience this may have cause the Platinum Plus in Allentown.