So you thought Pokémon Go was over? It isn’t a big deal anymore? Tell that to captain tire iron. Go’s gym battles can get pretty darn heated, as this Washington state incident proves.
Now, if you were around for the launch of the mega popular app in July 2016, you’ll remember that it was… well, a little shonky. As with Grand Theft Auto Online, the sheer volume of players trying to log in at once caused glitches, crashes and bugs-amundo.
The game’s stability has certainly improved since then, but Niantic were quite slow on the uptake with its issues. Almost two years on, lots of players have left the app, for its flawed tracking system and Track and Field-style battling as well as the technical issues. Those who are still committed to the app are the true faithful, and you don’t want to mess with their gyms.
As Polygon reports, a curiously literal gym battle took place in Washington on Friday. According to the story, a trio of friends were sitting on a park bench, when Stephen Jolly parked up next to them. He got out of his car and charged over, furiously brandishing a tire iron, demanding to know which of the three men had taken ‘his’ Pokémon Go gym from him.
KATU News states that Jolly was angrily asking which of the friends was ‘Andy;’ AndySamberg being the username of the offending trainer. At this point, the three friends state, a fight broke out, which saw Grayson Hagstrom repeatedly punched by the incensed gamer before trying to subdue him with a headlock.
No lasting harm was done, and thankfully, it appears that the tire iron didn’t come into play. However, it seems that this wasn’t the first time that Jolly has defended his gyms a little too violently. According to Hagstrom, after sharing their story –and their assailant’s license plate—on social media, others told them of similar experiences.
Police report that Jolly doesn’t use drugs or alcohol, but is taking medication for mental health issues. He has been charged with malicious mischief and assault; despite his claims that he didn’t attack any of the men (his only victim was a table, he says, which did get the tire iron treatment).
When Pokémon Go was new, lots of gamers were swept up in the social aspect of it all. Not only did it get people up and walking (something Nintendo have been trying to do for some years), but there was a friendly, social, competitive aspect to it. Particularly with those super difficult raid battles. Past tense aside, there are still dedicated players who are keeping this spirit alive. It seems that the assailant didn’t get that memo.