Pokémon Go May Have Just Shown Us What the End of the World Looks Like

Aug 22, 2016

A surreal video that purports to show thousands of Pokémon Go players in Taiwan stampeding after a Snorlax — a relatively rare creature in the Pokémon pantheon — could, if confirmed, be indicative of just how all-consuming the smartphone game has become.

The unverified video was first posted on Facebook on Saturday by a user in the Taiwanese capital, Taipei, and later posted on YouTube. In it, we see a mob pushing through an intersection in what looks like the city's Xinbeitou district with the urgency and intensity one usually expects of marathons or attempts to escape alien invasions or terrorist attacks. There was a Snorlax waiting for them, it is alleged, and so they took off en masse.

While TIME has not authenticated the clip, Chinese media reports say that the Xinbeitou area has become a daily focus for "thousands" of players looking to catch the particularly exotic Pokémon that appear to populate the surrounding streets. Overcrowding is so intense, reports say, that the civil-defense brigade has had to be called in, along with police reinforcements from neighboring areas.

The Pokémon Go craze has been causing disturbances in many parts of Asia. In the Thai capital, Bangkok, police have threatened to arrest pedestrians and motorists playing the game on major roads because of the number of accidents the game has caused. In Cambodia, players have caused outrage by chasing Pokémon in the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum.

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