SACRAMENTO -- A new smart phone game based on the classic Nintendo franchise Pokemon uses GPS to locate and capture digital monsters. It has millions venturing out into the real world causing business for some and problems for others.
While working at the Masonic Lawn Cemetery on Broadway in Sacramento, Eric Moreno couldn't figure out why so many people started visiting this weekend.
"(I started) asking people what they were doing because they were walking around with their phones out, and I said 'are you guys going on a scavenger hunt?' And they said 'no we're looking for Pokemons,'" Moreno said.
Ami Lundberg and Louis Schink both play the game and said they wouldn't typically be hanging out in a cemetery, but Pokemon GO changed that.
"No no no, I wouldn't be here right now without Pokemon," said Schink.
"I always knew it would be popular because I've played the game since I was a kid, and it was always like one day this will be a reality, and it will be the most amazing thing ever," Lundberg said.
At parks all over the Central Valley, hundreds have been coming throughout the day trying to catch them all.
Joshua Harrelson started the Facebook group Pokemon GO Sacramento Social, which already has over a thousand members. He said this game is unlike anything before it, because it forces players to venture out of their living rooms to places where they can socialize.
"You can literally walk up to anyone playing with their phone and doing that with their hand and you're instant best friends," Harrelson said.
But that has caused some Pokemon hunters to get into trouble. Victoria Barth said late Sunday two young men told her they were robbed at Loan Oak Park in Antelope while playing the game.
"Guy came up to us with a gun and, you know, they had their phones taken and I think their wallets... I probably won't be coming out at night here anymore," Barth told FOX40.
But others are using the game to build their business. Sky Drifters owner Tim Nelson originally advertised Pokemon hunting tours in his hot air balloons as a gag.
"Just as a goof I did a release that says we're going to do Pokemon hunting from the sky, and people are calling," Nelson told FOX40.
With flights going at $200 per ride, he says business is booming.
"I never thought Pokemon would mean anything to my business quite honestly," Nelson said.
Meanwhile Harrelson reminds players it is not just the Pokemon they should watch out for.
"It's really common sense, yes you're looking at your phone, but you don't have to look at it all the time," Harrelson said.