Family, Uncategorized

An Open Letter to Pokemon Go Users

In a previous post I addressed those who are “Anti- Pokemon Go,” calling them out for what I believe is an intolerance of difference and a lack of understanding.  You can read that letter and why I decided to download Pokemon Go, as well as my family’s reaction here.    However, some of their points do need to be considered by the Pokemon-Go community.     The points that I have hard from people who don’t like the Pokemon-Go app, and my responses follow (taken from my original letter to people who were anti-pokemon go:

  1. I can’t walk or run or do anything in public places where I used to be able to do things without so many PEOPLE everywhere.  Um, so wait, only people with serious intentions are allowed to use public spaces?  I thought public spaces were for everyone in the community.  I mean, the community pays taxes to create and maintain these spaces, and I will get to this in another argument, but taxpayers include Pokemon-Go users.
  2. Users don’t pay attention and I have to dodge them when going about my daily activities (goes hand in hand with number one).  That is most certainly annoying.  And more an indication of the user than the game.  The game clearly states that users should be aware of and pay attention to their surroundings at all times.  And, chalk some of that up to “new toy” curiosity.  It should get less frustrating in a few weeks or so.  Recognize that things like geocaching and Ingress have been around for longer, and are similar (though not nearly the same) in nature.  Try to have a little patience while the craze settles down.
  3. People are getting hurt, even dying, because of this game.  No, people are getting hurt, or even dying because they aren’t playing responsibly.  Saying the game causes their death is like saying that the death of a person who drank too much alcohol and wrapped their car around a tree was the fault of the alcohol bottle, and while there is a whole argument of disease etc that can go with this, at the end of the day, the drinker could have called a cab, and been responsible with his drinking, and hopefully still be around.
  4. When you are outside walking, you should be enjoying the flowers, trees, animals, moon, sunshine, whatever.   When are eating dinner you should appreciate the taste of your green beans.  Just because a user is playing Pokemon-Go, doesn’t mean that they aren’t also enjoying the things that mother nature provides us.  I have seen screen shots of Pokemon enjoying a sunset, in gardens, “playing” with animals.  If anything, for people who are “heads down” and phone or PC oriented, this gets them quite out there enjoying mother nature, as well as man made, locations.

As a Pokemon-go user it is hard to hear those over generalizations based on some people who give the game a bad name.  As a Pokemon-go user, you wish they would calm down and understand.  There are some things that you can do to make this game a little bit less like a war topic, and a little more friendly.

1. Be courteous in public places.   If you are in a public place, for example a park, then look around before you go hunting.  What do you see?  Take note of pathways that runners and bikers may be using.  Take note of stands of trees.  Take note of the swing set.   Gauge where you are in relation to these things. And then, when hunting, look up often, and reassess your relationship to these things.  It not only makes it easier for people who are not into the game to be a little less Anti-Pokemon Go, but is safer for you and them.  A biker who has to swerve to miss you may fall off his or her bike and end up with an injury, that could have been avoided.  A runner typically has earbuds in and is in a runner’s zone, kinda like you might get into a hunter zone, and two people in a zone can create a collision.  Runners are not asking you to be the only aware person, just that you be aware ALSO.  And they will do their part to be aware of you.  Stands of trees, particularly in the midwest, and in North America in general, are prone to having things like poison ivy, poison oak and other skin irritants growing in them.  Accidentally wondering into that isn’t fun for a lot of people.  Knowing where the swings are helps you to be able to make sure that you are walking far enough away from them so as to not get smacked by a swinger.  It’s not like you can just stop a swing midair because someone walked in front of you.

2. Really, Just be courteous everywhere.  I feel as if there should be a better way to say this, but in this statement, I am talking about when you are downtown in the business district, catching your Pokemon, and a busy executive (or 50 busy executives, or even just 100 busy professionals, or just plain old busy people) are trying to rush from one bus to another, or to grab a to go lunch or otherwise go about their day.  And then there you are.  Spinning around in the middle of the sidewalk while they try to sidestep you.  It’s great and wonderful that Pokemon-Go has taken you to a part of town you never really saw or knew before.  And I like to think that even the busy professional can appreciate that.  However, the busy professional/ worker bee/ person also has to completely change their routes, day, and level of attentiveness in order to avoid you if you are not paying attention.   It’s worse than road construction popping up for 30 miles of your 35 mile commute.  So, when you get notice of a Pokemon being close, take a minute to assess the traffic (both vehicular and pedestrian) around you, and determine if navigating that while you are at half attention is truly safe for you and them.  Use manners that include please and thank you as you navigate.  That can go a long way if you do accidentally, and unintentionally, interrupt someone’s path.

3.Hunt Pokemon Responsibly.   While as users, we know that the game does not actually cause the death of people who walk off cliffs, rather their own irresponsibility does that, in today’s world, it’s very common for people to place the blame solely on the distraction that prevented the user from as attentive as they should have been.

“Bob fell off a cliff and died last night.”

“Oh, my goodness, how did that happen?”

“He wasn’t paying attention while playing Pokemon Go, and just walked off.”

“That *&^$ Game.”  

Your life is worth far more than any Pokemon out there.  Infinitely more.  If you are prone to becoming that highly absorbed in a game, see if you can have a spotter go hunting with you- someone who can walk around with you and be more heads up to alert you of upcoming obstacles or hazards.  Or hunt in a place that doesn’t have these things.

4. Enjoy the game, the pictures, the friends, but don’t let it run your life.  Let it help you see that which you didn’t see before.  Let it facilitate new casual friendships.  Let it build a sense of community, and perhaps even a responsibility to the community you are hunting in.  Let it point you to some plants you didn’t notice before.  Let it feed your creativity.  People who don’t see or understand this benefit, may never see it, so internalize the benefit you know you are getting and surround yourself with others who understand.  But, on the flip side of that, don’t ruin a family gathering because the only thing you are willing to do is catch Pokemon, and not interact with aunts and uncles who want to know what is going on in your life.  Put it away at work, unless your  workplace is really tolerant or you are able to play it very casually in a way that doesn’t disrupt you ability to complete the task at hand.  Don’t let it come between you and a spouse.  You know, common sense things that really any person who is heavily engaged in any activity that pulls them away from the people in their life should follow :).


As a Pokemon-Go user, you have the ability to change the perception other’s have of you.  So, do it :).




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