The Pokémon Go craze is unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.
This game is everywhere and everyone seems to be playing it. You can’t escape it, even if you try. It’s also come with quite the backlash from those who aren’t playing it.
Ordinary people are being driven to absolute fury and anger, as every part of their life seems to be tainted by people playing this devilishly addictive game.
There’s no need to be so angry though.
You don’t need to question a player’s manhood or threaten to destroy the phone of anyone who starts playing the game in front of you. All we need is a little bit of understanding; a common set of ground rules to avoid the nastiness that the game inspires in some non-players. So here are three simple rules (that should become legally obligated boundaries) for Pokémon Go players to consider.
1. If you want to talk about Pokémon Go, only do it with other people who play Pokémon Go.
Almost all of us are experts in things that a large amount of other people would find extremely boring.
And that’s fine. It’s what makes us individuals. It’s what makes us feel so special or different to everyone else. Most interests have specialty groups where you can get together and share your love of whatever wacky or boring thing it is that you’re so knowledgeable about.
Every now and then, someone who doesn’t know much about it will ask you for details in an attempt to either get to know you a little better, or to make casual conversation. If you’re smart, you’ll neatly summarise without getting into the details. Sure, there are a few odd hobbies out there that are actually interesting to people, but the average person’s hobby is adequately boring.
Pokémon Go is a perfect example of an adequately boring hobby.
There’s nothing that special about it. Most people who aren’t playing have already heard more about it than they’d care to. They’re not interested in what makes your individual experience so amazing. If they ask you how your day was, the answer they’re looking for is not how many Pokémon you’ve caught that day.
I’ve played video games for years and I don’t talk about my experiences with non-gamers, partially because they don’t really understand them.
Yet more importantly, they don’t really care. Maybe Pokémon Go is your first video game experience, which is great. But that still doesn’t mean that I want to hear about it. Other Pokémon Go players can relate to and understand your experience. Talk to them all day and night if you want to, just don’t share it with the rest of the world.
2. Don’t bring Pokémon Go into your workplace.
If I were to turn up at work, hook up my PS4 and start hacking away at enemies Dark Souls style, I would be ostracised, criticised, abused, had my sanity questioned and most likely fired.
It’s the same if I tried to get away with playing an MMO on my PC. I know the smartphone has heralded a grand new age of being able to sneakily play games in the workplace, and if you’re sticking to games like Candy Crush and Spider Solitaire, then you can probably get away with it.
But there is no adequate way to explain why you are walking up and down hallways and exploring various parts of the office just to find Pokémon.
Especially when you randomly stop somewhere and start trying to throw balls out to catch some Bulbasaur. And especially when the app crashes and you end up standing in that same spot for 15 minutes whilst you desperately try to reload and catch that pesky creature before it’s too late.
If you’ve started walking more to work instead of driving or taking public transport, that’s great.
If you spend your breaks getting fresh air and getting another brisk walk in, that’s even better. But once you’re in the building, please turn the app off and do what you’re actually getting paid to do.
3. Don’t go for walks with other people and play Pokémon Go at the same time.
When I go for a walk with someone, I do it for a number of reasons.
It’s good exercise, I enjoy being outdoors, the scenery is constantly changing and it’s a great opportunity to have a chat about life and the various philosophies that accompany it.
What I don’t enjoy is having the person I’m walking with bury their heads in their phone, leaving me to constantly pull them out of an oncoming walker’s way and occasionally moving traffic.
I don’t enjoy when they suddenly want to veer off the path so they can check to see if there’s a rare Pokémon down a random alley. I also certainly don’t enjoy when they stop all of a sudden and make me wait for 15 minutes whilst they try to catch said rare Pokémon.
Do I feel better because they offer to take a picture of me with the Pokémon?
No! Not at all! How could that possibly make any person feel better about any situation?? Ever???
Again, if you want to go for a walk with a group of friends who all play Pokémon Go, then go for it. I’m sure it’ll be a blast! It could even be a family thing. You and your Pokémon loving partner can go wild chasing Pokémon whilst your infant son dreams of a life where he’s less mature than his parents. Just please don’t bring along innocent bystanders. They deserve better!
So there you have it. Three basic rules that will keep everyone happy. All we’re really asking for is a little bit of awareness of what and who’s around you, and then feel free to get lost in that little magical world that you’ve been so lucky to find. If you stick to these rules and people are still getting angry and making fun of you for playing your beloved game, then it’s probably just a reflection of the sad and miserable lives that they are unfortunately enduring. And that’s not really your problem, is it?