We’re past the stage where gamers emerged, blinking and squinting in the light, and well into Pokemon GO as a cultural phenomenon. Nintendo and Niantic’s augmented reality game hit just the right balance of cherished franchise and smartphone-powered location based play, demonstrated by just how many people are up off the couch and out in the streets searching for Pikachu and Pidgey. Problem is, some bad habits have developed along with the hunt…
1. Stop using it when you’re driving
I get it: we’re not used to games making us move around. Sure, Wii Sports had you jumping all over your living room, waving your arms around like a demented conductor, but Pokemon GO demands the unthinkable: that you step outside.
If walking to collect stray Pokemon is too inefficient, it’s easy to think that cruising around trying to pick up monsters might be better. Don’t do it.
Not only does Pokemon GO automatically pause your eggs from incubating if you’re moving over a certain speed, but you’ll probably end up going too fast to grab any Pokemon that you come across before they’re out of range again.
Don’t be the person who crashes into a bus stop because you’re staring at your phone display not the road ahead.
2. Be considerate where you play
SEE THIS TOO: Mistakes I’ve made playing Pokemon GO
Hunting Pokemon is addictive stuff, so if you thought the urge to sneak your phone out to check Twitter or tumblr while you’re in the cinema, at church, or at a somber occasion was bad, the need to check for a stray Charizard might be near-overwhelming. Resist, polite player: there are certain spaces where Pokemon GO just isn’t welcome.
Already we’ve seen the Holocaust Museum put out a request that Pokemon GO not be played there, and several other churches, museums, and similar locations have done the same. Really, though, you shouldn’t need to be told when is and isn’t an appropriate time: unless it’s a Pokemon-themed funeral, or the bride and groom are dressed as Team Rocket, keep your iPhone in your pocket.
3. Your phone is expensive, so don’t get mugged
Plenty of people have made new friends while playing Pokemon GO. Hopefully the number of people who have their phone stolen in the process will be a fraction of that amount, but taking a few precautions when you’re wandering the streets or the local parks, obsessively looking out for your next acquisition, seems like a sensible idea.
Walking around with several hundred dollars of smartphone glowing temptingly could be seen as an invitation, so even if the pickings are rich, be mindful of where you are and how sketchy the environment might be.
4. Try not to accidentally go swimming
I can see the logic. If water type Pokemon appear near actual water, surely the pickings would be richer if you got closer to the lake, river, or ocean? After all, there could be a rare Magikarp to be grabbed, right?
Just like blindly following the sat-nav instructions and discovering you’ve driven into a seasonal reservoir, though, it’s probably a good idea to avoid introducing your phone to electronics-damaging amounts of water. The Pokemon may be nearby, but they’re not actually inside – even if they were, best to opt for a boat.
5. Don’t bogart the street
If you get annoyed by slow walkers in airports, think how frustrating it could be finding your path blocked by a half-dozen Pokemon GO players.
Hanging around in the way of entrances, filling the sidewalk, or even – probably my current favorite of the stories I’ve seen this week – cycling back and forth and blocking parking spots in the process are all shortcuts to causing Pokemon-rage.