Things You Could Do Instead of Playing Pokemon Go:

Literally anything.

Already a guy has admitted to crashing his car into a tree (and I mean totaling it) because he was playing while driving.

Police departments across the country (if not the world? International readers, help me out) have been issuing statements: exercise caution while playing. Do not trespass while playing. Do not play while driving. etc.

My Facebook feed (YES I STILL USE FACEBOOK DEAL WITH IT) is lousy with jokes and memes and “funny” pictures of Pokemon popping out of people’s pants.

And people I know personally have expressed anger — ANGER! — at being run out of graveyards late at night because they were playing the game.

The game might encourage people to get up off the couch. It might encourage them to get out and socialize. It might rekindle a long-lost love for a game that many people apparently enjoyed in their youth. (I never saw the appeal, but hey, it takes all kinds.)

But it also encourages loitering. It encourages wandering more or less blindly into unfamiliar places. It encourages walking around with your face glued to your phone screen — which is something we already do too much of.


This fad cannot run its course soon enough.

Now get off my lawn.

10 thoughts on “Things You Could Do Instead of Playing Pokemon Go:

  1. Today I’m wondering about the environmental impact (real) of what is essentially a massive increase of non-native (imaginary) species. Positive; more people choose to walk the few hundred meters to the local shop, leaving the car at home. Negative; potentially people stomping all over natural habitats in order to catch elusive clefairies (or whatever). I have read about the first effect, but not yet about the second. It’s bound to come up.

    And a confession – I love the Pokmon franchise. I played 20 years ago, already too old to be considered it’s target demographic (I was in the final years of my Ecology Degree). I continued to play after I graduated, occasionally missing my stop on my commute to work on account of being too engrossed in a key battle. When the time was right I handed my game collection over to my kids.

    This new iteration is ok! There are pros and cons, f’sure, but I hope more pros. It’s actively under construction (this is still just the beta launch) and that’s interesting to witness.

    I agree the lack of awareness among screen-gazing wanderers is not a great side effect, but I expect that this problem will be solved. The app doesn’t give alerts unless it’s actively running, so people are obliged to leave the app open, and stare hopefully at the unfathomable PokeRadar system. Improvements are due; there’s the wrist band gizmo due out soon, and perhaps future updates will improve functionality in other ways. I predict that Pokemon Go has a long way to go before the ‘fad runs its course’, but I hope that player-alerntness will improve long before then.

    Meanwhile, have a go – have a Pokemon Go – why not? Experience something kind of weird, communal and unique. Keep an open mind – you still can grumble about phone-gazers stumbling onto your lawn, nobody’s going to take that joy from you – but you might also gain a new and useful perspective for your writing, for life in general. If not, just delete the app and write another post about it; tell me why it didn’t work for you – but tell me from the educated perspective of one who had a go.


  2. Ah – followed your link – some serious environmental impact in Sydney! Interesting. New population dynamics! Wow. Sounds like a fine tuning problem – Pokestop distribution now has real-world environmental impact so Niantic will have to reconsider their locations / availability. Does this not fascinate you?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I realise I’m harping on here, but look: “It turns out that crafting and regulating the economy in a game is extremely tricky, just like the task of watching over the real-world economy.” That is crazy interesting. Isn’t it? How will they solve that problem – how many more problems will emerge as a result. It’s a story unfolding – a new challenge, a new solution, but at what cost? I can’t wait to turn the page, start the next chapter and find out. Do you think they have a team of economists, bankers and money launderers on staff to help them brainstorm?


    • lol I struck a nerve for you, eh? Let me respond to three comments in one:

      “I agree the lack of awareness among screen-gazing wanderers is not a great side effect, but I expect that this problem will be solved.”

      I’m not sure how they can solve that, with the game built the way it is. Maybe if they go all Google-Glass on us, but that’s already flopped once. The game has some growing pains ahead of it, but I think among most users it’ll run its course sooner rather than later. Mobile games just don’t have that longevity (how many people are still playing Candy Crush now, for example, versus a month after its release? Insert the game of your choice).

      I also agree that it’s kind of a fascinating thing that the game is affecting the real world in measurable ways (both good and bad). I’ll venture a guess that Niantic wasn’t quite expecting everything that’s come to pass. What I’m wondering is: when will the first lawsuits be filed against Niantic? Conspiracy to trespass? Reckless endangerment?

      And game economies are things that have been … if not solved before, then at least studied (look at games like World of Warcraft and Everquest, for example). In fact, there’s real-life bleedover there too: players of those games have (often) sold items and in-game currency for real-world money, which brings with it a host of issues (who actually owns the in-game things you’re paying real-world money for? You or the owners of the game?). Some folks I know on facebook joked about starting up a service charging folks to take their phones out on runs to hatch Pokemon eggs. It was a jest, but who knows?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, a Pokemon Walking service has got to be a thing – I would love to see that. I need to develop a backpack of multiple pockets so that I can carry dozens of phones at once… So I think they can improve the phone-gazing problem. There’s really no need to stare at your phone the whole time; you can walk for ten minutes without encountering any Pokemon and it’s only once you do that you need to interact with the screen. That takes just moments, then put your game away and continue walking safely. I’m sure folks will figure that out soon… or they’ll buy the wrist band. Also there’s no need to stop in the middle of the road to catch a Pokemon. The app gives you some meter’s leeway before you go out of capture range. I caught a Pikachu from my neighbor’s back garden – never had to leave my own driveway. I suspect that PoGo will have more sticking power than Candy Crush. In the year of Pokemon’s 20th anniversary, we have to admit that the brand is sticky! I don’t doubt that the mania will subside, though. My kids are already cooling to it – I mean they have to go outside and walk f’goodness sake. There’s only so much of that nonsense anyone can take. Plus the Pokemon Gyms are too hard a challenge for us; there are gamers more dedicated to this art for than we’ll ever be and they’ve locked up the gyms with their level 1000+ Snorlaxes or whatever. We don’t care about gyms anymore. Let’s see what the next update will bring.

        Yes; World of Warcraft – quite right, I take your point there. I’ve never played it, but I dare say there are WoW economists that could be called on to help Niantic strategise their Pokemon currency! And what indeed will be the fist law suit! I can’t wait to find out. So did you download the app yet?


      • Nah. I’m gonna keep hating without getting my hands dirty 😛

        Truthfully, I don’t have the free time to walk around playing a game — not just because I live in Atlanta and it’s bloody hot out there. Which I realize sounds totally snitty, but I’m gonna stand by it.


      • You go with what’s right for you. Meanwhile, my passion for the game has significantly diminished. The novelty wore off… sorry Pokemon. There will always be a place in my heart, but I’m busy looking at the plot structure of Spirited Away – things to do, thinks to think. We move on. Like you say, who has the time?

        Liked by 1 person

      • You did, you did. Updates and efficiency improvements didn’t come fast enough to maintain my enthusiasm. I am also distressed to find that wearing my Pokemon t-shirt in public isn’t ironically endearing anymore (it was, wasn’t it??)… now it just makes me like kind of awkward.

        Liked by 1 person

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