Chula Vista’s Guide to Understanding Pokémon GO

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Pokémon GO is this year’s Angry Birds with a HUGE twist – the difference is that players have to play the game in the real world. To say that this game is popular is a bit of an understatement. What video game has ever had this reaction?:

The Pokémon GO game uses “Augmented Reality” where the player can “see” the characters superimposed in their immediate surroundings viewed through their phones. Here is a screenshot that shows you what the game looks like to a player:

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This augmented reality method that mandates that the player get out of the house has both good and bad consequences. The good is that no video game in history has gotten more people off the couch and walking outside of the house. It also means that players may end up at public places like parks and libraries. (For example: the San Diego Central Library has a “gym.” Hint. Hint.) The bad is that some players are not using common sense and the list keeps growing of players doing stupid things while playing. Here is a short list:

It should go without saying but some players are letting the experience cloud their good judgment. If you have kids (or significant others!) who you know are playing the game, share these common sense points with them:

  • don’t Pokemon and drive: never use the game while driving. You say, “That would be stupid.”? See the example above. Not only can you kill yourself, kill others, but, at the very least, get a very expensive traffic ticket
  • if you think you will wander far from home or in desolate areas, take a friend and a battery pack for your phone
  • don’t cross the street while playing the game even (or especially) at a crosswalk – no Pokemon is worth getting run over
  • don’t go walking at night while playing. First, you may get hurt if you don’t see a hole or you may get mugged by a real Pokémon
  • don’t play at work. Of course, unless you want to get fired to have a lot more time to play

Now, if you are playing the game, here are some tips:

Pokemon GO is an overnight success that took 20 years to produce. It’s fun, it’s addicting and gets you off the couch but it can also create some serious dangers if people are not careful.

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