Pokemon Go: Some basic rules for safe and courteous Pokemon hunting.

Pokemon Go is a great game.  It gets people active and walking around their communities.  It gets people talking to new people.  It helps people get in shape and it even helps people with mental illnesses to get out and get social.  But there are ways to be a bad Pokemon trainer.

Usually in video games anything that you can physically do with your own body to win is fine and shouldn’t be considered bad or below the dignity of the game.  It’s a game, and games usually don’t allow you to play them in ways that they don’t want you to play them.  But Pokemon Go! will bring you out into the real world and that’s different (although, it’s also cheating to break a game, like when you spoof gps coordinates to not have to walk to play the game).

In the real world there are rules to play by, because your interaction with the video game involves you interacting with people in the world and their property.  So here are some rules I think are important to follow when you are playing Pokemon Go!

  1. Only hunt Pokemon in public spaces unless you have permission from the owner.

Seriously.  Don’t go wandering onto people’s property finding Pokemon.  This is wrong, and possibly illegal.  The whole world isn’t your Poke-park.

2. Step briefly out of the walkway and onto the grass beside it when pausing to catch a Pokemon.

This will minimize the number of times you have to deal with people riding or running past you while you hunt Pokemon.

3. Always cross the street at designated cross walks.  It may mean some extra walking to catch your Poke-stops, but it will be worth that cost in safety.
4. Never hunt Pokemon while driving!
5. I mean it! Never hunt Pokemon while driving.
6. If you would like to hunt Pokemon in a car, there are some rules:
6a. Have a designated driver, and the passenger should hunt for the driver as much as he/she can.
6b. Don’t alter your driving for the passenger to catch Pokemon.
6c. If you would like to use a Poke-stop while someone is driving, politely ask them to safely park nearby.

When hunting at night:

  1. Only hunt Pokemon in well lit areas.
  2. Only hunt Pokemon in places where there are others hunting Pokemon.
  3. If possible, only go Pokemon hunting at night with a group of friends.

These are rules of thumb that will help you stay safe when out at night.  But there is another rule you should follow if you want to refrain from creeping people out at night.  And that is this:

4. Don’t be a car creep.

When you’re out Pokemon hunting at night, it can be tempting to just sit in your car while hunting, even when there are a large number of people hunting outside.  The people who do this are called car creeps, because they make hunting much more scary for anyone hunting Pokemon at night.  Imagine going for a walk with 5-10 people just lurking in their cars without the lights on while you walk around.  It’s terrifying.  You are a car creep if you do this.  Don’t be a car creep.

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Peace be with you.