Pokémon Go has managed to do what no game has ever done before. It is getting people out into the world, visiting places of historical significance, and socializing with strangers in person (far away from the TV or computer). It is an amazing achievement for a game, and a wonderful opportunity that many people are taking advantage of! But sadly some people are also squandering this opportunity.
Kids and adults that have had no interest in museums, churches, or memorials are now begging to go to these places. They are meeting together and talking about them, organizing group outings, and even making plans to spend all day there. And yet some of these locations are either ignoring the people that come or flat out barring them from entering.
People Want In
Like any good husband, I offered to drive my wife around town to look for stops, gyms, and wild pokémon. To our surprise, the first stop for free items we found was our local church. It gave us a pokéball, a potion, and an egg. There’s a great sermon in there: the church equipping you, healing you, and giving you hope for the future.
We have seen so much of our city that we normally drive past: old cars, murals on the walls, parks, museums, activity centers, and some very unique statues let me tell you. Our kids have a blast and want to go out more and more. We even found one location giving away free “Trainer Potion” water to gamers passing through their area.
I know that there are people at our local church that pray daily for more people to come to them. Well, here they come! Round up some free drinks and your best socialites and try to get them to stay. Sure they may be talking about pokémon at first, but who doesn’t click that stop link to find out more information on the place you are visiting? Save them a click and talk to them!
Kicking a Gift Horse In the Mouth
Are you kidding me? These places NEED people to walk into their doors. A church without people is an empty building with no purpose. A memorial that does not want to be seen will not long be remembered. And a museum that does not let people see its collection of history might as well be some guys vault of forgotten treasures.
So I ask again, why are pokémon trainers being turned away from some of these places? The two biggest answers given are that these trainers are disruptive or unappreciative. And these arguments make sense for home owners or fire departments. Having too many people at these locations can get in the way of your work or feel like an invasion of your privacy.
But what about public places? Do you honestly think that graveyards are only meant to be visited by mourners? Why do we have gravestones if we don’t want anyone to read them? If you want people to be respectful, talk to them about being respectful. Don’t just automatically throw them out because they are not the kind of people with the kind of mindset you want, especially if you are a PUBLIC SOCIAL LOCATION!
No More Ranting
Now I know that anyone with their nose turned up to gamers is probably never going to read my article, so let’s wind down by talking about some of the good that is being done by embracing this game. I’m not talking about people meeting and then going on dates, but rather the good for the community.
Pokémon Go has brought the fantastical to our everyday lives. We are roleplaying trainers in our own world. Soon we’ll be trading pokémon back and forth, planning weekly outings, and forming actual leagues of trainer battles. And this is all something that any of us can do!
In that sort of setting, barriers break down. Sure there are terrible people that take advantage of folks traveling around, but for the most part humans are good people. And when you meet good people with a common cause, other things like race and gender and social status don’t really matter so much. Pokémon Go is a tool that can help us move past our preconceptions and can be used to move us towards a much more unified future.
If you really want what you stand for to be a part of the future, to be appreciated and remembered by future generations, then don’t shut your doors to the rising community of people that want to visit you. You already have a website to keep your virtual doors open, right? So why not open the wooden ones as well.