CATCH ‘EM ALL: Where to play (and not to play) Pokemon Go

Pokemon Go has had 7.5 million downloads in just eight days (photo: Shutterstock/Randy Miramontez).
Pokemon Go has had 7.5 million downloads in just eight days (photo: Shutterstock/Randy Miramontez).
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If you’re out in public, you need to know how to behave - don’t upset anybody, don’t hurt anybody, don’t put yourself in danger.

This all seems obvious, but when it comes to Pokemon Go, it might not be the case, with reports that the US Holocaust Museum is upset with players for taking their phones out at the solemn memorial.

One of the many, many articles providing Pokemon Go tips went as far as to recommend staying hydrated if you’re out playing for long periods during these long summer days.

Is there really a risk that players will forget to drink water and collapse because they are so focused on a game? Can we, on a basic level, trust our Pokemon Go hordes to remember how to stay alive and healthy?

You would assume so, but with reports of people trying to catch unnecessary Pidgeys in inappropriate locations streaming in, it may be worth laying down some ground rules on where to play.

Play: in the park

The park is a great place to play Pokemon Go. Traffic isn’t a problem and most other people there are engaged in casual activities too. Plus, Pokemon seem to like the park, so you’ll probably find happier hunting there than the grey streets.

Don’t play: in the Holocaust Museum

The US Holocaust Memorial Museum has issued a plea to players to stop trying to catch animated monsters there, calling it “highly inappropriate”. They are, of course, 100 per cent right. Do not play Pokemon Go in the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, or any other Holocaust museum or monument.

Play: on the bus

This works surprisingly well. You might miss some things and you’ll be going too fast to help with hatching your eggs, but you should still be able to shake Pokestops aplenty. Also, buses stop constantly, so there should be plenty of time to engage that hundredth Rattata in battle before you speed away.

Don’t play: in graveyards

Don’t play anywhere you’re going to upset people. There are great benefits to exploring in Pokemon Go, finding new and interesting things about your area and maybe reflecting on history more than you otherwise would. But if you’re standing there throwing 30 Pokeballs, trying to catch a stubborn Pinsir while a family is trying to remember a lost relative, you are being antisocial. Stop.

Play: in the extreme north of South Korea

Pokemon Go uses data from Google Maps. South Korea blocks Google Maps in most of the country for security reasons (related to its volatile northern neighbour). However, the city of Sokcho, in the north-east of the country, is not subject to the restrictions. It’s pretty happy about it too, calling itself “the only Pokemon Go holy land on the peninsula” and publishing maps of free wifi zones. Go there, be free, catch Pidgeys and Rattatas.

Don’t play: at work

It’s tempting to play at work. I know. But, apart from the obvious issue that you can’t actually work effectively while playing Pokemon Go, it’s a minefield in general. What if you’re walking down the hall when you see a Shellder behind you. And then someone sees you and says, “hey, thanks for doing that the other day – how was the barbeque at the weekend?” And then you say, “hold on”, and you catch the Shellder even though you’re an adult. Doesn’t look good.

Play: on your daily errands

Pokestops recharge every five minutes or so, so you can walk to the shop collecting Pokeballs and then walk back and collect them again. You can also get in much-needed mileage for egg-hatching this way, even if you’re not actively playing. In fact, any time you’re not doing anything that requires care or attention, you can play Pokemon Go. Set off some incense while you’re watching Netflix if you’re really lazy. There are so many ways to play Pokemon Go and so many places to play it that are not incredibly sensitive historical sites.

Don’t play: in Auschwitz

Come on.