Pokemon Go has been praised for creating a whole new way of gaming by getting people active and outside. For too long video games have been getting a bad reputation of aiding the obesity epidemic (even though most studies show genetics and food processing have more to do with it), so now Pokemon Go is changing that outlook. In the future, it wouldn’t be surprising to see other mobile games using global positioning tech in order to make the games come just a little but more into the real world.
With the advent of consoles like the HTC Vive, it’s only a matter of time until the line between virtual reality and reality start to blend. Add on to the technology of Pokemon Go, and a whole new world of gaming is just around the corner. However, new gaming advances also come with new problems.
In the week since its initial release, Pokemon Go had its share of issues, most of them concerning safety. Police around the world are attempting to prevent more car accidents and pedestrians getting hit, but still people continue to play without paying attention to their surroundings. It doesn’t bold well for the future of Pokemon Go or other future mobile interactive games.
Even though Pokemon Go has warnings attached and viewed before gameplay, societies with access to smartphones already felt the increasing problems of people texting while walking. From England’s trams to Japan’s subways, notices are posted for people to look up when near the safety line. Public safety announcements can only do so much, which is why in certain parts of the world police are issuing tickets for J-walking while texting (or playing a game without looking up).
The consequences of not paying attention can be disasterous. Muggings have been reported near Pokemon Gyms, with robbers using Pokemon lures being used attract players to rob. “Now This” put out a video of a girl getting slammed into by a car for not looking both ways before crossing the street after playing Pokemon Go, and the teen girl is lucky the accident wasn’t fatal.
Pokemon Go is only growing in popularity, which means that safety concerns should be addressed by not just the police but also by parents, teachers, and friends. Parents should warn thier children not to go out late at night to search for night Pokemon, and to also go with a big group or with adult suprvision to remote locations. Teachers should keep an eye out for students at recess so that they don’t run off to catch a Pokemon off school property.
Finally, adults playing the game should help keep each other safe. If there’s a Pokemon down a dark alleyway, don’t let your friend go down there to catch it. At night, don’t go out alone if possible and go in a group. Have someone be a look out to keep an eye on the surrounding area for possible trouble.
With the new community of Pokemon Go players, new forms of rules and social etiquette are going to need to get made, and this transition is important. As mentioned before, it’s only a matter of time until more mobile games get made, ones that blur the line between what’s real and what’s not, and when that happens it would help to already have a foundation of expectations for gamers to play with. We need to keep in mind that there are dangers around to be aware of, and try to prevent tragedy before it happens. Hopefully, in time Pokemon Go players will learn how to play and keep themselves as well as their friends safe, and everyone can catch ’em all.