Pokémon Go, the new craze that has swept over the world. Chances are if you aren’t playing it, you’re talking or hearing about it. We discussed in our last article the challenges facing the player of the game, now let’s talk about the public and the issues and opinions that have been surfacing. I would love to say that since players began chasing pocket monsters there have been no issues with the general public. However, on many counts, I’d be incredibly wrong. Since the game has been released, there have been multiple news reports stating players are going to great lengths to “catch ‘em all”. From trying to enter an Australian police station to a stampede of people shutting down a road alongside Central Park in New York City, many players are showing that they have little common sense when it comes to how to act in public while playing the game.
Public outcry has become an increasingly louder issue in some areas more than others; (I’m talking about you, Toronto). In a community filled with aspiring Pokémon trainers, there is just one growing problem. According to many, one of the best places to play the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal located on Toronto’s waterfront. While this sounds like an ideal location to play the game, due it’s closely grouped Pokéstops, it’s becoming heavily congested, litter filled, and visually unappealing for many local residents. In only a few weeks time, Toronto city officials have begun to drum up solutions to clean up the beloved city landmark. Steps have included contacting Niantic and having them remove some of the Pokéstops from the area in hopes to reduce foot traffic, setting up fencing around the park, and encouraging players to play in those separate areas instead of congesting the area for ferry riders.
While some players respect the area and properly dispose of their garbage, there’s always a few who will ruin it for others; those seemingly incapable of cleaning up after themselves. Sure enough, when city workers cleaned these parks and locations they experienced consecutively filthier than normal conditions because of the increased number of people who were too lazy to take a coffee cup or water bottle to the garbage can. These workers reported their experiences to their bosses and of course it got escalated to the point that the city officials got involved. Many players, namely the ones who actually clean up after themselves, were the first ones who rose to the occasion and were willing to help clean up the park to try and preserve the Pokéstop hub and the ability to keep playing there. While we will always have people who want to help and play the game respectfully. There are many players who just continue leaving trash and feel entitled to play the game; the impact of which is irrelevant to them. While asking around the city for thoughts on the recent ruling to fence off the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal I heard one comment more than a handful of times, “ Why are these workers complaining? It’s their job to clean up garbage”, while another common response was, “As taxpayers, we should protest!”. Seriously? What are people possibly going to gain from protesting? The city won’t back down from protecting its landmarks and parks. The only thing a protest will do is draw more negative attention to a game that has brought so many people together, risking more public backlash.
The Pokémon Go community is rather impressive and growing rapidly by the day. Even if the game is broken in some areas, it needs passionate players to keep it competitive and improving, while our communities also need us as a group to play responsibly and safely. I know not everyone is at fault for the mess left at the ferry terminal or the other negative news stories that seem to be popping up daily, most likely you didn’t run into traffic because a wild Pokémon appeared. Maybe you were the guy who picked up after a few people before you left a park or you were the girl who made sure the driver in her car wasn’t playing while driving everyone home. While it is a game for everyone to enjoy, the game is only as fun as we all make it. We’ve learned time and time again, in society sometimes it just takes one person to ruin it for everyone.
Don’t be that person, stop complaining, and enjoy all things Pokémon.