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VR vs. AR vs. The Pokémandments

True story, I was walking back from a very nice picnic in a local park on Saturday when I was struck by a thought. We should probably prepare a story for when Pokémon GO is hacked. It was one of those ‘inevitabilities’ that lent itself to being prepared in advance. Ten minutes later I look at my phone and it Pokémon GO isn’t loading any more. It turned out my thoughts had become realised a heck of a lot sooner than I thought

But anyway, a warm Tuesday welcome o’reader of my gaggle of words to another VR vs. Which as you can tell from the title is still fully immersed in the world of Bulbasaurs and Wigglytuffs.

Since last week’s column I’ve gotten hold of the title naturally enough, despite never being that much of a fan beyond the cartoon and have been trying to get into things as best as I can. This has been somewhat hindered by the fact Pokémon GO doesn’t seem to like my phone that much (a Samsung Galaxy A3 before you ask). I keep getting errors about it not knowing the phone’s orientation and the AR just straight up doesn’t work and as I said to a friend if the AR doesn’t work “what’s really the point?”

Pokemon GO iOS

After trying for ages to find the invisible starter Pokémon I eventually turned the AR off and just played it as is. I caught a Charmander incidentally, who was immediately named “Screwit” in celebration of my frustration.

So Pokémon GO goes from strength to strength and is performing at astonishing levels, something which you read about in a recent story. There are many topics about Pokémon GO still to address which I’ll hopefully be getting to in the next couple of weeks before I go off on holiday for a fortnight – and if you know me personally you’ll know just how utterly astounding a concept that is.

Before I worry about any of that though something came up in recently that got me thinking, and it was specifically about something I mentioned in last week’s VR vs. When it comes to Pokémon GO people need to develop a set of what I termed “social rules” for play. Now at a very base level this is simply common sense and courtesy, but if you’ve watched the news in, oh, about the last decade and a half you might be forgiven for thinking that it was a lost art. So with this in mind if you are indeed going out into the world in search of that rumoured Dratini over by the post office here are some guidelines you should probably keep in mind, some Pokémandments if you will.

1) Thou shalt be aware of thy own safety and that of others above any capture.

So we’ve already had people walk off a cliff, another person drive their car into a tree (make that two people) and I’ve already seen far too many people nearly get hit by cars because they’ve got their head in their phone, or in celebration as they haven’t realised that they had stepped into the road. Whatever you think, Pokémon GO isn’t worth putting your own life at risk. It certainly isn’t worth putting other people‘s lives at risk either just because you’re coming up to a Pokéstop and you don’t want to actually stop. No one has actually been killed yet by Pokémon GO (although it seems to be responsible for finding more and more corpses) and it has always felt like an inevitability considering Ingress.

Be smart. Be aware. Be safe.

2) Thou shalt be respectful of people’s rights and property.

If you’re hunting for Pokémon stick to areas that the public is allowed to go. Whilst the story that a Pokémon GO playing teen had been shot dead in Florida was revealed to be fake, as I said last week there’ll always be someone who’ll go “it’s only a fence”. If somewhere is private property don’t start trampling all over it as you’re liable to get yourselves in trouble. If there’s a Pokémon in someone’s garden you can catch it from outside the garden. If you looked out your window to find a load of strangers messing about on your front lawn you’d likely be annoyed too. Likewise if you’re round a residential area, especially at night, be courteous about what you’re doing and the noise you make. Don’t get in people’s way and don’t disturb people.

And needless to say, don’t go searching for Pokémon in areas that could be considered insensitive. If you’re someone who doesn’t understand why hunting around AUSCHWITZ could be construed as inappropriate, or worse thinks people should just ‘get over it’ – then, frankly, what the heck is wrong with you?

In short: Wheaton’s Law applies in the real world too – don’t be a dick.

3) Thou shalt realise it is only a game…

There are more important things in life than Pokémon GO. Much like the above’s plea about not neglecting the safety of your own life physically don’t neglect what makes up your life either. Don’t neglect your job (if you’re employed), your friends or your family over it. It’s just not worth it. Those things are far more important.

4) …and thou shalt not game the system.

If you’re strapping your phone to a turntable or a kids train set I think you’re missing the point. GO OUTSIDE. Walk around and hatch your eggs that way.

5) Thou shalt not use Pokémon GO as a catch (’em) all excuse…

And we’ll leave this one at that I think.

6) Thou shalt interact with others – if they want to.

People may ask you what you’re doing. It’s a fair question. Be honest and tell them. Some of the best stories about Pokémon GO so far have been trainers questioned on what they are doing getting others into the game. People are making new friends in all sorts of places, if you see (obvious) other trainers say hi. Swap stories and share knowledge. Some people won’t be comfortable with that and if so don’t worry and don’t force them, just be open and friendly – you might well be seeing them around.

7) Thou shalt be these children.

There are Teams in Pokémon GO. You’ve likely nailed one of their colours to your mast. However never ever forget that you’re all in this together. It’s a game. It’s fun. It’s not a war. Treat rivals with respect and don’t put up walls.

Kids handing out buttons at the park

Well done kids. You’re the heroes this game deserves.