Even though I have covered the world ofvideo game etiquette in the past, I can’t even believe I’m writing an article about Pokémon Go etiquette … but apparently it’s needed. I thought tackling thebizarre things that people do in the bathroom was about as odd as it could get for me, but this is surely a new area of etiquette. After all, it’s not every day that I feel compelled to talk about video game etiquette with adults. Here is Things You Should Never Do While Playing Pokémon Go!
However, I’m the Modern Manners Guy and where there’s rude behavior, I’m there to set the record straight. Plus, after receiving five emails in one week, I figured this was a topic worth discussing. So, before you hop over a baby in a stroller to capture Pikachu, or knock over an elderly person to grab a Squirtle, check out my top three quick and dirty tips for playing Pokémon Go:
Playing at Work
Modern Manners Guy Twitter follower Shannon told me about her coworker Paul who took Pokémon Go to a new level of crazy. Paul wakes up around 5 AM and walks around the city until about 8:30 AM when work starts. Paul doesn’t let the confines of an office building stop him either. Yup, turns out their office is smack dab in the middle of New York City, where spotting a Pokémon Go character is as common as seeing a hipster with a manbun.
Every second he gets a break from work, Paul runs down three flights of stairs (because the elevator takes too long) to get his Pokémon Go fix outside. Needless to say, Paul was in desperate need of a intervention. Even though Shannon wanted to go straight cold turkey with him—by getting rid of the app all together—what Paul does in his spare time is his decision. However, the office is not his free time, and therein lies the problem. Boom! Take that, Paul!
When Shannon and I emailed back and forth, I told her that letting Paul know it’s affecting his productivity, as well other people in the office, could be the best way to capture his attention. Folks, unless you work for Nintendo, trying to play Pokémon Go at work, over actually doing work, doesn’t exactly fly with management. In fact, I’m pretty sure at this point even the folks at Nintendo are looking at each other going, “What did we start?” But for those that want to use their free time to throw imaginary balls at cartoon characters on a smartphone screen instead of grabbing coffee to unwind during the workday, who am I to say it’s bad.
Odd, yes, but not against the rules, as long as it doesn’t become a problem, unlike with Paul and many other “Pauls” in the world. I recommend what Shannon did and bring it up to Paul as some “friendly” advice. She pulled him aside and said, “Hey, Paul I don’t want to sound rude but I heard some other folks talking about how much you play Pokémon Go and not at your desk. You may not have a desk to come back to if you don’t cut it out.”
Being a proper friend Shannon told him straight, and I applaud her. She added, “If I were you, I’d be a bit more discrete or just wait to play Pokémon Go when you leave. If I hear anything else I’ll let you know.” Here, Shannon was trying to let Paul know—as a friend—that he’s being watched, and judged. This is something anyone can relate to and appreciate being told ahead of time.
Being Too Aggressive
Football, baseball, basketball—these are all sports that involve intense training and sacrifice. Pokémon Go is a video game, which involves swiping a finger. Not exactly what I’d call an athletic competition, despite what Paul (from Tip #1) would have you believe. I remember when Pokémon Go first hit the stage. Pokémon Go is becoming a competitive event in and of itself, thanks to some rude gamers.
It’s gotten so extreme that because of Pokémon Go, there are already a laundry list of accidents that occurred, some even leading to death! Just the other week a driver crashed into a tree while playing Pokémon Go. That’s right: this game has caused people to get into fights and walk off cliffs. One man in Massachusetts caused a traffic jam when he walked into the middle of a highway to catch a Pokémon Go character. Can you believe that?
Now, I know many of you may say, “Come on, Modern Manners Guy, you’re just being a party pooper! There is nothing wrong with a little friendly competition.” To that, I say you’re right, there is nothing wrong with friendly competition. However, Pokémon Go is not worth injuring yourself. Playing it to the point of Olympic competitiveness will not make you a hometown hero. Dashing through Central Park full speed, not caring who you hurt in the process, doesn’t make you Kerri Strug suffering through a broken ankle to win a gold medal for her country: it’s makes you foolish. Mannerly Nation, play Pokémon Go and have fun, but don’t take this game to an extreme level.
Even though Pokémon Go was targeted towards adults, I hardly imagine Nintendo believing they would have created such a monster. As a businessman, I applaud Nintendo for being innovative, but I doubt they imagined how intense the obsession would become in adults. So when I hear about these whacky stories involving grown ups (like Paul from the previous tips) running amok over a children’s game, it makes me rethink what it means to be an adult all together. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that there is a competitive angle to Pokémon Go and it’s become a fun social event—and believe me, no one likes fun more than yours truly.
Pokémon Go has made for an entirely new form of entertainment but I would hate to think adults are dropping years off their age due to immature measures of capturing an elusive Bulbasaur. An example of making sure you check your age in everything you do is in my book, Reply All…And Other Ways to Tank Your Career, where I talked about job interview etiquette. I gave the analogy of thinking like a celebrity: when celebrities become famous, they give up a certain level of anonymity, making it truly hard to be themselves and having to watch everything they do. They walk around “posing” or making sure they’re always dressed a certain way … or else they get snapped by TMZ wearing ratty sweatpants and a beer stained tshirt while pumping gas.
When going to a job interview, I stressed thinking that way, like you’re always being watched. Same goes for playing Pokémon Go; if you let your inner child run ramped in pubic, essentially acting like a child, you’ll be perceived as rude and immature. No one will give you the benefit of the doubt because of the app. Plus, it’s hard to play off yelling at someone for stealing your Pikachu or you bragging about your score … as an adult! So, even though playing games allow you to relive your youth, just don’t regress to acting like you’re an actual seven year old.