The phenomenon that is Pokémon


Pokémon Go player and Viera Voice graphic designer Marc Rhodes poses with his game app open in front of a Pokéstop at the fountain in front of Cypress Cove apartments in Suntree. There is a multitude of Stops at The Avenue Viera.Parents who want to encourage their children to play outdoors more, might rejoice in the smartphone app Pokémon Go, and while the game was intended to be a safe and fun experience played outdoors for Pokémon trainers of all ages, precautions are in order. Rules have been established and while common sense might dictate most of these rules, players have been hurt as a result of not following them.

Peter Pappas, owner of Viera Comics said the phenomenon helps his business. He has written Niantic Labs, the company that built the game to have his storefront made into a hot spot.

“I’d like to put out lure modules and have an event to draw people in.”

Pappas plays the game himself. He said, “It brings people together and this is just the beginning.”

He said he knows 100 people who play. “They talk on my Facebook page at Viera Comics. I think they’ll be talking a long time after the event we had at Space Coast Stadium with the Manatees at the end of July. What a fun event that was!”

Pokémon’s slogan, “catch them all” compels trainers to go outdoors with the free app that has attracted millions of players.

The app is free to download and play and encourages Pokémon Go players to be active in their community.On the constructive side, gamers are exercising more. Players can’t simply ride around in cars to capture the little monsters in their augmented reality, but some entrepreneurial-minded individuals will charge upwards of $25 to chauffeur players from site to site. Other business owners, such as Viera’s Pappas, take advantage of the craze by offering game-inspired food and drink or other specials. Many Pokéstops are in or near museums and theme parks, which offer discounted admission for players. One clever presidential campaigner turned Pokéstops into voter registration centers.

Single people have met other players while capturing Pokémons and one professor of digital social media called Pokémon Go the “perfect dating game.” Unfortunately, couples have broken up due to one person’s obsession with the game, or when caught cheating as a result of someone met in the game.

One tragic consequence of the game has been when players have disrespected treasured monuments or hallowed memorials by cavorting inappropriately in the vicinities of the 9/11 Memorial and the Holocaust Memorial, as well as other sacred places. 

People have been hurt while playing. As dangerous as texting and driving is, hunting Pokémons while walking can be equally dangerous. Across the country, people have been hit by cars, robbed, stabbed, fallen off cliffs or into ponds, caught up in drug deals, fallen off skateboards and gotten caught in revolving doors. 

A concrete designer in Vero Beach sprayed two adult men with his pressure washer because he thought he was about to be attacked. He said once he realized what was going on he, “saw a bunch of other people running around the park and across the street chasing these characters.”

Pokémon Rules

  1. Respect the community. Treat everyone with kindness and courtesy.
  2. Be respectful when you meet other players or those who are not playing. Never defame, abuse, harass, harm, stalk, threaten or otherwise violate anyone’s legal rights. If you find other players who are aggressive, abusive, overly protective of a Pokéstop or Gym, don’t engage them, but do report them to authorities.
  3. Respect privacy of other players. Never post another player’s personal information online. Only photograph other players with their permission.
  4. Follow the rules of the real (human) world. Stay aware of your surroundings. Never put yourself in a dangerous situation. Notice where you are and who is with you at all times. Children should travel with an adult. Adults should not play alone.
  5. Avoid inappropriate content. You may lose your game privileges if you engage in posting content that could be considered offensive, hateful or obscene.
  6. Don’t cheat. Play fair. It’s that simple.
  7. Don’t trespass. Regardless of the Pokémon you may risk losing, it is illegal to enter private property, so know your boundaries.
  8. Play smart and safe. Don’t let your actions cause you to be mistaken for a mugger. Everybody isn’t playing the game when you are and some won’t understand your excitement at capturing a virtual monster.

If you want to know more about how to safely play Pokemon Go, call Pappas at 321-600-4567 or visit Viera Comics, right behind Viera Voice on Wickham Road.