With the augmented reality world of Pokémon Go on its way to the Land of the Rising Sun, here are six things people in Japan should watch out for when the game hits its shores.
It’s a clever move for Nintendo to unleash the highly anticipated Pokémon Go augmented reality mobile game overseas before opening it up to the Japanese market. Not only do they get to test for bugs and make final tweaks before its local release to diehard fans with stakes in the company, they also get to see how it works in the real world, and judging from some of the crazy scenes we’ve seen so far, the social and physical landscape of Japan is set to look very different once the game lands on its shores. By looking at what’s happening overseas, we’ve compiled a list of six pressure points Japan should watch out for with the advent of Pokémon Go.
1. Keep your poké-life and work-life separate
It shouldn’t need to be said, but running around the office and pointing phones at plants and people while anxiously staring and swiping won’t make for a happy work environment for anyone, except perhaps the player in question. The desire to game is strong in Japan, but the temptation to engage in a spot of Pokémon catching while at work is one that should be resisted before signs like the one below start appearing at the office.
A few things have changed while I was away. https://t.co/eNT2dAMSWl—
Lizzie O'Leary (@lizzieohreally) July 12, 2016
2. Watch your manners
When the possibility of catching a rare Pokémon presents itself inside a store or restaurant, it’s tempting to throw all sense of etiquette out the window by barging onto the premises with no intention of making a purchase or order. It might be easy for one person to ignore the angry stares of staff while buried in the action on their mobile phone screen, but when dozens of people start doing it, things can get out-of-hand pretty quickly. If you do want to catch that Pokémon, be considerate and at least make a purchase or take a seat and make an order to help fuel the Pokéconomy.
Xeni Jardin (@xeni) July 09, 2016
3. People aren’t zombies
According to reports from abroad, people have been gathering in crowds like “zombies”. The New York Daily News even dedicated its entire front page to the “Zombie A-Poké-lypse”, showing players totally immersed in the game, gathered in groups but paying little attention to the people around them. If you do spot groups of people like this out near a Japanese rice field, there’s no need to be alarmed – they’re probably just searching through the reeds for a Squirtle.
4. Keep your wits about you
Given the zombie-like nature of players when playing the game, it’s easy to lose awareness of your surroundings, making accidents and fatalities a real possibility. Everything from bad sunburn to cuts and grazes, falls, and even car collisions, have been linked to gamers engrossed in gameplay. Make sure you don’t really turn into a member of the walking dead by keeping your wits about you while crossing streets or operating machinery and vehicles.
WA State Patrol (@wastatepatrol) July 13, 2016
5. Don’t go cheating
While it’s fun for couples to play the game together, when one is into it and the other isn’t, troubles can arise. And if one of them is cheating, chances are they’ll be found out, thanks to the app’s geolocation feature, which can reveal where they’ve been. That’s exactly what happened to one cheating New Yorker, when his girlfriend saw he’d caught a Pokémon while at his ex-girlfriend’s house.
(@IGN) July 14, 2016
6. Stranger danger
If your home happens to be located at the site of a “Gym” where trainers bring their Pokémon to fight, you can expect groups of people to arrive on your doorstep every day, and at all hours of the day and night. Boon Sheridan, an American living in an old church, is used to seeing parked vehicles and strangers outside his house now, after it became a gym location in the mobile game. With Japan’s narrow roads and lack of footpaths and lawns, problems with traffic and pedestrian flow around private residences are bound to arise.
Living in an old church means many things. Today it means my house is a Pokémon Go gym. This should be fascinating.—
Boon Sheridan (@boonerang) July 09, 2016
With no word yet as to when Pokémon Go will be released in Japan, we wonder if any of these real-world “glitches” can be fixed before the local release date. With such dense populations cramped into big cities around Japan, we’re anxious to see how the game will affect the lives of its citizens as they set out to catch ’em all around the country.
Follow Oona on Twitter for more about weird and wonderful Japanese news and events.
[ Read in Japanese ]