3 Places Where You Probably Shouldn’t Play Pokémon Go

where you shouldnt play pokemon go

One of the most creative and exciting concepts in Pokémon Go is that different Pokémon appear depending on your geographical location. The type of Pokémon that show up is often tied to whatever real-life physical features might be nearby, for example, wild rodent-like Raticate can be found scampering amid tall grass, while water-dwelling Squirtles love nothing more than taking long, leisurely backstroke in lakes and rivers. This concept realizes the longtime fantasy of Pokémon fans to see Pokémon in the real world, and Pokémon Go is brilliant in its execution.


It's likely that the game engine that powers Pokémon Go includes sophisticated algorithms programmed to recognize GPS coordinates and key geographic features from your phone's camera feed, and then projects the appropriate Pokémon onto your viewscreen. The thing is, no amount of computer automation can account for the very human tendency to not want Pokémon to appear in certain locations, say, for example, memorials dedicated to the solemn remembrance of important and tragic historical events. Or places that are simply downright dangerous or just plain inappropriate to access on foot.

To help you game responsibly and respectfully, here is our list of 3 places where you probably shouldn't play Pokémon Go:

Don’t Catch ‘Em All Here!

1. The 9/11 Memorial

september 11 memorial

On September 11, 2001, many Americans watched in disbelief as two American passenger air carriers collided with the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. The attacks were part of a coordinated terrorist assault by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda against the United States. More than 2,996 people lost their lives, and over 6,000 were injured. Among the dead were the scores of firefighters and other emergency personnel who selflessly rushed into the burning buildings or combed the unstable rubble in search of survivors, only to perish in the line of duty. Not since Pearl Harbor has such a brazen attack by a foreign nation been successfully inflicted on U.S. Soil, and indeed, 9/11 is remembered as the most lethal terrorist attack in U.S. History.

These days, when you hold up your phone at the 9/11 Memorial Pool at Ground Zero, you'll see it teeming with bouncy Magikarp, brightly-colored Staryus, and goofy-looking Psyducks.

While the appearance of Pokémon at the fountain is of course offensive to the memories and families of those who lost their lives in the 9/11 attack, the National September 11 Memorial Museum is by no means a stranger to controversy. In 2014, the Museum decided to pull certain items being sold at its own gift shop, most famously a cheese plate shaped like the USA, with hearts marking where the four hijacked planes struck. Other souvenirs the museum's been criticized for include "Darkness" hoodies with the image of the Twin Towers, to stuffed animal search dogs and jewelry. The fact that the Museum even has a gift shop is also something that critics have spoken out against.

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2. Auschwitz


After this part of Poland became annexed by Nazi Germany, a massive concentration camp was constructed to house Polish prisoners, as local prisons were already filled to capacity. The native Polish inhabitants were forced from their homes, and those who were able-bodied were forced at gunpoint to labor on the construction of the camp. In the summer and fall of 1941, the Nazi armies of Germany launched a massive invasion of the Soviet Union.

Codenamed Operation: Barbarossa, the Nazis experienced an initial surge of victories. It was during this time that Hitler enacted dramatic changes in his party's ideology, and more than ever the Nazi war machine began fanning the fires of anti-Semitism. Auschwitz started seeing an influx of Jewish prisoners of war. Initially interned as forced laborers, the Jews eventually became victims of annihilation. Concentration camps, Auschwitz chief among them, transformed from barracks meant to house people into facilities designed to destroy them. Gas chambers were constructed at the Birkenau camp in Auschwitz, along with four crematoriums. Throughout World War II, the Nazis kept expanding their "killing factories", which saw the systematic massacre of at least 1.1 million Jews by the war's end.

So you could probably understand why caretakers of the Auschwitz Memorial were upset at seeing people stomping around the historical site in search of imaginary cartoon gaming monsters. Pokémon Go's development Niantic had previously designated Auschwitz as an in-game location for an earlier augmented reality title called Ingress, and while Ingress had enjoyed a successful launch and maintained a respectable player base during its height, it had no means the instant, stampede-inducing popularity of Pokémon Go. It's likely Niantic didn't stop to think about the real-world repercussions of their game, and by re-using the game engine from Ingress, Auschwitz was included as a PokéStop location. This led to the Auschwitz Memorial making a plea to Niantic to remove the site from the game on the developer's public Twitter account. Niantic apologized and said it would begin removing sensitive historical locations like Auschwitz and other concentration camps from the app.

3. Cemeteries


Many have observed how PokéStops at solemn landmarks trivialize the significance of these sites, and cemeteries are no exception. Even if a particular cemetery isn't immediately relevant to your family, there's a lot to be said about being considerate and respectful of your neighbors in the community.

Be mindful, and don't trod all over a place usually reserved for mourning and remembering lost loved ones. That Raticate isn't worth the rude stares and moral reprehension you'd be heaping on yourself.

Final Thoughts

While this may seem like common sense, trust me...it’s NOT. People have been placing fun above respect, and this should not be. Please stop and think before you go into some of these places in an effort to be the very best. Thanks in advance!

(Last Updated On: August 8, 2016)
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