Are you a Pokémon Master yet?
What is your current level in Ingress?
Do you know what an Augmented Reality Game is?
If you can not answer at least two of the three questions above, then you must read this. Yes, READ!
Welcome to Pokémon GO. This game is a Massively Multiplayer Online Augmented Reality Game or MMOARG. It means that the real world is your game field. If you want to become a Pokémon GO Master, you need to go out there and walk.
Let me tell you the breaking news: There are Laws that you must obey when searching far and wide. You can die. You can be mugged. You can be reported to the police. We are not scaring you, we want you to absorb that you are playing in the real world, not inside your screens.
As such, always remember the following:
Never ever force your way in Private Properties. This includes, but is not limited to, homes, offices, residential buildings (condominiums, hotels), fast foods, restaurants, and especially banks.
These places are to be avoided. Do not even bother to ask them if they can let you in so you can catch the Legendary Pokémon Celebi or you will surely spend the rest of your days in your mother’s basement (it is Celebi’s special move).
These places are private properties. Yes, they do allow the public to roam within and around their properties but they have rules that you must observe. Some examples are:
Never attempt to enter these establishments when they are closed. Once they open and there is an entrance fee, pay for it. Do not beg them to let you in for free. If you do not have money, then come back next time.
Once you are inside, respect their rules. If no cameras, then no cameras.
Libraries and Museums are a place of learning not a place to catch Pokémon. Observe silence.
Throw your garbage inside your bags and/or pockets. They are not your garbage bins.
Cemeteries are not the place to catch Gastly. The cemetery authorities have an unlimited supply of Haunters to unleash upon you.
Not because a property is public does it mean that you can do whatever you want. You are still under the Laws of the Republic of the Philippines. It is also not easy to identify which properties are public.
For example, not because a park is open to the public (free-of-charge too) does it mean it is a public park. Not because a property does not have a sign that says “Private Property, No Tresspassing” does it mean it is public property.
The only difference between a public property and private property is the DOs and DONTs in the former is more relaxed. You can point your camera anywhere, anytime (this is debatable, so you must still be careful). You can loiter (tambay). You can shout all you want until your vocal cords pop (if it is an open property, obviously).
Rizal Park / Luneta, for example, is a public park. Feel free to jump, run, sleep. But you are still expected to show respect, decency, and follow the park rules. Example, no large gatherings unless you have a permit — ask the park’s management on what constitutes a “large gathering”.
It does not matter if there is a sign or not, No Tresspassing is in our Laws. Unless it is an emergency, tresspassing just to catch a Pokémon is the most stupid reason you can ever give. Next time, they are going to put a sign that says “No Pokémon GO; No Ingress; No geocaching; No Augmented Reality Gamers”.
If there is a warning that it is a Restricted Area, then you should definitely never ever go there, especially military installations, laboratories, and biohazard areas.
Some may allow the public to enter and roam inside but it does not mean that you should. Military installations and bases have very high security protocols in place. This is never a place to catch that cutesy Evee.
There may be a Machamp in there too… a real Machamp who will escort you in their barracks to question what you are doing pointing your camera here and there, and walking to and fro. The last thing you want is to get Machop.
The same applies to government properties. If you have no official business, do not go inside. Most especially the Malacañang Palace. The PSGs (Presidential Security Guards) are rumoured to be Legendary Pokémon Masters (or probably Mythical Pokémon in disguise), do not mess with them.
The above five (5) is only a fraction of the things you will definitely encounter while playing Pokémon GO or any Augmented Reality Game (like Ingress). It is not a joke. Do not dismiss it. Do not even laugh. Do not even think “that will not happen to me, these guys are paranoid”.
We are veterans in Augmented Reality Games. Many, if not most, of us encountered it once, twice, even thrice. Some got into trouble (yes, police); some accidents and incidents. It is as real as your hands right now.
If you violate the above, you are not the only one who will be affected. All of us will be affected! Your fellow Pokémon GO Trainers. The Agents in Ingress. The soldiers of this other Augmented Reality Game. The mecha pilots of yet another ARG.
Your game field is the real world. Respect the Laws of the Land and you will be fine.
And… this is only the first step. Next time, we will talk about the dangers, life threatening dangers, of playing Augmented Reality Games that you must be aware of.
Images used under Fair Use Policy.