Pokémon GO Survival Guide!

Pokémon GO got released to the public last week.  If you saw what seemed like more people than usual walking around with their cell phones out looking down at the screen, there's a go chance they were trying to catch 'em all.  The game uses the phone's GPS and real world locations to play.  You go to landmarks to get items or battle in Pokémon gyms and the creatures pop up all over the place.  My wife snagged three Pokémon in a McDonald's drive thru.  The game is a lot of fun, but it makes you get out in the real world, so you have to be careful.

Here's a few tips for you.  Yes, many of these should be obvious, but a reminder never hurts.

People's property is their property.  The game tells you there's Squirtle nearby: YAY!  But its in someone's back yard: uh oh.  As tempting as it may be, it not a good idea to go roming through other people's yards and such in your hunts.  That person might be completely cool with what you're doing, but the neighbors might get nervous.  Best case is you get to explain the game to new person, possibly a police officer.  Worst case: crazy neighbor person comes out with shotgun.  Fortunately, the radius in the game for catching Pokémon is pretty wide so if a critter is in someone's back yard, you'll probably be about to snag it from the sidewalk.

When going out at night to play the game, remember that you are going out at night.  Wear some bright colors.  And like the song says: nothing good happens after 2 AM.  That guy on the corner might not be out hunting for a Zubat.

Look where you're going!  Seriously.  A little situational awareness goes a long way.  There's already been people bumping into each other and running into walls.

Go out in groups!  While this is a good safety tip, it also makes the game a lot more fun.  Go out as a family.  Find a buddy.  We hit a Pokéstop (place to get items in the game) at a park over the weekend.  There were about a dozen of us there playing the game.  Most everyone had a buddy with them.  Everyone was friendly and having a great time.  It was a blast.  On the flip side there's been a case of criminals staking out Pokéstops waiting for players who are out by themselves to rob them.  This gets back to being aware of your surroundings.  Also traveling in groups does cut down on the chances of being confronted by a potential mugger or worse.

Remember your common sense.  Its a neat idea, the thought of going on an adventure to play this game.  But if you're out somewhere and thinking about checking a spot that may not be safe.  Remember, its just a game and you'll have other chances to snag that particular Pokémon.

All that said, I think the game is really great.  There are a few risks involved, but there's always a risk when heading out your front door.  The fun and exercise you'll get out of playing the game do outweight those risks.  So head out, have fun, and be safe!