Pokémon Go has brought players to a variety of places around their cities, including libraries, parks and notable landmarks. Being able to catch Pokémon wherever and whenever has also led to some questionable instances, including people using the game to snap photos of Pokémon they've caught at historical sites like Arlington Cemetery and the National Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC. Now, both players and organizations are asking Pokémon Go players to have some respect and common courtesy when playing the game.
The National Holocaust Museum issued a statement to the Washington Post yesterday after employees noticed that people were using their phones inside the building to catch Pokémon. In one photo, a player posted a picture purporting to show Koffing, a gas/poison-type Pokémon, available for capture inside the building, but this could not be verified as real. As Pokémon are computer-generated, developer Niantic Labs may not have been aware that specific Pokémon would spawn at that specific location, but the fact that this could happen has upset quite a few people.
"Playing the game is not appropriate in the museum, which is a memorial to the victims of Nazism," the museum's communications director, Andrew Hollinger told the Post.
It was a sentiment echoed by the staff at Arlington National Cemetery, the United States' largest military cemetery, where more than 400,000 are interred. Employees were horrified were horrified to discover that people were coming onto the grounds and playing Pokémon Go, using headstones as backgrounds in their photos. In response, the cemetery's communications team issued a tweet asking players to have respect while visiting the grounds and put the game away.
We do not consider playing "Pokemon Go" to be appropriate decorum on the grounds of ANC. We ask all visitors to refrain from such activity.— Arlington Cemetery (@ArlingtonNatl) July 12, 2016
It's not just Arlington Cemetery, either, that players are questioning as appropriate playing grounds. On Reddit, one player noticed that there were dozens of kids in their hometown running from headstone to headstone to take pictures and catch Pokémon. The Reddit poster asked if there was a way for Niantic to remove cemeteries from the list of playable regions or leave those areas unpopulated, which is a similar question the Holocaust Museum's Hollinger had. He told the Post they were looking into ways to get the museum removed as a PokéStop.
Niantic Labs and Nintendo released a joint statement to Vox about the various locations available in the game, saying, "PokéStops and Gyms in Pokémon Go are found at publicly accessible places such as historical markers, public art installations, museums and monuments." The companies added that those who wanted to make a request or complaint could do so on Niantic's support page.
Neither company has said if they have plans to remove certain locations, like the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, which which preserves the history of the infamous Nazi concentration camp and memorializes its victims. The museum has also asked players to refrain from playing the game while visiting and has asked Niantic to remove the museum from the game. Polygon has asked for additional comment.