Photo: Evan Matthews
Photo: Evan Matthews


While many people have been busy playing the new video game, Pokémon Go, some others have decided to say, “Pokémon? No”.

Monica Rohatynchuk, a McBride resident, says too many people have been trespassing on her family’s property, and all because of the game.

Pokémon Go is a free-to-play, location-based, virtual reality game developed by Niantic for smart devices, according to the company’s website, and the game was initially released in selected countries in July 2016.

The game allows people to travel around the real world, hunting and catching Pokémon with the camera on their smart device, but the game doesn’t differentiate between private and public property.

“Where we’re located, our driveway is half a kilometer long,” says Rohatynchuk.

One car pulled into their driveway, and left, according to Rohatynchuk, and then a second.

“Then there was a third vehicle, but this one came all the way down our driveway — right to the front door of our house,” says Rohatynchuk.

Rohatynchuk’s husband wasn’t having any of it, she says, while describing him as being perturbed.

“He went outside and this young teenager — who was playing Pokémon with his cell phone in his car — turns around and chews up our lawn, while almost hitting our dogs as he’s leaving,” she says.

Fifteen-year-old Gavyn Rich lives in McBride and has caught over 200 Pokémon in just over a week. The game offers nostalgia, and a way for he and his friends to combine a love of the outdoors with the traditional teenage hobby of gaming, he says.

Pokémon are creatures of all shapes and sizes, who live in the wild or alongside humans, according to the Pokémon website. Pokémon are raised and commanded by their owners called “Trainers”.

“I played a bunch when I was a kid — just on my Gameboy,” says Rich. “This game has a real-life, yet still-virtual feel, and it’s cool and interesting.

“It kind of feels like you are the character, going around and doing cool stuff,” he says.

The more users in an area, the more Pokémon will appear in that area, according to Rich. The Husky in McBride is a good example, he says, as people are always passing through.

However, Rich says his house is in a more rural area, so there aren’t many Pokémon at all, and he says he has to go into town to play.

Although the app does offer warnings like don’t trespass, and to be aware of your surroundings, Rich says the decision ultimately lies with the user, and people need to use common sense.

“Even if there isn’t a no trespassing sign, if it’s clearly somebody’s house, technically you still should not be on their property,” says Rich.

“I wouldn’t be doing anything out of the ordinary. I wouldn’t cross the highway and not look. If someone has a no trespassing sign, you clearly need to respect that,” he says.

The advice, according to Rich, is to stick to places anybody can go.

But Rohatynchuk sees the game differently.

“The game is pathetic, honestly,” she says. “If this game is something that needs to be used to encourage kids to get out of the house, it’s pathetic.”

If people were more open about what they were doing, and asked permission, Rohatynchuk says she might be more open to it, but if someone shows up unannounced it can cause potential harm.

Pokémon Go’s paying users peaked mid-July when the game had 56 per cent more paying users than all other mobile games combined, according to Slice Intelligence.