October 24, 2016

Holocaust museum pleads: stop playing Pokémon Go here

A player actually trying to catch a Pokémon within the Holocaust Museum.

Pokémon Go is a huge phenomenon, but there are places where people should simply know not be on their mobile phones.

Pretty much at the top of that list? The Holocaust Museum in Washington DC.

Speaking with the Washington Post, the institution has said it is trying to get the – count ’em – three Pokéstops which have been generated within its building removed from the app.

Currently, people are playing Pokémon Go within the museum while wandering around its exhibits, which highlight the atrocities of the Nazi era and how millions of innocent men, women and children were murdered.

“Playing the game is not appropriate in the museum, which is a memorial to the victims of Nazism,” the museum’s comms director Andrew Hollinger told The Post.

“We are trying to find out if we can get the museum excluded from the game.”

One particularly troubling image circulating online yesterday appeared to show the poison gas Pokémon Koffing in the museum – a situation so inappropriate that whether the image was legitimate or not, the very possibility this could occur is enough to hope The Pokémon Company and developer Niantic sit up and take notice.

Not everyone agrees, however. While researching this story the Post found a player who had released a lure item within the museum which spawned swarms of creatures for a small crowd of players.

“It’s not like we came here to play,” said Angie, a friend of the player who had released the lure. “But gotta catch ’em all.”

Pokémon Go uses Google Maps data and information from Niantic’s previously AR game Ingress to populate the world with Pokéstops and other feature. A lot of the app is algorithmically based, but there is still surely something which can be done to edit the data.

We’ve got in contact with The Pokémon Company to find out what can be done.

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