Pokemon GO has had quite the hold on the world’s population since it first launched.
One drawback to the popularity of the handheld game has been people playing it where they really have no business playing it. This has never been more true than when reports began surfacing of people running around the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC. Among the Pokemon GO players was at least one who claimed he had caught one creature which was a bird that shot lethal gas out of its mouth.
It’s not hard to understand why the proprietors of this museum were especially uncomfortable with reports of that creature on their grounds. To that end, NBC News reports the facility has officially asked visitors to turn the app off and put away their phones.
The problem for the museum is that players who want catch all the Pokemon are going to have a hard time putting the app away while there are still some creatures running around the area. To that end, the organization has been talking to Niantic.
Those talks are aimed at getting the facility removed from the application altogether. “Playing Pokemon Go in a memorial dedicated to the victims of Nazism is extremely inappropriate.” Andy Hollinger, director of communications for the museum, said in a statement to the media on Tuesday evening.
The Holocaust Museum opened in Washington, DC in 1993 and was built in order to honor the millions of Jews who were systematically murdered by the Nazis from 1933 to 1945. Since the place opened up, the people who have gone there have treated it with the respect it deserves.
The problem now seems to be Pokemon hunters are willing to go almost anywhere in search of the elusive and the rare creatures. These players are getting help from the developers of the game. Niantic even likely thought it was helping places like the museum by placing Pokemon within its walls.
There have been more than a few places which have already said they aren’t fond of having people visiting their businesses and museums just to round up digital animals. PokeStops and PokeGyms have been popping all over as well. These tend to be businesses though they can usually be visited from outside whatever locations the app tells players to visit.
The Holocaust Museum is a bit different in that it has a number of PokeStops throughout the facility. On the one hand, there are likely people who might not have visited otherwise now itching to get in. On the other, they are not paying the place the proper respect.
It becomes worse when something like what the Washington Post has reported. The Pokemon that has caused quite the controversy is called a Koffing. The Koffing emits poisonous gas and that gas was seen floating by a sign for the museum’s Helena Rubinstein Auditorium. The auditorium shows the testimonials of Jews who survived the gas chambers according to one image making its way around the web.
Even after some people contested whether or not the Koffing image was real, it still points out the very real problem places like this are facing now that Pokemon has become all the rage again. It should be pointed out there are other locations, including Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium, where the state’s beloved Nebraska Cornhuskers play football that has gone out of its way to get people in to play the game.
Until the mania surrounding the application dies down, there’s likely going to be more stories like this one. The good news is, the mania seizing people who “gotta catch them all” should die down at some point. Just when Pokemon GO drops in popularity is anyone’s guess.
[Image via Niantic]