Please stop playing Pokémon Go in cemeteries

You smile for a moment as a cherished memory flutters by. A tear falls from your face as the hole this person has left in your life swells a little larger than usual. Just as you go to kneel down and straighten the floral arrangement next to the tombstone, this peaceful resting place is interrupted by the last thing you imagine hearing right now.

HELL yes. I caught the Lugia!

Turning and facing the interruption, you see 18 adults with a handful of children next to over a dozen cars. These people are playing a game in the cemetery, standing in a cluster right next to a row of someone else's family members. A minute or two passes, and this caravan of noisy people roll out together in hunt of the next place to play the game.

Unfortunately, this isn't a hypothetical. It's happening all over right now, and in my personal opinion, it's something that should stop.

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Niantic is no stranger to this particular topic. People have been playing in "off limits" places since the first day of Ingress, including someone getting caught setting up a portal on the 50-yard line of a big football stadium. We've seen warning messages about playing these games where there are rules prohibiting you being there, but a cemetery during the day is frequently not on that list. The gates are open, the Gyms are lit, and occasionally there are raid events that randomly appear in these locations.

Over this last weekend, I saw upwards of 80 people playing at the same time.

Why is this all of a sudden such a big problem? Coupled with the the Year 2 update with Raids, the folks who attended Pokémon Go Fest unlocked the new Legendary Pokémon. These creatures are bigger than the other raid events by far, and they're much harder to catch. This means people are gathering in large groups again for the first time since the start of the game last year. The launch of these elite Pokémon includes a warning to play with at least 19 other people when attempting the Raid, and in many areas multiple groups are running at the same time. Over this last weekend, I saw upwards of 80 people playing at the same time in areas that really weren't built to hold that many people or that many vehicles.

It's not hard to understand why this is a problem for cemeteries. Not only is it widely considered disrespectful to be playing a video game where others are in mourning, but the insane increase in vehicle traffic actually interferes with people coming to the cemetery for its intended purpose. If the Pokemon Gym is in an area far away from the parking lot, you frequently see massive lines of cars on the roads of the cemetery, which are frequently not wide enough to really do that while normal cemetery operations are underway.

Pokemon Go Fest

While this irritates me personally, especially when the local Facebook groups for Pokémon Go in my area try to avoid the conversation by only giving an address instead of the name of the Gym when trying to rally people to a Raid, there are some who suggest this behavior is the natural evolution of how people have always used cemeteries. From Keith Eggener speaking with The Atlantic:

They were quite important spaces for recreation as well. Keep in mind, the great rural cemeteries were built at a time when there weren't public parks, or art museums, or botanical gardens in American cities. You suddenly had large pieces of ground, filled with beautiful sculptures and horticultural art. People flocked to cemeteries for picnics, for hunting and shooting and carriage racing. These places became so popular that not only were guidebooks issued to guide visitors, but also all kinds of rules were posted.

Its fantastic that so many people are outside, interacting with new people, and getting exercise with this game as a foil. The only problem I have with this mentality is how much extra work it puts on cemetery operators, which is an extension of a larger issue in general with the way Niantic is able to shirk responsibility for the way its users behave when playing this game. There's a tool for unregistering your business or landmark as a PokeStop or Gym, but it's not an instant process and puts all of the onus on the people who didn't ask for this in the first place. The same could be said for creating new rules and putting them on new signs and then enforcing these rules inside a cemetery. It's not that the idea is without merit, it's just a lot to ask of people who probably have no idea what a Pokémon is to begin with.

In my opinion, Niantic should exempt cemeteries from these Raid events with an opt-in option for maintainers of these facilities. Until something like that happens, it's up to you as the players of this game to take up a little personal responsibility and go hunting for your Legendary Pokémon elsewhere.

Russell is a Contributing Editor at Android Central. He's a former server admin who has been using Android since the HTC G1, and quite literally wrote the book on Android tablets. You can usually find him chasing the next tech trend, much to the pain of his wallet. Find him on Facebook and Twitter

104 Comments
  • Agreed. Respect to families who have lost loved ones should be given peace and solitude during their visits.
  • Yeah, respect the dead
  • Respect in this case should only mean that people are quiet, not told to not play. My grandmother passed and she taught me how to play video games. She would be happy to see me playing at her spot because that is what she and I did together. I would be quiet about it to not disturb others, but I will play. And I would bet that a number of loved ones in cemeteries played video games so they too would be happy about it. Do not assume that what your loved one wants you to do is the only thing anyone should be doing.
  • It's not about what your loved one wants you to do, it's about what is viewed as common decency in society as a whole. Sure, if you want to memorialize and pay your respects to your grandmother by sitting at her burial site and playing a game then fine. Pokemon go requires people to walk around and search for monsters, visit stops and drop lures. So as I read in the article, its really not about people actually visiting a loved one's site, but its about the people who will play the game no matter where they are. Imagine someone going to pay their respects to a dear loved one and they find someone walking around on their grave playing a game.
  • until you can figure out how to tell me which deceased ones would be happy and which ones offended, the only polite thing to do is to assume they'd all be offended unless you know otherwise. plus, i doubt the way this works is that people can visit whatever grave they want and join the raid. it's probably placed on a group of random graves and not just your grandmother's. until then, you are absolutely disrespecting the dead no matter what excuse you provide.
  • Here is one of those disgusting people that justifies playing video games on other people's Graves.
  • No one respects the living, let alone respecting the dead. I didnt hear no out cry about anyone party'n in grave yard as kids. Or other social activities. But PokeMon, come on. Just dont trash the place or leave your garbage behind. What would Jesus do
  • it wasn't an entire cutlural movement to do so. cops would still be called on people partying in graveyards. but it was an isolated event to each graveyard. so yeah, people did complain about it, but locally because it wasn't a worldwide event.
  • *Please stop playing Pokémon Go FTFY
  • You should be down in the ground with the dead people.
  • really nagga you maybe the most immature person I have ever met in my life
  • I'll play my Pokémon in the grieving family's house after I play at the cemetery where they were buried.
  • I want my grave stone to be a solar powered charging station. I prefer to celebrate the family I lost, everybody is different. This article is just one person's opinion.
  • except the graveyard isn't just for your family (unless you have a private one, in which case, there is no gym/raid/etc. there.). so until you clear it with every other family at that cemetary, you're being disrespectful.
  • "I want...", then that's just you.
  • Sick
  • Excuse me but blame Niantic. As far as I know there is no process for commenting on or suggesting for removal sites that are inappropriate or even incorrectly named or positioned. This was possible with Ingress. I myself have only entered a cemetery once to hit up stops and do a raid when those events became part of the game. The stops are historic mausoleums yet I still felt very uncomfortable being in that area. Niantic should have public process for removing stops and gyms. Had there been on I would have submitted those for removal.
  • You can go to their website and request a stop or a gym be removed.
  • There is certainly a process. When the game.forat started, there was a PokeStop I'm The middle of our rail yard, in the middle of a mainline track. And it was even labeled "Railroad Yard.". So Niantic KNEW they had a PokeStop in a dangerous and illegal place. So we had to contact Niantic and have it removed. Imagine the fallout if someone has been struck by a train while getting the PokeStop. At the very least they could have and likely would have been cited for trespassing.
  • Common sense is still a thing in 2017 if I'm not mistaken. I don't see people walking around on interstates, firing ranges, high crime cities and so-on. There has to be some voice in people's heads saying, "It's not safe to play here." Well the same goes for what is viewed as proper...."It's not right to play here."
  • How about we retire video games for anyone out of high-school lmao
  • YOUR FUN IS WRONG!
  • I think they were being sarcastic...
  • Admittedly, I know nothing of the writings of Pokémon Go x but with all of the location /map tech available, shouldn't the game maker be able to edit such places out?
  • This is the stupidest article yet. Why Pokémon Go? Why not ban Candy Crush from being played in a cemetery? Why not every other mobile game? Pokémon Go like every game can be played anywhere on the planet. Cemetery or not.
  • B/c PoGo is played in large LOUD groups which was one point of the article.
  • This must be the dumbest comment yet. At what point does Candy Crush, or any other game direct you to a cemetery to play? You are either illiterate or just plain stupid to not understand the point of this article.
  • I'm going with plain stupid.
  • Or do it at 2 am when there's no one around... To be fair, I don't think there's really anything wrong with playing it in a cemetery as long as you follow Wheaton's law of "don't be a dick".
  • Raids stop at 9PM.
  • Do they? Haven't played it in a few months.
  • Agreed. There's a huge difference between playing a game in a cemetery and fist-pumping over beating a raid boss within earshot of a funeral. There's a cemetery a few blocks from my house, and I walk my dog (often while playing Pokemon Go) through it pretty frequently. I'm not an *******, though, so I steer clear of it any time there's an active service or procession going through. I don't think this has ever bothered anyone.
  • This article was correct and well written. This article was incorrect to have been posted for Android users, a lot of whom don't understand or care about anything outside their bedroom or basement. I was dreading reading the comments here.
  • Strange, seeing as yours is probably the dumbest comment on here lol.
  • Well yeah, but look who posted it. Has he every commented on a post and NOT said the dumbest thing in the entire thread?
  • I see i have a reputation to keep. Thanks!
  • I don't think it should be banned from cemeteries. Like one poster commented... just don't be a dick. Everyone grieves differently. I have no issue with people playing where my relatives are buried. From my experience, Pokemon go groups of players tend to be very friendly and having fun. No reason that should be considered an insult to someone at that cemetery.
  • that's just you. there are hundreds of families represented at various cemeteries. clearly plenty of people find this type of behavior disrespectful, therefore its common sense to assume a few of those people will be at whatever cemetery you are at. just don't mess with the dead. its not difficult.
  • Respect the dead and their family members and other loved ones who mourn them or go catch my Pokémon. How disgusting are you people who pick the latter.
  • We make it a point to not enter a graveyard to play a game if an active funeral is going on. With that said, we have been approached by owners on several occasions and they have emphatically said we are welcome. In fact one was curious how he might be able to turn it into sales opportunity. We have several beautiful and historical graveyards in Salem VA. I think it is great that more people get to experience the history, General Andrew Lewis is buried in one such graveyard in Salem VA. Culturally Americans give death such a stigma, I think this helps defeat that stigma just a little. Here is one of my favorite pictures of where General Andrew Lewis is buried. https://photos.app.goo.gl/gmU19etPQMNRw2Kt2
  • My recommendation is to play Pokemon into traffic. Maybe watch anime in the streets as well. Cemeteries need the business. Great segment of the gene pool that needs thinning anyway.
  • If that's how you really feel, I genuinely think you should seek help. Seriously. That's not a normal way to think about other human beings... Especially when your only rationalisation is that they play a video game or watch cartoons.
  • You use a 1 as an i, you should take your own advice. Ahh see I can make judgments about your life's worth bad one one data point too.
  • While I agree that a crowd gathering for a raid near a grieving family isn't a great idea, I see nothing wrong with playing in a cemetery. I visit my daughter weekly and always play when I'm there. I also see families picnicking and children running around, this doesn't bother me in the least.
  • I really wish there was a word to convey how sorry I am too hear about your daughter. I know from losing my grandmother, no word is ever enough, and I certainly can't even begin to imagine it if I'd lost my kid. I wish you all the strength and love in the world
  • Anyone playing PG in a cemetery is risking an @ss-beating.
  • Anyone who would assault someone for playing a video game in a cemetery has serious issues.
  • I'd serious kick some clueless fool's ass if I saw them playing this in a cemetery.
  • Anyone who would deeply disrespect another human being by making noise and tripping/running over graves while that human being is grieving for lost loved ones has serious issues and is a prime candidate for an @ss-beating. Absolutely fine for anyone to disagree with me. Everyone has a right to their opinion, but I'm not the one disrespecting the sanctity of a cemetery and asking for a pounding.
  • Disrespect the dead and I'll disrespect you........yeah great policy. How about instead of being an internet though guy you be a real human and when you have a disagreement you to inform the other party? "Hay bro, we're trying to grieve here, could you keep it down?" Would probably go much farther then beating the guy. Beating him does nothing but make more noise, especially when the police show up. But you do you, and when the body builder comes by to play and you try to beat him and end up eating for, have fun.
  • If you're so stupid you need to be informed that disturbing grieving people and disrespecting a cemetery playing your imbecilic game isn't proper behavior then you should become a permanent resident of the cemetery. Amazing how stupid and disrespectful technology makes some folks these days.
  • And you hitting someone isn't disrespectful? Oh right it's not technology that makes us disrespectfull, it's our attitude that we are right and everyone else is wrong that does it.
  • You sound like a pathetic little snowflake. I'm sure mommy n daddy tried their best but all the participation trophies they gave you led to your unwillingness to accept responsibility for anything. No, technology didn't create these disrespectful imbeciles playing this foolish game, technology did however greatly exacerbate those existing traits in these baboons. As evidenced by their behavior playing this game.
  • I feel sorry for imbeciles like you. Nothing like assuming an entire segment of the population is beneath you because they play video games. By the way most professional athletes play video games. Why don't you attack one of them the next time you see one. That way you can show them how weak and pathetic you are as you are getting your ass beat, which you so thoroughly deserve.
  • Awww I hurt your snowflake feelings? Just cuz you spend your pathetic life playing this child's game while I'm bird ******* chicks don't take your nerd blue ball rage out on me. And where did I condemn all video games baboon? I have a PS3 and play lots of games, you know like a civilized guy in the privacy of my home not running around the world disturbing people on the street chasing these kiddie images.
  • You know, those that call others snowflakes are in my experience the ones who are most upset by others view points. By the way I take responsibility for my actions every day, it's sort of a requirement in the military. But go ahead and think your special and your always right, and everyone else is dumb. Have fun kiddo.
  • I'm only upset by stupidity and fools who lack common sense. You say you're in the military, how bout if the idiots who play this nonsense started running around Arlington national cemetery playing this? Yeah I'd beat someone nerd for doing that.
  • Oh, and by the way, I'm retired USAF...so yeah maybe I get enraged by idiots playing this garbage in cemeteries cuz I spent 23 years being very responsible as well so fools who aren't responsible and lack common sense annoy the hell out of me.
  • I figured you were retired USAF be the way you were acting. I made generations about you because you were making generalizations about people playing this game. Does feel good; does it? The military's prim and proper grooming dominates your thinking and now you threaten families playing Pokémon Go in a cemetery. If you ever attack my family if they are playing Pokémon Go in a cemetery respectfully, be prepared to get your ass kicked. It must be a pitiful world to live in with a stick constantly in your ass. I hope you can get surgery to remove it one day. It must hurt.
  • BTW, my family has fought in every war in this nation. I have every right to make claim of proper behavior just as you. We have been in this country since its infancy and thousands of years on this continent before the prim and proper bullshit that spews from your mouth. Be respectful of the dead. Do not play Pokémon Go if a funeral is happening, do not attack others for playing Pokémon Go in a cemetery ever!!!!!! You are a buffoon, imbecile, cretonne, and the scourge for society for mentioning such a thing.
  • You made "generations" about me? Yeah you sound bright baboon. Imbecile I doubt your family has ever served the call based on your stupidity. You're a geek coward spawned by a family of geek cowards. And if you and your geek coward family ever played this geek game in a cemetery I was paying my respects in I'd make you geeks regret you ever heard of this game for freaks.
  • I too think that the company would avoid places that would be intrusive, although I would not have a moral objection to playing games in a cemetery. Players should be considerate of what's going on around them, and that aspect is what I frequently find missing with Pokemon Go players. A live outdoor wedding with players strolling through during the ceremony, a live concert with players mindlessly walking within a few feet of the performers, players walking in front of cars then their grandparent gives YOU the finger? Yeah, I've seen all that happen, and I imagine a family would be a bit bothered by someone almost falling in the hole while they are saying their last goodbyes. For the record, when I picked up my recently deceased dad's remains from the funeral home after cremation, I looked at the box and said "Dad, you've lost weight!"
  • Get off my lawn!
  • I'm surprised it still has 80 users
  • It's the top earning game on iPhone and Android. People that hate on PoGo are generally fat losers.
  • From what I see only real losers who can't get a date play this garbage.
  • Maybe you need to improve your observation skills then. I know several couples,a few of them married, who've played it. And I've seen many more. It's a game. The people who play it are the people who enjoy playing it. That's the only real sweeping generalisation you can make about the player base that isn't idiotic.
  • Based on my observations the only sweeping fact, not generalization, is if you play this you're a socially awkward misfit.
  • Why would you say that? Because either you have no data points, or your not able to tell social akwardness from social norms. I've seen everyone from a 5 year old to whole social groups playing. Oh I get it, you don't play so those who do not be socially akward.
  • I've had my peace disturbed numerous times by disruptive imbeciles playing this game. From fools storming into a Starbucks I'm reading in to almost being knocked down on a Boston street by over excited PoGo players. They're in a city with some of the finest history and entertainment - and pubs- in the nation and they're playing this idiotic game? I'm sure there are plenty of decent folks who play it but the very nature of the game compels people to be disruptive to others.
  • If a person is disruptive, that's on them, not the game. Those same people would find a way to be disruptive without the game.
  • The very nature of pubs compels people to be disrespectfull, so let's ban alcohol....... Wait that was tried and didn't work.
  • Pubs compels people to be social and engaging. This garbage game is for awkward nerds who will die alone.
  • The game compels people to be social, and it doesn't destroy you liver not sure it cause your brain chemistry to be changed.
  • You're a hopeless nerd who lives a geek life playing a loser game.
  • I wonder what a person facing death is more worried about. Having people congregate near their place of burial or being forgotten. Playing a game, texting or making loud phone calls should never be done near a funeral or people visiting loved ones, but human activity should be celebrated. It's funny how some people have made it a mission to hate on everything fun that they aren't actively taking part of.
  • . This disregard for the feelings of grieving people just to play a mobile phone is typical of a generation that is very selfish and must always get its "fix". The argument that it's acceptable because so many people are doing it is asinine.
  • Just another reason to be disgusted with 21st century behavior.
  • Totally disagree. The Lakeview Cemetery in Cleveland is a huge hotspot for this game and the owners/operators are happy to have all the visitors now that the group is more respectful of the flow of traffic. Like someone up there mentioned: if you see a funeral, have some respect. Otherwise, be respectful of the property like you would anywhere else and don't litter, mess anything up, stay off grass you're not supposed to walk on, etc.
  • I find it disrespectful when I'm quietly sitting at a plot and there are people taking to themselves and crying. It's just not Ok to be crying so loudly in public when people are trying to have a quiet afternoon.
  • That's odd. I was about to say I find it disrespectful when I'm crying and other people are quietly sitting. Was that you the other day disrupting my crying? How very rude
  • I'd leave my own parents funeral for a lugia.... or an unown for that matter.. any tips on good cemeteries to tear it up in?
  • And to anyone who thinks only losers play this game, I've been with almost as many women as I have caught Pokémon!!! And I've got all of gen 1 and most of 2.. it's just such an addicting game.. don't hate it till you try it
  • I can see both sides of this. I KNOW it's probably extremely frustrating to have huge groups of people in for raids, however at the same time, most PokeGoers are respectful in these situations, at least in my town. We do our best to stay on the paths, mind our voices and vocab, and I sure as heck don't go into cemeteries during burials or while mourners are there. I don't feel that people should avoid playing the game in cemeteries, but it would help if behaviors would change. If you really have a huge issue with it, you're likely welcome to email Niantic with your plea for eliminating gyms in cemeteries.
  • Id smile because that's what life is all about. And I would love to the my loved one would feel joy to.
  • Truly, I do not get the point of Pokemon. Chasing around gathering stuff that neither feeds me, nor puts money in my pocket, and the like. From my observation Pokemon cost money driving around wasting gas and time. What is the point of it how does it enrich oneself, their family? Pokemon players trespass on folks property, disrupt other folks as in this cemetery article, and more, all so they can capture some virtual thingy-bob. There are many more creative, and productive activities to engage in. This reminds me of the Pet Rock craze, so it does not matter how much it is justified it remains a stupid activity.
  • You just said it, you don't understand it. You think it's a stupid activity, great..that's your opinion. Your opinion isn't gospel.
  • You sound like a lonely little nerd. I bet you've never kissed a girl but you defend playing this garbage you waste your time on.
  • Commenting on Android Central neither feeds you nor puts money in your pocket.
  • How do you know that the raiding party isn't raiding as part of their funeral? I'm serious. When I die, I don't know what will be around, but I do know that my funeral will be atypical. I want people doing the things I liked so there will be video games, rap music, Harry Potter and Stephen King books, etc.
  • Where I grew up, kids hung out and drank in the cemetery, photographers went there for the scenery, and people parked their cars near a scenic over look. Oldest cemetery in the area, built upon a bluff over looking the city. I've been there numerous times, I don't believe in the after life. However I've got the respect to be quiet and stay off the graves.
  • People still play Angry Bird and PokemonGo ? LoL !
  • Disgusting
  • Is this where I can find the ghost pokemon??
  • I don't think they need to stop playing, I think being respectful and making sure they aren't playing when a funeral is going on is fine.
  • I live next to a church and a cemetery and there's 6 stops and 1 gym. I personally have no problems with people playing in a cemetery or church, but I recognize that other people might have issues. The key is common sense. If there's a funeral in progress, and a gym battle available, you forget the gym battle and move on. My neighbor is one of the managers of the cemetery and that's exactly how they feel, as well. Be respectful of the living and dead. It's not a lot to ask.
  • People are still playing this? Darn.....
  • Onus is on Niantic to not put legendaries in cemeteries. I'm pretty sure the dead couldn't give two poops about what people are doing in cemeteries or anywhere else since they no longer exist as sentient beings. So unless a place is private property or closed to the public be prepared to deal with it.
  • Don't blame the player blame the developer.
  • If you are a decent human being, you don't go Pokemoning or Ingressing (most pokestops and gyms are also Ingress portals) if there's any kind of funeral / wake/ mourning people around.
    We have a few nice BIG cemeteries that we ingress in (and now Pokemon) and since we are grown-ups we don't bother people mourning, ever. I could be completely out of gear and see a burial going on and I'll go somewhere else to farm. (There are other places to farm and Pokemon)
    IF the cemetery is empty of people visiting gravesides, Pokemon and Ingress is fine. Don't damage anything. Don't leave trash around. Heck, pick up any trash you find on the ground.
    Leave it better than you found it.
  • lol no.
  • I can't believe that we are even discussing this. What kind of waste of a person would actually go in and desecrate a place like this?
  • It's a sign of the times. Imbeciles playing this garbage are selfish geeks who couldn't care less about cemeteries or respecting other people, alive or dead.
  • New Orleans resident here. Our cemeteries are already overrun with tourists running around and taking pictures. and occasionally desecrating mausoleums. People have been known to remove bricks and stick their phones inside to take pictures of the remains. A handful of people passing through to catch Picachu really doesn't bother me.