The Anti-Pokemon Backlash as It Currently Stands in Seattle

Is Pokemon Go the new Google Glass?

As you have no doubt heard by now, the world has become swept up in Pokemon fever yet again.

In Pokemon Go, players hunt for the 20-year-old franchise’s fictional characters in the real world. The game is an example of augmented reality, which utilizes the camera and geo-tagging features of a player’s phone to present a world filled with cute creatures, virtual awards, and Pokemon gyms where normally there would be just boring old reality. On the positive side, the game has resulted in an uptick in outdoor activity, but it has also unintentionally facilitated a few robberies, as well as one Wyoming woman accidentally reenacting a scene from the 1986 film, Stand by Me. And while the game is a knockout with roughly 9.5 million daily users, it has also drawn the ire of a few critics.

David Meinert, the owner of several bars in Seattle, generated a fair amount of attention back in 2013 when he banned the use of Google Glass in his establishments, even throwing out one customer who refused to put away his device (we later profiled the glasshole, Nick Starr). This of course caused a stir online and lots of tech-vs-anti-tech back-and-forth.

Now Meinert has made sounds that he’ll be banning Go, too.

(If the other guy in that conversation looks familiar, that’s because it’s Seattle Weekly’s former Editor-in-Chief, Mike Seely. Hey Mike!)

Meinert, who couldn’t be reached for further comment today, is not alone in his apparent desire to keep players away from his businesses. One user on Reddit mentioned that the Center for Wooden Boats has been “overwhelmed by hundreds of Pokemon players at their docks” in South Lake Union.

According to Michael Luis, the executive director at the Center, players have had an unfortunate tendency to “cluster up in one spot” causing difficulties for the center, which teaches classes and hosts woodworking workshops. The center uses the docks to access their boats, which have been reportedly found with uninvited Pokemon Go players aboard. Luis admitted that while the game has brought more people down to the Center for Wooden Boats, it has not actually seen a pick-up in business.

He’s not going to ban the people from the docks, but does ask that while players are searching the shoreline for Pokemon, they be courteous to the businesses nearby and careful where they are walking. Luis also took the time to remind everyone that while it’s good to be out and get active, “the best way to do that is really by turning off the phone and getting in a rowboat.”

Update: Yup, definitely the new Google Glass:

Update 2:

David Meinert also reached out to Seattle Weekly to comment about Pokemon Go shortly after this story was published, in his post he commented:

“I don’t understand what Pokemon Go is. Nor do I really care about it. That said, managers, staff and customers at different places I own do have opinions about it. At The 5 Point, that means the managers and staff have requested for us to ‘ban it’, whatever that even means with an app. And they have their reasons. But at Lost Lake Cafe & Lounge, the managers and staff have embraced it and are working with the all to offer prizes, etc (again, I have no idea how that works, but great).”

Meinert offered the following consolidation to fans and critics of Pokemon Go:

“If you hate the Pokemon Go craze, you have a place to escape it at The 5 Point. If you love it, watch Lost Lake for Pokemon Go ‘stuff.’ Whatever that might be. But different strokes for different folks. And look, I’m not living to make crazy ass NIck Starr happy. I do care what my managers, staff and customers think though, and I’m letting them decide.”

Meinert followed this statement in typical fashion, by encouraging folks to check out his bars and capitalize on his food and drink specials.