Pokémon Go: Gotta Cheat 'Em All?

To cheat or not to cheat; that is the question. Are all cheaters a blight on the Pokémon Go community, or are there instances where cheating is acceptable?

Where there are games, there are cheaters. And Niantic’s bombshell success Pokémon Go is no exception. But what effect do these players have on the game as a whole? And are there acceptable times to cheat with an AR game such as this?

Most people have accepted that Pokémon Go was successful in making geeks like us go outside and get some exercise. But some Twitch streamers and other gamers have decided to rebel by finding other ways to hatch their eggs or find new Pokémon, and these corner-cutters are sharing their ideas with the public. (Note: Please don’t microwave your phones, people. That’s not a legitimate cheat; it’s a troll.)

From hacking GPS coordinates to finding ways to track movement for phones while remaining in their chairs, these more lackluster players are proving that even the most simple-seeming games can have cheats.

Snorlax must be their spirit pokémon.

Is this necessarily a bad thing?

While it does go against the purpose of the game, cheaters aren’t really affecting others’ gameplay. Yet. That argument may steadily disappear as one-on-one PvP is introduced, or gyms start falling to players who have access to Pokémon that would not normally be available in their area.

This unfair advantage may inspire others to follow in their footsteps. The charity walkers may disappear; the shelter dogs may lose their walking partners. We have seen the beautiful side of gamers brought out by Pokemon Go, but if sloth overtakes us all, then the dark side of the gaming community may reign supreme.

Chansey wants everyone healthy and safe.

What about those who aren’t cheating for the sake of laziness?

Is it OK for cheaters to prosper when they otherwise could not play the game? An ongoing debate in the online community regards how the physically disabled or ill can still enjoy Pokémon Go. If you cannot leave your bed due to an illness, how can you visit Pokéstops? If you are physically incapable of going on long walks, how can you hatch your eggs?

Niantic’s Terms of Service are very clear about playing with someone else’s account, so would-be entrepreneurs like Ivy St Ive have withdrawn offers to train Pokémon for a price.


How can we make the game fun for all without cheating?

Some trainers are stepping up to help those in need. Officer Jenny memes have been making the rounds, encouraging older players to give kids a hand and check out the safety of Pokéstops. Nurse Joy has been encouraging trainers to drop a lure on Pokéstops at children’s hospitals. One heartwarming post from the mother of an autistic child discusses how her child was verbalizing and socializing while learning to play the game. 

Niantic is opening channels for players to give feedback regarding how they can improve the game. Recently, they released the option for players to submit requests for stops and gyms in their area through the official website. The best way to make the game enjoyable for all is to give suggestions to the company— perhaps enabling a special mode on the game for those who cannot travel easily, or a clause in the ToS excusing playing on another’s account when helping out the disabled or ill.

Whatever the final outcome, I think we can all agree that those cheating out of laziness should join Team Rocket in their next blast off.

Do you have an idea about leveling the playing field for those who are disabled or ill? What do you think of the cheating or professional trainers? Let us know in the comments!

Published Jul. 20th 2016
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