“So, all these people pulling up at all hours? We don’t know them… and we can’t stop it.”
Posted on July 10, 2016, at 5:41 p.m. ET
This is Boon Sheridan, a designer who lives in Massachusetts with his wife and cats.
Last year, the family moved into a lovely home that was originally built as a church in the 1800s.
Sheridan told BuzzFeed News that he and his wife were looking for a unique home, after previously living in a building that was once a convenience store.
“We liked places that were different,” he said.
On Friday, Sheridan downloaded the new Pokémon Go app. When he got home, he saw something that looked a little weird.
His house was showing up on the game as a “gym,” a place in the game where you can train and fight Pokémon.
“I thought, that can’t be right,” he said.
Sheridan said he didn’t really think much of it — until the next morning. Then, people started showing up at his house.
For the record, I’ve counted 15 people stopping by and lingering in their phones so far. I think at least three car visits as well.
People, mostly teens or young kids, were showing up at his house in droves, he said. Then they would sit outside, staring at his house and their phones.
The reason the players would just linger is that once they get to a gym, they have to remain in the proximity to “train” their fighters.
Some people went in a park across the street, he said, but most people got up close and personal with his “gym.” He said people came all through the night, which was a little creepy.
These cats figured it out, the bench in the park across the street is close enough to be ‘in’ the gym.
Many churches in the game are designated as “gyms,” Sheridan said, so he thinks that’s why his house was chosen.
The only real reference in the Pokémon GO Trainer guidelines is “Adhere to the rules of the human world.”
Sheridan said he thinks that “no one bothered to check and see if it was an actual church or if it was a residence.”
About 50 people have come to his house so far, Sheridan said. He has spent some time outside to engage with the players, hoping to meet his neighbors.
“I like meeting some of the people, it’s fun,” he said.
He even met the “owner” of the “gym,” which Sheridan said was pretty weird considering the “gym” is inside his house.
However, Sheridan said it is a little odd that he has no control over his home being a significant part of the game, and never signed off on being included. He said it doesn’t really bother him, but doesn’t love all the late-night visitors.
“I’d be cool with it if I could have some control over the hours,” he said. “I’d rather them get it sorted out a little bit better.”
Sheridan said he hopes to talk to the developers behind the game to ask if they could put some limits on when people can come to his home or maybe move the gym to the nearby park.
He’s also a little worried about what his neighbors may think.
Can’t wait to talk to my neighbors about it. “So, all these people pulling up at all hours? We don’t know them… and we can’t stop it.”
But for the most part, Sheridan is bemused by the whole thing.
“Are you training?” “Heck yeah, this is *my* gym!” “Cool, this is *my* house! We should be friends.”
“I’m not angry — it was more surprise than anything else,” he said.