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What makes Pokémon Go?


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1. What is Pokémon Go (and why does it matter)?
2. Augmenting Reality & (Re)Configuring Space
3. Pokémon Go Perth?

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What makes Pokémon Go?

  1. 1. What makes Pokémon Go? Directions & Destinations, 1 September 2016 Dr Tama Leaver, Curtin University Department of Internet Studies Centre for Culture and Technology Curtin Institute for Computation @tamaleaver Artist: Pawel Kuczynski
  2. 2. Outline 1. What is Pokémon Go (and why does it matter)? 2. Augmenting Reality & (Re)Configuring Space 3. Pokémon Go Perth?
  3. 3. I. What is Pokémon Go (and why does it matter)?
  4. 4. What are Pokémon? • Created in 1995. • Originally a Gameboy video game (96). • Narrative about Pokémon trainers who collect ‘pocket monsters’ (Pokémon), who then train them and enter Pokémon battles. • The basic narrative and range of Pokémon now spans games, trading cards, television series, films, comic books, and other forms including the Pokémon Go mobile game.
  5. 5. Who are Niantic? • Software-development company focused on locative media and augmented reality. • Originally formed within Google, but spun off as an independent company in 2015. • In 2012 launched the locative-based Ingress game which added of augmented media to the material world. • Partnered with Nintendo and the Pokémon Company to create Pokémon Go, launched in July 2016.
  6. 6. Pokémon Go Basics • Users play as a Pokémon trainer (configurable avatar). • Utilise pokeballs and other tools to capture Pokémon • Pokémon spawn (appear) in the ‘real’ world. • Pokestops provide extra pokeballs and other tools. • Teams (Instinct, Mystic, Valor) • PokeGyms allow teams to battle and conquer their local gym.
  7. 7. Pokémon Go Gameplay
  8. 8. II. Augmenting Reality & (Re)Configuring Space
  9. 9. Standard Complaints about ‘Online’ Stuff … 1. It distracts from the real world’s problems. 2. Invasion of privacy (and/or “it’s silly”). 3. It’s wasting work/ productive hours.
  10. 10. Pokémon Go is a Physical Game (Dispelling the gamer myth)
  11. 11. Don’t Play & Drive (spoiler: you can’t)
  12. 12. Pokémon Hunting “frenzy” / “stampede”
  13. 13. Westboro • Westboro Baptist Church • Infamous for promoting religious hate • The physical Westboro Church is a pokémon Gym • Gym defended by a Clefairy pokémon named ‘LoveIsLove’! • Church ‘fought back’ on social media with their own pokémon decrying “the sodomite Clefairy”
  14. 14. Pokémon Go is a Death Sentence if you are a Black Man URL:
  15. 15. Re-(re)configuring spaces …
  16. 16. Power / environmental cost?
  17. 17. Accessibility
  18. 18. Physical spaces, physical hacks …
  19. 19. Political Pokémon
  20. 20. (Re)Configuring Spaces … • Augmented reality games combine both digital and physical spaces and experiences. • Augmented layers can reconfigure and add to meaning to physical locations. • Digital layers can change, challenge and confront normal spatial practices • However, playing in the material world means augmented layers are constrained by the material, cultural and social norms already existing in those spaces
  21. 21. III. Pokémon Go Perth?
  22. 22. 1st Perth Pokémon Walk
  23. 23. Reconfiguring Curtin?
  24. 24. King’s Park: Perth Pokémon Central URLs: / (Ryan Northover)
  25. 25. The Battle for King’s Park?
  26. 26. Broader social media contexts, too…
  27. 27. Rural experience …
  28. 28. Perth & W.A. … • Pokewalk shows physicality and sociality of gameplay. • Reconfiguring spaces both highlights and contests meanings. • Battle for King’s Park is as much about class and access as about memorials and meaning. • Rural WA continues to miss out in the online and augmented participation
  29. 29. Conclusion
  30. 30. (Initial) Conclusions 1. Augmented reality demonstrates that physical and digital are always already enmeshed, not separable. 2. Augmented layers both challenge and reveal the normative operations of existing spaces. 3. Pokémon Go is the ‘killer app’ for augmented reality, ushering in many more games and other apps utilising this technology to (re)configure physical spaces.
  31. 31. Questions or Comments? @tamaleaver