I’ve interviewed my friend about his experience when playing Pokemon Go. He said that “When playing this game, I naturally do more exercise by walking around and be more aware of my surrounding. Sometimes, thanks to Pokemon Go, I know the places in my area that I haven’t noticed before”. Foth and Gifford (2016)
(Foth, Hudson-Smith, Gifford, 2016: P.20) believe that Preliminal games aims to promote a platform that make players more motivated to reconnect with their surroundings and activate their exploration about the parts of environment where they may not have visited. This kind of game brings about some supplementary factors via associating the city’s streets with environment built virtually, which allows players to have new experiences when discovering these spaces. Importantly, the places are not replaced by the new ones. Instead, it just augment the space so that the users can experience something new in their existing surrounding. Thanks to their interaction with the locations in reality, the player appreciate their landscape more.
My friend also shared that the time restriction in the game makes him more engaged and try hard to gain the items in the limited period of time. According to Foth and Gifford (2016), this use of constraint make the game more engaging and challenging. They conclude the benefits of this game is that it not only helps players to do exercise and connect with the social space, but also helps local enterprises to have more customers thanks to the boosted footfall.
However, my friend said that sometimes he was too focused on playing the game and therefore neglected his real social interaction. “Pokémon GO recalls issues relating to mobility, sociability, spatiality, and surveillance that are characteristic of many previous hybrid reality games and mobile location-based applications.” This concurs with the belief of Hjorth (2017, P.5), who suggests that Pokemon GO can be used to allow players to avoid engagement with other people in public places. Furthermore, there are also some dangers in terms of information about location. This can enables the robbers to know exactly the location of people to commit the crime.
Foth, M., Hudson-Smith, A. & Gifford, D., 2016. Smart cities, social capital, and citizens at play: A critique and a way forward. In Research Handbook on Digital Transformations. Cheltenham,: Edward Elgar Publishing, pp. 203–221.
Hjorth, L. & Richardson, I., 2017. Pokémon GO : Mobile media play, place-making, and the digital wayfarer. Mobile Media & Communication, 5(1), pp.3–14.