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2017, Mar 31: TAG "Shinposium" on Pokémon GO
March 31, 2017
The Politics and Play of Pokémon GO (Concordia University)
Opening talk by Lai-Tze Fan
Jill Didur reflects on previous Shinposium with Teri Reub about the affordances of mass-produced platforms
- what kinds of commercial products were on the Horizon? Pokémon GO hadn't been released yet
Ingress preceded Pokémon GO; anxiety about surveillance, especially women who felt vulnerable about the game bc strangers could track them
Adriana de Souza e Silva said she was invited to Mobile Media and Comm for special issue on Pokémon GO and started to pay more attention
- question of having to predict where the game is going
makes short reference to Pokémon GO in Brazil, esp. cell phone theft issue, so people have to go to populated areas for safety
- "privacy is not the biggest problem there"
Bart Simon discusses the anticipation of Pokémon GO by the game community
- considers what counts as gaming and gamification, especially in comparison to earlier games in which there was no battle or catching element (no challenge)
- the use of multi-player allowing that challenge
- but what counts as a game?
Adriana references Emoji, a Japanese game in which you'd catch creatures around the city
- a collection game based on trading which is based on social interaction
- basically, Pokémon GO is played alone
Bart thinks of socialness differently, as an idea of belonging to a community where all people are doing the same thing, even if they don't talk to each other
pre-existing distinction between children who play games and others, but children couldn't play Pokémon GO without their parents, so it merged the player scope
Mia Consalvo talks about the life of these kinds of games, and cultural "hype" just means that the game is ready for future development
Jill adds that the design element probably included a consideration that children shouldn't be interacting with students, so they probably limited that kind of social interaction
- Adriana adds that there is an element of danger in urban space (that we're technically exposed to all the time but that the game brings up)
Bart: "Everything that is interesting about [Pokémon GO] happened as an unintended consequence ... Niantic was absolutely blown away"
- the "leftovers" of what we're dealing with is that children have moved on
- what's left for Bart is about unintended consequences, not about the lifespan of Pokémon GO's popularity
Mia: "every feature can be weaponized"
- even a church had signs like "don't come in for Pokémon GO"
Lai-Tze mentions the willingness of people to gather even vis-à-vis height of terror in Europe, war zones in Korea, etc.
Adriana: an important characteristic of locative media is when they engage you with the space you are in
- "I was thinking I'd come to Montréal and find some kind of snow Pokémon."
Kalervo Sinervo thinks about interactivity that are based on leaving traces; compares it to geocaching
Mia on Adriana playing for her son: "You're playing to support someone's play ... so who's really playing?"
Bart on multi-generational aspect: young people playing with old people
- little kids eyeing the big kids eyeing the adults; physically aware of each other
- you imagine older peoples' lives of people who are not allowed to mix with you, but you know you're all doing the same thing