The emergent potential of mundane media: Playing Pokémon GO in Badalona, Spain
Work data:ISSN: 1461-7315
Type of work: Article (academic)
Categories:Communication | Digital Inclusion | e-Health | Social Media & Social Software
In mid-2016, the streets of cities around the world were populated by digital wayfarers taking part in the augmented reality (AR) game, Pokémon GO. The game popularized the digital overlay technique of AR, in which real-time pedestrian movement is integrated with mobile location-based functionality and network information. In the years that followed, playing Pokémon GO gradually became a mundane activity, fitting into the everyday routines of millions of people across the globe. It is at this juncture – when the gameplay became a habitual and unremarkable practice – that the research discussed here began. Through ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Badalona in Spain in 2018–2019, this article explores how sedimented and mundane media – those that are already embedded in daily life routines and typical scenarios of use – can become possible conduits for informal care, wellbeing and social change through playful inclusion and connection.