In July of 2016, the mobile gaming landscape shifted dramatically with the release of the highly anticipated and popular Pokémon GO. Opinion pieces rushed to offer critique, with the ultimate goal of understanding how such a game might alter our engagement with public space. In Pokémon GO, location isrepresented as a node within a vast map of the world, building on data aggregated from Google Maps and algorithmically filtered crowd sourcedlocations from Niantic Lab’s other two location-based applications Ingress and Field Trip. Whether they are Pokéstops, Gyms, or Ingress Portals, locationsbecome present in these games via the collective labour of mobile game players. In this seminar, Kyle Moore focuses on the specificity in which locations are constructed via this process of data overlay and broader sociocultural implications surrounding our understanding of playing in public. Drawing from preliminary ethnographic observations of Sydney based location-based game communities, this seminar offers a perspective on how we might reframe our engagement with location as a potentially playful one, and in turn also think of location as a playable object.
Kyle Moore is a PhD candidate at the University of Sydney in the Department of Media and Communications. His doctoral research explores the way forms of urban mobile gaming are situated within urban environments, focusing on the sociocultural and material circumstance which frame our understanding of play. Kyle has previously published research on mobile, portable, and location-based games in journals such as M/C and Games and Culture.