Pokémon Go is a free location-based augmented reality game. In the game players walk around the real world and collect Pokémon that the game visualises using the camera on the players phone, making it seem like the Pokémon are in the real world creating a blend between reality and the game world. It appears to support my definition of the media as a form of mass communication very well as it was covered heavily in the news and was played all over the world.
Firstly Dr Ruth Deller provided interesting information on how Pokémon Go has been reflected in the media in various ways showing both the potential power and danger of this sort of technology. Deller showed various stories reflecting the dangers of the game such as a streamer being mugged on Twitch while playing. Professor Steve Benford also spoke of the dangers of augmented reality games while discussing the game “Uncle Roy All around You” by Blast Theory. These examples link into an idea that interested me which was how the game installs a certain naivety in individuals. The augmented reality numbs the dangers of the real world, however being taken away from the real world is also the appeal of the game, and it raises the question can immersion become too dangerous? Benford also spoke of how Pokémon Go has created a lager awareness of augmented reality games aiding the mass communication definition of the media we see today. Deller also showed positive examples of how the game has effected the consumers. For example a story from The Daily Dot stated how the game is making players healthier showing a binary opposition with how these stories are represented in the media. These stories not only define the Media as a form of mass communication but also as a ‘two way’ communication between product and consumer meaning audiences are using the Media they’ve consumed to further communicate, the example of this being the various news stories Deller presented.
Additionally the reasons behind the popularity of Pokémon Go further aids the definition of media as a form of mass communication. Julia Higgenbottom interestingly related this to it already being an established franchise and due “90s nostalgia consumerism” was able to appeal to a both a young and mature audience building on the nostalgia mature players had for the franchise when they were younger. Deller suggested the popularity of the game may also be due to the media portraying the game as something that “brings people together.” This relates to the fact the game was launched during the summer (“silly season”) meaning it got a lot of press and media attention. Those who played the game were doing it partly for the social benefits as it was what everyone at the time was doing.
In conclusion, Pokémon Go certainly aids my definition of the Media as a form of mass communication it did this by offering escapism from real world problems and allowing players to feel part of a community. Furthermore it also did this by appealing to mature player’s sense of nostalgia for the product. Moreover the discussion allowed me to see it also defines the Media through a ‘two way’ communication seen by the “hype” created for the game by the consumers themselves.