Pokémon Now

Ted Hiebert & Jin-Kyu Jung

In their provocative article "Death by Pokémon Go," researchers Mara Faccio and John McConnell discuss the social impact of augmented reality--specifically Pokémon Go--as one that risks increasing the dangers of off-line living. They describe their study like this:

Using police accident reports for Tippecanoe County, Indiana, and exploiting the introduction of the augmented reality game Pokémon GO as a natural experiment, we document a disproportionate increase in crashes and associated vehicular damage, injuries, and fatalities in the vicinity of locations where users can play the game while driving. We estimate the incremental county-wide cost of users playing Pokémon GO while driving to be in the range of $5.2 to $25.5 million over the 148 days following the introduction of the game.

While the game itself warns against distraction to real world surroundings, the effect of this app has nonetheless been to tempt players into a hybrid world, one composed not just of physical geography but of deeply imaginary (digital) engagements. This project asks you to use the Pokémon GO phone app as creatively as possible, in order to take a picture (or screen shot) that blends elements of the digital and the real. Your picture should contain at least one person and at least one Pokémon. You may want to recruit a friend to help realize your vision for the image.


Imagination Stations