Pokémon GO is reviving old memories and creating new ones
On the way to a dinner my boyfriend and I decided to catch some Pokémon. After a couple of encounters we felt we needed to catch them all on our way to the restaurant. Suddenly, some of our old basic primal instincts as hunters and collectors have been brought back thanks to Augmented Reality. Fortunately, we were too hungry to keep going.
We found a Poké stop at a restaurant/bar where I used to meet with my old PhD colleagues. I was quite excited when I realized we could find something there.
By using the real world as a platform, Augmented Reality can make the game coincide with places that are already meaningful to us and this makes the experience even more rewarding.
Later, on the way back home I noticed how tall a pillar outside the theatre was. We had captured our third Pokémon earlier there; a rewarding experience!
Also, I could notice how I found myself paying attention to colourful stimuli while walking back home. Only a few encounters with fantastic creatures were enough to program my mind to pay attention to such stimuli. Selective attention in action!
Suddenly, one of the colours I hate the most, which is purple, became the centre of attention. “Oh, look a woman with purple hair!”, purples flowers; even a child’s toy on a stick reminded me of a Zubat!
This is our collection so far. If you notice five of the Pokémon are purple!
I’m starting to feel like the gamers that in my research on Game Transfer Phenomena (GTP) reported that after playing Mirror’s Edge found themselves paying attention to red objects.
Occasionally, I was playing around asking my boyfriend “Where is it? Where is it? Take a screen shoot, take a screen shoot!” So, I was literally interacting with an invisible and virtual entity. How bizarre does this sound, right!? A consensual hallucination without a doubt!
Well in fact, some gamers do not need Augmented Reality for seeing images from the games in front of their eyes or superimposed onto real life objects. In my research on GTP gamers have stated to have seen health bars or tags above peoples’ head or above animals while others have seen images on the highway and have even followed them.
In my case the images really existed, although only seen through the mobile screen. No holograms yet! but at least HoloLens is on its way!
The best was the Pokémon close to a bin at the street of my university with a real world dove as extra enhancement!
From all the objects around my university, the one I will probably remember the best once I move from Nottingham will be the bin with a Rattata next to it. The bin at my university street has now become a meaningful evocative object for me! I’m not surprised.
In my research on GTP, I have repeatedly found how real life objects that were simulated in the game and typically associated with rewarding experiences have become evocative objects. These objects are capable to trigger spontaneous thoughts, urges, involuntary movements of limbs and even make gamers see or hear video game elements that are not actually there.
For instance, here is an example of a gamer’s GTP reacting to bottle caps after playing Fallout.
We also had some social encounters as novice explorers and hunters. We met a girl and laughed. Later on a woman that looked at us through her window shouted: “what have you caught?”
A few blocks later we saw a couple that were looking at their mobiles. We assumed they were playing but when they passed by they stopped doing it, but then I looked back and the woman and I laughed when I said “you are also playing!” It was funny. It gave me the impression that the couple was shy to show they were playing. This is interesting in terms of the controversies on the adoption of technology and particularly to play a game in public as adults!
We also meet a neighbour that I earlier in the day had seen going around looking at his mobile. He was indeed playing it as well.
I will comeback with more… Time to go to sleep. Wish me good luck because according to one of our latest studies about GTP, experiencing GTP as pleasurable is a predictor of severe GTP, as are other involuntary phenomena such as recalling dreams or experiencing earworms. I may have some Pokémon dreams!
I hope to hear about your Pokémon GO adventures!