How Pokémon Go combines physical space with digital navigation

Pokemon Go is a mobile video game that took the world by storm in the summer of 2016. Its digital navigational interface is unique in the fact that it utilizes location tracking technology to pinpoint exactly where you are and how you interact with your location. 


When the game starts, a character model is shown standing still on a digital map. This map shows roads and bodies of water where they are in real life. The person playing the game must physically begin walking in order for their character to start moving through the digital space. By moving, the player may be able to move towards Pokestops or Gyms in order to participate in a variety of different digital activities with other real life people. Pokestops and Gyms are physical locations in the real world. For example, the restaurant across the street from my house is a Gym on my digital map within the game, and a place I can digitally interact with by walking there. 

Players are able to interact with these physical locations in game in order to battle, capture Pokemon, and collect items from completing tasks in game. The game isn’t meant to help you navigate the real world in the sense that it isn’t able to compute directions, but it is meant to be a way to bring Pokemon into the real world. The AR feature uses the camera in order to project Pokemon into the real world on screen, which makes for an experience more personal and to immerse players into the game. The Pokemon company has always strived to make their games child friendly, and this game is no exception to that rule. However, it doesn’t alienate older fans who have been around for a while. They’ve made the decision to include the older Pokemon along with new ones, and really have created a space for Pokemon fans of all ages to enjoy.