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Familial Locative Play: Family Life

Michael Saker (City, University of London, UK)
Leighton Evans (Swansea University, Wales)

Intergenerational Locative Play

ISBN: 978-1-83909-140-7, eISBN: 978-1-83909-139-1

Publication date: 8 February 2021


This chapter is concerned with exploring the various ways in which Pokémon Go complements or challenges family life. The chapter begins by explicating the multisided concept of play and the myriad definitions that surround this term. Having established the various way in which this phenomenon can improve the lives of those who engage in it – physically, emotionally and cognitively – we go on to consider how play has gradually shifted from public spaces and into designated playgrounds, and how this trend corresponds with children concurrently moving away from the streets and into their bedrooms. Following this, we explore the impact digital technologies are having on the practice of parenting, paying particular attention to video games as a significant facet of youth culture that is often associated with a range of negative connotations. Yet, video games are not intrinsically bad. As we outline, research on intergenerational play and joint-media engagement (JME) readily demonstrate the many benefits families can experience when these games are played together. What is missing from this developing body of work is the familial playing of locative games and the extent to which this practice adds contours to our understanding of this field. The chapter is, therefore, driven by the following research questions. First, why and how do families play Pokémon Go? This includes the different roles that family members adopt, alongside motivations for families playing this game, how the playing of this game complements the rhythms of family life and the extent to which this hybrid reality game (HRG) is suited to intergenerational play. Second, what impact does locative familial play have on families, collectively speaking, and regarding individual family members? Here, we are not just interested in whether this game allows families to bond and how this bonding process is experienced, but also whether the familial play of Pokémon Go provides families with any learning opportunities that might facilitate personal growth beyond the game. Third, what worries might parents have about the familial playing of Pokémon Go and to what extent does the locative aspect of this game reshape their apprehensions?


Saker, M. and Evans, L. (2021), "Familial Locative Play: Family Life", Intergenerational Locative Play, Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 55-92.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021 Michael Saker and Leighton Evans. Published under exclusive licence by Emerald Publishing Limited