Is Pokémon GO Feminist? An Actor-Network Theory Analysis

Carina Assuncao


The Pokémon franchise has been targeted and has been successful with males and females (Tobin, 2004). In it, cute-looking creatures with superpowers fight each other for the fame and glory of their masters (the players). The franchise includes a plethora of entertainment media. This essay will focus on the recent release, Pokémon GO. This particular game and its location-based technology will be analysed using cyberfeminism and actor-network theory to explore the play space as a context for kinaesthetic awareness and embodiment. The cyberfeminism herein exploited is that of “the utopian tradition of imagining a world without gender” (Haraway, 2000, p. 292). Actor-network theory, a strong methodological tradition in science and technology studies, sees actors and the networks they create as completely ‘flat’ and non-hierarchical. ANT has been criticised for its lack of concern with politics and gender (Lagesen, 2012) but, in combination with a feminist lens, ANT has the potential to uncover issues that other approaches in game studies cannot. This original framework can help game studies scholars to see gameplay processes in a new light by following the many actors involved in game design and use.


Pokémon, actor-network theory, feminism, gender, location-based game, augmented reality

Full Text:


Published by the Digital Games Research Association.