Ok, ok… It was Pokemon Go Fest. But it was my first convention-type event (like Comicon). And it was, well…
I did have a lot of fun. Sure, there were issues from the start. A lot of issues. Like, if the issues were physical things there would have been enough to fill Grant Park and swim through them like how Uncle Scrooge swims through his money.
Except it wouldn’t hurt.
And would be physically possible.
Because this is my hypothetical situation, and I said so.
Anyway, there were some problems. Such as…
The liiiiiiiiiiiiiiine. It was long. So long- no. Not another metaphor so soon. Let’s just say it was a slow moving, winding, very large line. Actually, there were two lines. One for early entry ticket holders, and one for all the non-Sprint, non-Local, regular ticket holders.
(Sprint and Boost Mobile held special events so customers could get early access passes. Hence the jab…)
The early entry line did not get them in early, though. It got them in before general admission, but not as early as they were supposed to get in. We got in about an hour and a half to two hours after the event opened. Apparently bag checking was slow and there were people whining about their umbrellas. It was explicitly stated (at the bottom of the event webpage, under a menu that needed to be expanded to be read) that umbrellas are not allowed.
I wonder if they thought umbrellas would interfere with cell service…
Eventually, we got in. But from there it was a battle to log into the game. And once you logged in, it was only a matter of time (and I’m measuring time in seconds, here) before the game froze or crashed. That means no catching. No catching means no working towards the challenge goals. Don’t complete the challenges, no mystery challenge.
It was so bad, Niantic’s CEO (actually, that’s the wrong acronym… But idc right now) came out onto the stage to apologize, as well as give us an update on the “server issues” as well as an unknown “carrier issue”.
*cough* AT&T *cough*
When he started talking, people boo’d him. And it wasn’t just a few people, either. It was a long, low, resounding boo that swept across the crowd.
We were assured a few times that Niantic was working on both their own issues as well as the unnamed carrier issues. But things never got that much better.
I had AT&T- ok, I’m not switching carriers just because of Go Fest. From what I can gather everyone was having issues, with Sprint probably having the least issues. I have AT&T and I only really got service at the northwest corner of the park (which also just so happened to be my team’s lounge; Team Instinct). Why only the northwest corner of the park, you ask? Because that’s where the closest AT&T tower was located.
Even then, the game was slow. It crashed often. No catching. No pokestops. No fighting, feeding, or placing Pokémon in gyms.
So, in a sense, no point in being there.
I did get a quick picture with Nick from TRNRtips, and also got a picture and signature from Lachlan, and Ando from Unlisted Leaf. So, that was cool.
Oh, and we all got $100.
Well… we will be getting $100-worth of pokecoins (in-game currency), which comes out to over 14,000 coins. That’s sweet.
They’re also going to give us all a refund. That is very sweet… unless they just refund the card you made the purchase with, in which case, some people who bought 3rd party won’t get the refund: the person they bought from will get the refund.
They’re also going to give us all a Lugia. That was a nice gesture.
And then Lugia was a raid boss. We got back to our hotel and my brother says, “Lugia raid at the fountain.” Forget dinner! (which we almost did…)
So we battled and then caught a Lugia.
In a mass of people, purposely standing in one place, so close to one another we could merge and form one giant super human (like a human Megazord!) I stood there fighting an imaginary creature in an AR, cell phone-based video game.
Ya, we know. What do you think we’re doing? Blocking traffic and forcing this laundry van to backup down an alleyway just for the giggles?
I have never seen so many nerds running through a city at dinnertime in my life. And every time a group beat a raid people would cheer and hoot and hollar.
It was just…
I was even present when TRNRtips, Lachlan, Mystick7, and Reversal did (and won) their first raid. My hat might be in the background of TRNRtips video. I can’t see it though.
I got some Lugia and I got some Articuno.
I got some pictures and I got some autographs.
I had some fun, and got a nice little sunburn.
Oh, and I caught some Unown as well as a few Heracross. Heracross is currently a regional exclusive, so that’s really cool.
As you can see, it was a weekend of ups and downs. I walked to a place called Eatily on Friday, and on the way back got caught in a torrential downpour. I got to the park too late, but it really didn’t matter because the line didn’t move. I couldn’t take part in the last two challenges, but at least caught a few things (while still in line) during the first challenge. No mystery challenge (not really) but we got two legendaries. Plus the refund, the free Lugia, and the coins. Also, extending the range of the event from the park to two miles outward was nice. That made it easier to catch Unown and Heracross, plus take part in legendary raids. It spread people out (for the most part) and made it so we could actually play.
I think, in the end, everything balanced well. The weather was nice. We got some cool stuff. Niantic got to use us as dummies to test out their events so they can hopefully fix all the issues and work out all the kinks and make the next one better.
And I had fun.
Got to hear a little kid scream so loud after beating Lugia that his voice echoed between the buildings. That was funny.
P.S. – we’re watching you, Niantic… we’re watching you.
P.P.S. – not really. But c’mon! You can do better than this.