Well it happened. The largest Pokemon Go Meetup took place in Chicago today.
It was organized by Pokemon Go Chicago hosts, J Samuel Guerrero and Ryan Harvey.
The original event posting started on Facebook with 27,000 interested and 12,000 sign-ups. Despite it being a sweltering day, the Bean was crowded and the energy of gamers was in high gear.
While it was great to see this phenomenon out in full force, there were issues with the servers. Because of the volume of players in the area, the Pokemon Go app was not loading.
The Meetup organizers created a map and info sheet for attendees. I spoke with one of the organizers, Maria who had run out of the maps by the time I had gotten there and Samuel who had already foreseen the server issue occurring. They had posted that it was going to happen but regardless, people came out anyway.
Players were split up into the 3 teams: Valor, Instinct and Mystic. I ran into many Valor players and only a couple of Instinct guys. One of the attendees, Manny (pictured below) had already gone to a Pokemon Go Meetup in Rogers Park the day before. Cui (pictured below) shared with me that he was looking forward to other meetups for Pokemon Go specifically the upcoming one in Lincoln Park Zoo. Only because he doesn’t think he’ll run into the server problems that everyone was dealing with because of the volume. Volume for sure. The Bean draws hundreds of tourists daily. Regardless we both agreed that it was great to see people come together.
The Pokemon Go app is not going away anytime soon. There are more meetups on the way as the love of Pokemon grows. While there are both pros and cons to playing the game —especially in the light of recent news stories of accidents and shootings— using common sense while playing the game will help in the long-run.
So while hundreds weren’t able to catch Pokemon —I only noticed a handful who were able to— People got the chance to come together and share their love of Pokemon with friends and strangers. As much as technology is criticized, it can be used as a force for community building. And we need that in the tense times we live in.
More Pokemon Go Meetups!
Stay Safe Pokemon Go-ers!