Friday, 26 September 2008

UK Pokemon Darkrai Event - A Personal Experience.

With additional photos by Cuber.

August saw a UK-wide Pokemon event tour in order to promote the cinema and DVD release of the new Pokemon film Pokemon: The Rise of Darkrai at certain Woolworths stores. In addition to promoting the film, the movie edition Darkrai was available for attendees to download via Wi-fi directly to their Nintendo DS' and at some tour stops, face-painting and "battling the Pokemon trainer"; who was an enthusiastic employee dressed as Ash Ketchum. The newly released Mystery Dungeon games were available to play as well as the Pokemon Battle Revolution game on the Wii.

After travelling for two and a half hours to the nearest Woolworths store, two friends and I arrived with a slight fear of dread, as the majority of attendees were very young children accompanied by a parent. The three of us quickly settled into the event upon realisation that there were, in fact, quite a few people who had reached the end of puberty. Apart from downloading Darkrai, only one thing was on people's minds - battling, and winning (ok, that's two things) - EV (that's effort value) training was the order of the day and as many of the younger players found out, you can hack any Pokemon but it'll be rubbish if you don't train it properly.

My first battle was a 2 vs 2 affair, myself and an eight year old girl (who only had one level 100 monster) versus Ash Ketchum and a trainer who had hacked his team - I can honestly say that I knew I had no chance, especially as I was ganged up on. I lost with a respectable (considering the situation) three out of six defeated monsters on their team.

My second battle was a much more even one that involved myself and one of my friends versus two other friends (one with hacked monsters). Immediately we were at a disadvantage after my starting member was wiped out in one hit but we would fight on. The battle continued until everyone had only one monster remaining, myself a Porygon-Z, my team-mate with a Breloom versus a Kyogre and … something else (I forget what). We had the upper hand - just. In the most spectacular of cock-ups, my team mate managed to slip when choosing his target and sent me to sleep, there was no way we were going to win after that but everyone involved was happy enough to admit that it was a very close match.

The third battle that I was involved in I decided to use a different tactic and make use of a Slowbro that I had trained to be able to take hits. This, however, backfired slightly as I spent 15 minutes slowly wiping out my opponent's team eventually switching out to a different monster to eliminate his last team member. Ambitious but rubbish would be a very good choice of words for that particular battle.

My final battle I was by far the most pleased about in terms of result and in terms of, after seeing my friend annihilated by a fantastic doubles team on the Wii game, I decided to step up to play. I did not have to wait much more than ten seconds before a challenger arrived and after a brief discussion on how well trained each of our teams were, we were ready to battle (and I must admit, I was a little nervous as this was my only battle being played on a big screen). By the time we had both chosen which four monsters we were going to use in the battle, we had amassed a crowd of just about everyone, including staff, that were present at the time. Like I said, my pride was at stake and I was nervous, just how good was my team? Needless to say, I won within three full turns with only one team member down (which in the way it was done, not expected) to the amazement and cheers of the present crowd.

After congratulating my opponent, I was thrown into several conversations at once between people asking me about my team and I realised that the event was not just somewhere to download Pokemon, get your face painted or win / lose against people. The event demonstrated that people with a passionate like-minded interest will develop a feeling of community between themselves. Whether or not I will come into contact again with Jack, Bananas or anyone else that I met there, I will always remember the day where I could share a gaming passion with someone else who shared it with the same level of enthusiasm that I did. I arrived with a feeling full of dread but I genuinely did not want to leave when I did, it's an event that all Pokemaniacs should attend and I thoroughly look forward to the next event. Who knows, maybe I'll be able to battle Bananas without being sent to sleep by accidental friendly-fire.