The theme for our Con this year is ‘Share Your World,’ and I wanted to take this opportunity to share a bit of mine. I am a huge Pokémon fan, and I have been an avid Pokémon GO player from the very beginning. Coincidentally, Novembers Community Day happens to coincide with day one of GGC! It is a true melding of my worlds.
For any who don’t know what Pokémon GO Community Day is, for a few hours on one day a month, a specific Pokémon is featured and spawns more frequently in the wild. The game also offers other bonuses during this time, such as increased instances of shiny Pokémon, experience boosts, and special moves for evolving the featured Pokémon.
Todays featured Pokémon was Chimchar!
Living in a suburb north of Seattle, I generally have my preferred Pokémon hunting grounds near to my home. Today, however, I had the chance to hunt in the city around the Washington State Convention Center. Just walking around the Con, I could tell that the love for Pokémon was strong, which is great because the area surrounding the convention center is chalk full of gyms and pokestops.
Hunting for Chimchar in downtown Seattle was a new experience for me this time because I set out on my own. Usually, I go out in my neighborhood haunts with my boyfriend to celebrate Community Day. The environments are familiar, the best spawn places are well known, and I have the company of my partner. Today, he was out of town visiting a friend, and I hit the crowded and less known streets of Seattle to catch as many Chimchar as I could.
At first, I was scared. I’m very shy by nature and I also deal with bouts of extreme social anxiety from time to time. The area wasn’t what I was used to, and I didn’t have my partner to lean on if I felt uncomfortable. The people around me were not those I had come to know by sight in my own neighborhood through many Community Days together, but strangers.
Despite these facts, the spirit of the day began to wash away my fears. I saw three people meet on a corner (holding two phones each) and begin to discuss their goals for the event. As I continued to walk, I would make eye contact and exchange a friendly nod with my fellow players. Con goers in full cosplay were out and about playing. At one point, and older woman stopped me to ask for some advice. She was a newer player and wanted to know how to tell a shiny Pokémon from a regular one, and I was more than happy to share my knowledge with her.
This is why I love this game. It encourages people to get out, see their community, and make friends. I have seen all types of people out playing at any given time—kids and their parents, couples, friends, and even the elderly. In my experience, there is not any one “type” of person who plays Pokémon Go. People of all genders and ages are able to find enjoyment in the game, and it gives us all a common bond.
In my everyday life, I won’t really go out of my way to talk to people. But on Community Day, that all changes. I almost become a different person. I will go up to groups of people and ask if they want to become in-game friends. There are people gathered around gyms to take down whatever featured legendary Pokémon raid is happening, excited at the prospect of having more people in their raid groups to give them the best chance to catch a rare Pokémon. After raids, people will congratulate or console complete strangers on their luck (or lack of) in catching the raid Pokémon. Children will come up to me to show off their best catches. Pokémon GO creates a safe place to enjoy something fun.
By the end of the three-hour event, I had caught right around 100 Chimchar, which really isn’t a bad haul. Within the first hour I had already obtained a three-star shiny Chimchar, which made the entire day a victory in my book. All in all, I walked away with three three-star Infernapes, including my shiny, with candies to spare to train them up. I ventured outside of my comfort zone to play a game I love, and I feel that my efforts were rewarded.
I’m looking forward to the announcement of next months Community Day! Check in game for details and play safely!