Black and White have successful launch in NYC
As most fans now know, New York City provided cultural and geographical inspiration to the recently released Pokémon Black and White Versions. As such, there are few places in the world better suited to hosting a giant launch party, complete with costumes, giveaways, and a live band. A Bulbanews contributor attended last week's event, and filed this report.
My friends and I arrived at the event around 11:00 am. We had already pre-ordered our copies of Black and White, so we went to stand in the line going into the event. At this time, the line going into the Nintendo World Store to purchase the games was already halfway down the block. We took turns waiting in line and walking around to check out the event set up.
It was a fairly small area, just one NY street block long and as wide as a normal two-lane road. It's also the same space that the Today show uses for their morning segments. The area was sanctioned off, but I was still able to get a good view of the set up activities. There were two tents at the entrance, followed by inflatable characters of the starters Snivy, Tepig, and Oshawott; the inflatable legendaries Zekrom and Reshiram; a game play section; and a big area for the crowd to watch the stage activities. It was during this time that the Presidents of the United States of America were doing their sound check. It was really funny to hear them sing the "Sound Check Song."
Otherwise, waiting in line is not very exciting. My friends and I just hung out talking, but others were playing with their DSes, some were playing card games, etc. While I was walking the lines to get photos, there were several people dressed up. A few Team Rocket characters, Dawn, Ash, and even some Pokémon (Pikachu and Pansage made an appearance or two). Unfortunately, I didn't get photos of all of them, but it was fun to see. The people at the front of the store line said they got there at 2:30 am just to be first in line!
A few seconds before 3:00, the store line started a countdown before the doors were opened to both the store and the event. What a cool experience to hear fellow Pokemon fans chanting in excitement. Both lines started to slowly move into their respective areas. The line to the event was held up by people signing photo release forms. If you were in the area, you understood and agreed to let Nintendo take photos of you. We also picked up our event passports at that time. The passport was a cute idea to get everyone moving to the different "stations" set up around the event space and the store. I believe it is similar to what they were doing for the Mall Tours. So off we went to collect stamps for our passport!
The first stamp we earned was near the inflatables. It was just a little stop for us to meet the new Pokémon in the games. The second stamp was earned after you played some of the demo games they had available. The third stamp was earned by learning how to get the Liberty Pass so you could catch Victini. Once you had those three stamps from the event space, you had to make your way into the Nintendo World store for the final two. The fourth stamp was to view the gallery of Pokémon concept art. Wow, it was so cool! I loved looking at where the ideas came from. The fifth, and final, stamp was at the photo booth. You stood on a box with a Pokemon Black and White backdrop, posed and then stepped on a pedal that would trigger the photo. The photo printed while you waited. It's a pretty fun keepsake. (Thankfully we had arrived early enough that it didn't take us an unreasonable amount of time to collect our stamps. I heard that towards the end they were starting to accept passports that only had three stamps because the lines were so long and people wouldn't make it through in time.)
We were able to get a good spot in front of the stage to watch Professor Juniper as the emcee! I love that she was there! (Yes, I do realize it wasn't really her, haha.) She was talking about the games, the new starters, and the Liberty Pass. Then the Presidents of the United States of America took stage! They played a very short set that included their new Pokémon song "Can't Stop (Catchin' 'Em All)" (You can hear/download it here) followed by "Peaches" and "Lump." They left the stage and would be back later for another set. Then Juniper returned and started doing Pokemon trivia for some prizes. She asked questions like "Who is the new legendary on Pokemon White Version?" The questions ranged in difficulty; better prizes went to the harder questions. The prizes were anything from a small plushy to a copy of the game signed by game director Junichi Masuda, who was also in attendance at the event.
Once we were done with our passports, we headed back to the entrance where we were able to redeem our completed stamps for a black or white t-shirt with the appropriate legendary Pokémon on it. Since we wanted to hear the Presidents again, we got our shirts and went back to the stage to continue watching the trivia. Towards the end of the event, the band got back on stage and sung their Pokémon song again along with a slightly longer setlist that included "Peaches," "Lump," "Little Dune Buggy," "Back Porch," and "Kitty."
After the band was done, the event began to wind up. People started making their way out. We went to go find some food and a place to rest our feet. It was a long day, but a great one.
- Do you have a Pokémon-related experience to share? Send your contribution to [email protected]!