Gone are the days where Seattle’s streets were flooded with Pokémon GO players, pointing their phones at augmented-reality beasts and trying to “catch ’em all.” But true fans are coming together once again to celebrate the app’s first birthday.
Pokémon trainers are meeting at noon Saturday at Bellevue Downtown Park for the anniversary event. So far, 200 people are planning to go, with almost 500 more fans expressing interest, according to the Facebook page for the event.
To mark the anniversary, the company that created the game, Niantic, unleashed a version of Pikachu wearing his beloved trainer Ash Ketchum’s signature hat. If a trainer finds one in the wild, the limited-time Pokémon will sit alongside Pikachus wearing Santa hats and party hats that were released during previous celebrations.
The Pokémon GO Seattle Facebook group is hosting the Bellevue gathering, and organizers Jasmine Hayes and Jesse Rieke say they’ll be lighting up the park with lures for hours. To make it easier for those who have put their app aside over the past year, the lures will be attached to Pokéstops that should attract a lot of Pokémon to one place.
The game’s official release date was July 6, 2016, but Rieke said the weekend was better for bringing people together. “We did a poll in multiple PoGo pages, and even though the official one year is on the 6th, Saturday worked best for the meet-up,” he said in a discussion on the event page.
Hayes and Rieke say the park has five in-game gyms (three shown here on the map) for members of Team Valor, Instinct or Mystic to take over and earn come coins.
Despite the probable influx of Pokémon critters at the park, trainers still won’t be able to catch them all. Niantic has teased players with reports about the legendary Pokémon such as Mew and Mewtwo, but even after a year, they haven’t been released.
Frustrated that spots 150 and 151 on their Pokédex are still blank, some fans are speculating that these beasts will make their debut at Niantic’s Pokémon Go Fest in Chicago on July 22. Niantic has kept quiet on the matter.