As with all their major game launches, Nintendo pulled out all the stops for a major event to celebrate the release of Pokémon Black and Pokémon White on the DS. The Nintendo World Store was chock full of Pokéfans buying the game and outside there was a whole lot more to see and do. That is, if you weren't in one of the massively long lines waiting to get in to the event tents or to buy a copy of the game. It was seriously the largest crowd I have ever seen at a Nintendo World Store event in the years since I began covering them. And Nintendo's Seth McMahill agreed, saying: "In my opinion, this is the biggest Pokémon launch we've ever had."
So for more pictures and details about exactly what fun was had, click that little button right there!
The line to get into the store and buy the game stretched nearly around an entire city block, and even an hour later, didn't seem to be shrinking very much. In fact, I'm told that they eventually had to cut the line off, sending some Pokéfans home empty-handed. At least until Sunday when you could purchase the games at any other retailer.
The line to enter the event was nearly as long, stretching down 48th Street and then around the corner and up 5th Avenue. Entering the area, you're given a bag containing a Pokémon poster and a passport to the Unova region. There were five stations, and the goal was to visit each one and collect their stamps. First up, you learned about the three new starter Pokémon. They had a little informative flyer to help you make your choice, and giant inflatable versions of them to pose with. (I'm not proud I totally posed with my pick, Tepig!)
Next up was an island of DS demo stations playing the game. After getting your hands on the game and trying it out, you were given stamp number two. Stamp three was given out at the table where they had a wireless set up to download the Liberty Pass so that you could visit Liberty Island and rescue Victini from Team Plasma. (Of course, you still have to catch Victini for yourself, and I must have gone through 4 or 5 Pokéballs of different types before I finally nabbed him!) If you couldn't make it to the event, don't worry. The Liberty Pass will be available through April 10, and you don't even have to go to a special event. Any wireless signal will do!
Stamp four was upstairs inside the Nintendo World Store, where they had a collection of concept artwork for Pokémon Black and Pokémon White. Unfortunately, they also had a big sign that said "NO PHOTOGRAPHY," so you're out of luck there, guys. The fifth stamp was to visit the photo booth, although it looked like you just got a picture in front of a Pokémon Black & White backdrop. None of the fun props like iam8bit has on hand for the photos I've taken at other events.
But once you'd visited all five stations, you could present your passport for a free T-shirt featuring one of the two new legendary Pokémon. There was a black T-shirt featuring Reshiram, or a white T-shirt featuring Zekrom. I picked the white one, since that's the version of the game I'm actually playing.
They also had a concert from The Presidents of the United States of America, who came out and sang their new Pokémon song written specifically for the game. If you'd like to give a listen to "Can't Stop (Catchin' 'Em All)", just click here
for the mp3. It's the new Pokérap, but it's actually got kind of a catchy chorus. The POTUSA also sang a couple other numbers, with the promise of coming back for a longer set later on, but by that point, I'd already gone home. I do have video of their mini-set on my YouTube channel, and the Pokémon song is in my newest podcast.
I did spot Pikachu waddling around, but his Nintendo handler kept him moving, and he wouldn't really stop for pictures. I don't know if they did have a photo-op with Pikachu inside or elsewhere and I just missed it, and I only saw him in transit, but I was actually a little disappointed I didn't get my picture made with him.
There were also a bunch of people dressed in costume, from Pokémon to trainers. The Pokémania was on full display. It was even more insane than any other launch I've ever seen there. Even the last Pokémon game! The franchise just keeps gathering up new fans, and the older fans are apparently still sticking with it!