Pokemon Goes Atlanta: Catching Creatures at the GameSkinny Bar Crawl
Pokemon Go will probably be one of the most defining social experiments of our generation. When our talented GameSkinny team organized this bar crawl event, we had no idea that more than 400 individuals would come out to make new friends, grab a couple of drinks, and catch Pokemon together. From families with toddlers to devout Pokemon enthusiasts, everyone was there, and everyone was ready to get their game on.
Right from the start, before anyone began searching for Pikachus or Starmies, there was a lot of friendly competition in the air. Participants were given a colored wrist band to identify which team they belonged to (Blue for Mystic, Yellow for Instinct, Red for Valor). And let me tell you, I haven't heard so much bickering over colors since purple was removed from the rainbow and changed to indigo and violet.
The craze for team allegiance was so significant, a lot of people in attendance were either wearing their team colors or proudly modeling shirts that brandished their team's legendary Pokemon mascot. No one could go too long without hearing some group shout how "Team Mystic was the most popular" or "Team Valor was the only good team," even if it was all in jest.
Of course, when everyone was excited and ready to catch some Pokemon on the crawl, the servers were an immediate issue. For almost an hour, people stood around waiting for their game to get past the loading screen. On a positive note, this did give everyone a chance to eat and drink together at local stops, including the Butter & Cream, The Raging Burrito, The Square Pub, Victory Sandwich Shop, Mac McGee, Brick Store Pub, and Leon's Full Service. Even Kickapoo Joy Juice hooked participants up with some energy drinks while we waited! And when the servers did finally chug back into working order, people began dropping their drinks and searching through the PokeStops with friends and strangers alike.
When asked about their thoughts on the Pokemon Go craze, some fellow catchers remarked:
"I'm not used to going outside this often, I've gotten bug bites all over my legs!"
"It's amazing how many people have gotten into this. Parks around here have become more full then they've ever been. And people are all there for the same reason."
Throughout our trek around Decatur, Georgia, the aforementioned team competition lead to what was, without a doubt, the funniest thing to happen all night. Each team desperately tried to take control of the nearby gym in Downtown Decatur square. One second Instinct owned it, and less than a minute later, Mystic or Valor would swoop in and steal it away. Rinse and repeat for about seven hours, and you have Pokemon Go gym battles in a nutshell.
And then the rain came. It wasn't anything like a small drizzle either. People were forced to run inside and seek shelter as the storm poured on for well over an hour. That didn't stop anyone from keeping their phones handy, because anyone knows the moment you put your phone away is the moment Mew pops up around the corner.
At the end of the day, while not the most fruitful outing in history, some of the highlights of people's finds included: Tauros, Nidorina, Pikachu, Growlithe, and plenty of Eevees to help players gain that Flareon, Jolteon or Vaporeon they've been after. But most importantly, despite the fact that everyone was battling it out for the gym, or proudly declaring that "Team Mystic is the best" or "Team Valor 4 life," it really is incredible to see how much this game is bringing everyone together. It's forcing everyone to get off their butts and go see the world, all while making friends along the way who're looking for the same things as you are: fictitious creatures to catch and add to your collection.
Pokemon Go is perfect for those who grew up with the old cartoons and trading cards, but even newcomers to the franchise have started getting swept up into the craze. I even witnessed an elderly man watching players over their shoulder try to take over the nearby gym on their phones.
Even when divided among teams, everyone was working together to find the more rare Pokemon. Every so often, you could hear someone shouting "There's a Pikachu over here!" or "Someone may have found a Venusaur!" Not just to the teams they belonged to, but to all who attended and searched with them. That's because, while we may be divided by team color, we all have the same dream: to be the very best, like no one ever was.
Be sure to keep an eye out for our next Pokemon Go Bar Crawl, which we are currently planning to hold sometime in August. If you attended our bar crawl in Decatur, Georgia last night, make sure to send us your photos and videos of the event! That way, everyone can witness the fun we had making friends and being a part of the massive Pokemon Go craze!