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Pokémon GO Fest 2019 Chicago: Jirachi Awakes!

posted on by Jennifer Sherman

Niantic hit its stride with Pokémon GO Fest 2019 in Chicago. The event was well-executed, offered new features, and incorporated aspects of past events that worked well. A total of 60,000 participants attended the event held in Grant Park, Chicago from June 13-16. My fellow Trainers and I caught 15 million Pokémon over the long weekend.

One of my favorite new features, unavailable at the previous two Chicago events, was the Trading Outpost area. Although players normally only have one Special Trade per day, attendees were able to make five Special Trades on their participation day. Staff provided boards to list and display Pokémon that we were looking for and willing to give up.

Before I even finished writing the first line on the "looking for" side of my board, a player from Japan approached me to offer Tropius and Relicanth he caught at events in Asia. I was lucky with how easily trades took place because I had creatures from the past two Chicago events to offer. Apart from Regionals, I was happy to get two more Unown — some of the rarest monsters in the game — to add to my growing collection.

Other opportunities at Chicago's Pokémon GO Fest 2019 included a Battle tournament, as well as chances to meet popular Pokémon GO YouTubers. I hope that Niantic continues to develop official battle tournaments in the future. Outside this event, competitions so far have been limited to unofficial matches run by dedicated fans (including YouTubers) around the world.

Similar to past Pokémon GO events held in various countries, the third annual Chicago event offered a Regional Pokémon. The electric squirrel Pachirisu, which is found in far-north locales such as parts of Canada and Russia, temporarily migrated to the concrete jungle of Chicago. As always, specific Unown also appeared to give rare opportunities to catch the alphabet-inspired Pokémon. This year's message that they spelled was "Wake up!," a reference to the story of the Mythical Pokémon Jirachi.

Meandering through special real-world habitats added extra fun and novelty to the experience. My favorite area was the Spooky Woods, where Ghost and Dark types spawned in droves. The Special Research for the event required players to visit all of the habitats multiple times in order to complete challenges to unlock Jirachi.

To complete the Special Research, players had to take AR photos of certain Pokémon. Trainers paying close attention noticed sneaky monsters photobombing their images. These musical-themed Pokémon were related to the last part of Jirachi's Special Research.

After adventuring through the whole event space, players could continue to spin special PokéStops, relax in six team lounges, grab a snack from food trucks or stalls, buy exclusive merch, and participate in contests for prizes. The event ran from 11:00 a.m. (early access at 9:00 a.m.) to 7:00 p.m. for four full days for the first time. But as all Shiny hunters know, sometimes the quest for a particular monster continues even after a long day.

Pokémon GO Fest 2019 Chicago was a satisfying third installment to an event that began with chaos in 2017. There were short-lived network issues and an unfortunate rain delay for this year's event, but Niantic was prepared to respond to these hiccups. Players affected by Saturday's rain delay will be able to play this weekend wherever they are in the world.

Two more Pokémon GO Fests are scheduled in Dortmund, Germany and Yokohama, Japan this summer. Trainers everywhere will continue to work together to unlock in-game rewards for players around the globe. Niantic teased Team Rocket in Chicago, so I look forward to more surprises for all of us aspiring Pokémon Masters in the coming months.


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