Friday 8th May 2020

Way back in late February / early March when coronavirus was just starting to rear its head, Pokemon Go postponed an event in St Louis.

I’ve done a few of these events and they’re fun.  Basically, they take over a large park, cram in a ton of cell towers, and then have hundreds of thousands of people play the game together.  There will be special and rare spawns released, and all manners of exclusive in-game activities that comes from playing a virtual game at real world locations.

I’ve done a couple of events in Dortmund and I really had a great time.  Not only did you get to explore the city as you hunt Pokemon, but you came back with a ton of virtual goodies you can then trade to your friends.

They announced 3 ‘smaller’ Safari Zone events for the Spring:  2 in the US and 1 in Liverpool.  Still hundreds of thousands of people, but the Liverpool one meant that a load of our local Pokemon Go community could afford to go.

The Liverpool event was scheduled for April so when St Louis got cancelled the chatter was about how it was probably likely that Liverpool would as well.

To compensate people who’d bought tickets to St Louis, Pokemon Go announced they would do something whereby the spawns that would have been found there would spawn on the player instead.  It was a good compromise.  It meant that if people got locked down, they could play from the safety of their own home.  Plus, when the event did get rescheduled then they could do it all again for real.

So whilst some of us were worried about hotels we’d already paid for, the idea of Liverpool being cancelled wasn’t that bad a prospect.  We’d get to play at home and then at some date in the post-Covid future, we’d do it again for real.

And then one of our friends made a suggestion.

If they cancelled Liverpool in April, they might cancel the 3rd Safari Zone – Philadelphia in May.  In theory if that happened, they’d spawn the rare and special pokemon on players’ homes.

Tickets were about £20 and had almost sold out… so a few of us took the risk.  Just as well as the tickets all sold out a few hours later, some of our community who’d not acted quickly missing out.

The risk paid off.  Philadelphia got cancelled and as a result, a  bunch of us got to enjoy the Philadelphia Safari Zone from home.

I’d played the Liverpool virtual event a few weeks ago, but Philadelphia turned out even better.

You see, there are some Pokemon that are exclusive to regions of the world.  You can only find Mr Mime in Europe, Carnavine is only in South Eastern USA.  But when the spawns came across, they brought a bunch of their regionals as well.

The majority of Pokemon Go players are after exclusive shiny variants.  Typically these are 1 in every 450 pokemon.  The trouble is that just because the odds are 1/450 doesn’t mean you will have found one after 450 finds.  Also with some pokemon being rare spawns, trying to find 450 of them in the first place can be difficult enough.

The Safari Zone had a number of rare pokemon spawning, as well as a couple of regionals as well, which meant that players were really excited.

Because we’d taken a risk buying tickets I never got early access so only had a 6 hour window.  However, that was more than enough.  I was pretty knackered from the week and didn’t have a load of storage.  Whilst there were still a load of shinies I would have liked to have got (and never did) the ones I got were good.  Plus, loads of people want us to trade the regionals we caught, especially as one is supposed to be good for PvP.

And theoretically, I still have a ticket for the rescheduled event, so perhaps – one day – when we can travel safely again, I might be visiting Philadelphia.

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