It’s the middle of October, the 16th to be exact. It’s 30 degrees out. It’s 10am. But most of all, it’s Minneapolis. And that explains why, instead of slumbering our weekend away, Matt Yeager and yours truly headed down to Bloomington, Minnesota and the Mall of America to take part in POKEMON ROCKS AMERICA
This car isn’t mine, but I do own a Pikamobile!
The event took place in the north parking lot, right in front of the mall with a great view of the new IKEA store that went up a few weeks ago. As soon as you walked in, there was an information booth to guide you to all the different events going on.
How much do you want to bet the big question all day was: Where can I get Deoxys?
Of course, the main reason most people were there, was because this was your only chance to get the Aurora Ticket for your Pokemon Fire Red or Leaf Green games. The Aurora ticket gives you the chance to catch the rarest Pokemon of them all: DEOXYS, a Pokemon so mysterious it changes form depending on what game you have it on: Fire Red, Leaf Green, or Ruby/Sapphire.
The process to get Deoxys was simple. The step by step process is here. We waited in line with our wireless adapters hooked up and in minutes we had Deoxys on both of my carts, one Yeager’s Fire Red and on Alex Williams’ Leaf Green. The potential for 4 Deoxys in all for the Inside Pulse staff!
Right before Yeager took this shot, Torchic was playing some PokeCol! Guess he didn’t what a photo of him using Swampert instead of Blaziken
Besides the Aurora Ticket, there was plenty of other things going on. There was a Pokemon Survey station where you got two free bookmarks for filling out a quick survey on your thoughts of Pokemon. I pity that person that had to read mine. “CUBONE AND CLEFAIRY RULE!”
There were two not video gaming contests you could take part in. The first was a Pokeball toss (Actually a koosh ball). If you got the ball into a red or green box, you won a prize of a Mouse Pad and a VHS copy of some episodes from Pokemon Johto. The trick here in a box in the upper right hand corner was green, so you just had to bank your shot and it would fall in. No one else seemed to notice this trick. So I walked away with a mouse pad (That I’m using right now) and a tape of Ash vs Whitney (Normal Pokemon Gym Leader) that I wish was a DVD instead as I have all the episodes up to there on DVD. But hey, you won’t catch me complaining about free Pokemon cartoons!
A Life size Groudon and some pictures of Deoxys in all his forms
The other event was a spin the wheel, get a prize sort of deal. There were four different wheels to spin, and you ended up spinning one of them. If the wheel landed on Pikachu or any start on the wheel (three were on there) you won a Pokemon Figure and a pack of Pokemon Cards. Otherwise you just got a figure. As I don’t play the cards, I just wanted the figures. I ended up walking away with a Porygon and a Magikarp figure. Yeah, Matt and I spun, left for a while, came back and spun again. We like Pokemon Figures. Does that make us bad journalists? No!
The Pokemon Center had a booth set up where you could buy items that you could only normally get there, such as the Charizard or Venusaur GBA SP’s. Everything there was a little more expensive ($110 dollars for the limited edition SP compared to 99.95 on the website) than it would have been if you ordered the items at Pokemoncenter.com or went to the Pokemon Centers in New York, Osaka, or Tokyo, but this way you didn’t have tax or shipping. Or a long flight. Of course, I ordered my Venusaur SP back in September and still haven’t gotten it, and the Pokemon Center has not returned my emails or calls about it. I think someone needs some FISH! Philosophy customer service training!
Treeko meets some fans! You have to wonder how many times his tail was stepped on.
There was a huge room for playing all sorts of Pokemon Games. You could also compete in a mini Pokemon tourney, where if you won three trainer battles, you could go head to head on the big screen overlooking the entire Pokemon Rocks America event. Yeager and I didn’t compete however. Yeager’s just started playing Pokemon for the first time and my team wasn’t at level 100 as I only raise mine to level 70 nowadays, so I’d have been at a major disadvantage. But I did have both a legal Mew and Celebi on my Leaf Green cart, so I could made some youngsters jealous when they appeared on the big screen, eh?
Tyranitar on the big screen!
There was also a TCG tent to play and trade cards from the very popular game. But as we weren’t into CCG’s we didn’t pay much attention to this booth.
There was also a booth showing current and future Pokemon Merchandise. It was here I met Amy Wexler, who turned out to be a Pokemon USA higher-up and who I begged to let me wear the Pikachu costume. I came pretty close to getting a yes, but alas, no. Only employees could don the Pikachu costume. Good thing too, as I’d have made a break for my own Pikamobile VW (Yes, I own a Pikachu VW. If this surprises you in the slightest, you’re obviously new to the site.) and drove home in the costume. What a sight that would be eh? Pikachu driving the Pikachu VW!
No This is not my bedroom, It’s part of the Merchandise display!
Finally there was the main stage, where an young lady emceed various Pokemon related events, from trivia, to getting Cosplayers to come on stage, to even a singing contest. Speaking of the Cosplayers, there were 7 that we saw: A woman as Jigglypuff, a guy as Ash, two Team Rocket guys, a member of Team Magma, a member of Team Aqua, and strangest of all, a guy dressed up as Misty. Poor guy was either brave or crazy to be in shorts in that weather.
Team Rocket, a Cosplaying Jigglypuff and our host for the day!
That’s no Misty! That’s a MAN, baby!
And that was pretty much the entire event in a nutshell. I walked away with a Giant Pikachu stuffed animal to make my friends sigh at my constantly growing collection of Pokemerchandise and a punch of nifty free stuff. And of course an Aurora ticket for BOTH of my LG and FR carts.
I’m really glad Nintendo went out and did this for Pokemon fans. It was a great example of going above and beyond for gamers of all ages. Everything possible was covered (except for say, a way to get Lugia) It’s just too bad Pokemon Rocks America hit only three cities though, as that leaves millions of people with Pokemon Fire Red and Leaf Green carts who won’t get a chance at a Deoxys of their own. Still, it does make these events all the more exciting and fun for those that attend.
It was almost me in that costume. Alas, another dream unfulfilled.
Pokemon Rocks America was a fun event for everyone. It didn’t matter your age. There were people around the same age as Yeager and I just having fun playing games and seeing other fans getting into the Pokemon spirit. There were little kids hugging Pikachu and Torchic and Jirachi and excited to see the whole affair. There were families bonding and sharing some great moments together, completely ignoring the freezing weather and focusing on everything from games to getting a Deoxys. If Nintendo ever brings one of these events to your town in the near future, I heartily endorse going. Just make sure it’s warmer when it hits your neck of the woods that it was for us!