I took Andrew (7) to "Pokemon Rocks America 2004", here in Seattle last Saturday. This was a Pokemon extravaganza held only in three cities this year, so we were fortunate, I guess, to have it here in town.
We got to Seattle Center an hour early, and there was already a line full of people of all ages playing Pokemon on their GameBoys and arguing the finer points of battling and evolving Pokemon. Andrew was so excited he couldn't concentrate enough to play his GameBoy even though he hadn't been allowed to play all week.
The event itself was actually pretty good. I had expected a huge price gouging marketing extravagnza. To be sure, it was all things Pokemon, but it was done well. The event itself was free (even though the line wrapped around the building by the time the doors opened. They gave away a ton of free stuff and had a lot to do.
We learned how to play the card game, Andrew competed on stage in a silly game and won a ton of stuff, we traded Pokemon between our GameBoys with the staff (and got a dozen Pokemon we hadn't had before), watched videos, and saw more experienced kids battle.
The highlight of the event for most people was the opportunity to get the "Aurora ticket" -- the key to getting Deoxys, the last Pokemon (between all the various Pokemon computer games, you try to collect all three hundred some odd Pokemon.) There's no way to get this ticket in the game; you have to go to an event like this. We didn't have the right version of the game, I didn't feel like buying one, and Andrew didn't press the matter (fortunately, since the line was forever long.) At least one person I saw on stage had come from San Diego to get the ticket. Crazy.
Actually, there were a lot of crazies there. I wasn't surprised to see kids of Andrew's age, but there were lots of teenagers and adults who seemed even more enthusiastic. There were pimply faced 15 year old boys snorting about how to mate Pokemon, "Pokemoms" on stage for the karaoke contest, and parents arguing with their kids about which Pokemon evolves into what when -- and really caring. It was Dork Fest 2004.
Still, Andrew had a great time. The highlight for him may have been after the event when we found our photo on the pokemon.com website. Well he's in the photo; my head is cutoff. I've saved that screenshot for posterity.
I admit it was more fun than I expected. Guess I'm a dork too.