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Pokémon GO Tour: Sinnoh – Los Angeles was disappointing at first, but the community made it worthwhile

Meeting new friends and trainers was the perfect antidote for a mediocre layout.

The Pokémon GO Tour: Sinnoh event, held in Los Angeles from February 17 to 18, was the year’s first major in-person event, and it aimed to start off another year of excitement for Pokémon GO.
As someone who travelled from the United Kingdom to Los Angeles particularly for the event, I was delighted to participate in something other than Pokémon GO Fest. After all, Sinnoh is my favourite area in Pokémon, and with Hisuian Pokémon making their debut, I was ready for a good time.

Sadly, I left the gathering with mixed emotions. While I had a fantastic time, many aspects of the event did not match my or the people I spoke with’s expectations. Was it fun? Sure. But it could have been much better.
The Pokémon GO Tour: Sinnoh took place in person at Pasadena’s Rose Bowl Stadium, and I must confess that when it was first announced, the venue seemed like a fantastic fit. It’s a well-known stadium that is conveniently located in the heart of Los Angeles. What else could we want?
For those who attended on Saturday, however, the event began as one would expect from a Niantic event: with a slew of delays. Some fans were left waiting outside for hours after the event began, prompting Niantic to extend the event by three hours on Saturday to accommodate those who were unable to arrive on time. Fans going on Sunday had no such problems, but it left a bad taste in our mouths at the start of the festivities.
The event’s layout was also a concern. The Rose Bowl event was primarily divided into four parts, beginning with the Rose Bowl Stadium and expanding north to Brookside Golf Course. These four places all have unique spawning, with Seaside Metropolis in the south containing Pokémon such as Hisuian Qwilfish and Bubbling Mire in the north housing Hisuian Growlithe.
This sparked a massive complaint. Most wanted both of these Pokémon but had to trek at least 30 minutes between them because to their distance. Getting a Shiny also felt unattainable, and these issues could have been easily rectified by bringing all four regions closer together, in a square, rather of spreading them out over a large expanse of ground. To make matters worse, Hisuian Pokémon would only spawn for 30 minutes every hour, thereby limiting your options to a specific period of the event in order to obtain the desired one. If you tried to walk between the northernmost and southernmost places, you wouldn’t be able to complete everything on time.
Furthermore, there were no Routes connecting the locations, which could have made the trip more valuable as the White-Striped Basculin only spawns on Routes. The entire event felt like a squandered opportunity, with the venue’s restrictions making it frustrating and lacklustre. It may appear that I am nitpicking all of the layout faults, but they were a major source of concern, drastically limiting the event’s attractiveness.

Not all doom and gloom

When I spoke with a few players there, many expressed their reservations about the layout, as well as the painfully low Shiny rates during the weekend. While I understand their concerns about Shinies, Shiny Pokémon aren’t everything at these events, despite the fact that most people claim it’s the sole reason they came.
What’s more important to me is the community that attends them, and Pokémon GO Tour: Sinnoh – LA featured one of the largest crowds of dedicated Pokémon GO fans I’ve ever seen. Some people told me that over 30,000 tickets were sold for the weekend, and the crowds of enthusiastic fans demonstrated how popular it was.
There was a continual sea of Pokémon GO players everywhere you looked, and it wasn’t just at the Rose Bowl. After leaving the stadium and heading into Downtown LA, you couldn’t go anywhere without seeing raids packed, gamers grouped up, and everyone gathering together to have fun and enjoy the game with friends or strangers, attempting to catch ’em all.

The atmosphere of the occasion was contagious. I met a lot of folks that joined Party Play, swapped regional exclusives I needed to finish my Pokédex, and simply hung out for a few hours to see LA and share taxi charges. I’ll probably never see or talk to any of these folks again, but they made the entire experience far more pleasurable than I could have imagined.

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