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A Rough Start for Pokemon Fest

Well, the world's first Pokemon Fest is winding down right now in Chicago's Grant Park. The event drew massive crowds this morning, with lines of thousands of people lining up around the park for the sold-out event. People were allowed to line up as early as 6 AM to get into the event, which started at 10 AM. Many waited hours to get in, and get their envelopes with their special packet containing a code that let them participate in the event.

The festival ran into a few issues early on, as cellular networks and the game's servers struggled to handle the internet traffic of thousands of players in one location playing at the same time. The game offered some in-game specials for users, but many were disappointed when they were unable to log in and play. Niantic, the company that runs Pokemon Go, even is offering refunds to at least some of the attendees.

But those who were able to get in were treated to special Pokestops, access to uncommon Pokemon, and access to in-game items. There were several special pokestops set up, with the festival logo, that were set up around the park. They were for exclusive use by festival attendees, and required the login code that all attendees received upon entry.

We tried our luck at logging in the afternoon, and had mixed results. Mobile network traffic seemed to be at its worst on the south end of the park. We struggled for about 20-30 minutes constantly getting failed logins. Many people in this area were resting in the shaded gardens just north of Buckingham fountain at the edge of the fenced-in event. Even with a strong cell signal, the game's servers were likely the problem, as we still were unable to get into the gamel

We then attempted to make our way past the crowds, as we tried to get a look at the in-game features. We wandered north of the central area where food stands had been set up, and were finally able to log in and get a look at the festival in-game. There wasn't a great deal out of the ordinary, but we did spot a lot of pokemon and some of the pokestops that were set up just for this special event--of which there appeared to be maybe 10 at the most. Not a whole lot to see, but still pretty cool if you can get into the game:

And we even saw a few cosplayers who managed to brave the heat and put on a costume. Though, most attendees were in t-shirts and shorts, as the temperature got up into the mid-80s with some high humidity. Despite the problems, it looks like there were still quite a few people who enjoyed the event.

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