Like many other Pokemon fans, I dedicated a good portion of my March 6 Sunday to Pokemon as Sunday was the release date for Pokemon Black and Pokemon White.
It was a new day for a brand new Pokemon adventure in a region never before explored and I started out my adventure right before Saturday's clock slipped into Sunday and struck 00:00 with a midnight release for the Pokemon games (preordered, though you could preorder during that event if you managed to get wind of it despite not doing a preorder) hosted by GameStop.
Loud, noisy, full of Pokemon trivia, and surrounded by Pokemon fans and geeks of a wide range of ages, the midnight launch event was buoyed more by enthusiasm than any advertising that had been done. It wasn't a big event, at all - a smallish store in the middle of a medium-sized mall with about 50 (to 75 if including parents who have no interest in Pokemon) attendees - and the only advertising done had been word-of-mouth. Despite this, the level of enthusiasm and noise seemed to suggest that the event was larger than what it actually was (this is taking the mall's acoustics into consideration) - especially during trivia and game pickup time.
Speaking of trivia, I've got to give props to GameStop. I know a lot of gamers - both hardcore and casual - have a beef with GameStop for a variety of reasons, but here is a reason that I still at least window shop at my GameStop from time to time.
So I mentioned that there was Pokemon trivia during the launch event, right? The launch event actually began after normal closing hours which, on a Saturday, is 9:00 at night. That being said, the trivia and fun-and-games portion took place between 9:00 and 11:00. Me being occupied with late-night work meant that I wouldn't be able to attend the 9 to 11 fun and games and when I showed up for the last bit of the launch event, I was surprised with some free swag that had been given away while I had been at work.
The guys and gals at GameStop didn't have to do that for me (I didn't ask them to; I only mentioned I would be really late to the event due to work), but they did it anyways and I'm really grateful and touched that they did and as a result, I left GameStop completely and absolutely satisfied with my experience (and at least halfway pleased about paying what I did for what I picked up).
Concluding the GameStop leg of my adventure, the midnight launch was, in my opinion, a success, and here's to the GameStop staff who helped make it successful!
Moving onwards, when I got home from the midnight launch at GameStop, I decided to browse the 'net for any last minute signs of confirmed Pokemon release-related events. After the GameStop surprise, I was feeling pretty lucky and so I was feeling hopeful that there might be some news to catch up on. Being hopeful paid off and after checking my email, I confirmed that both Target and Toys "R" Us would be offering bonuses for picking up the games on the day of release and so after printing out the adverts and setting my alarm clock, I went to bed with thoughts of art portfolios, DS accessory packs, and discounts on games in my head.
As sleep won over in favor of waking up extra early (in case I needed to beat a crowd), I ended up arriving at my local Target at around 08:30 AM as opposed to 08:00.
Much to my surprise, the Target was... almost deserted from the looks of it and where GameStop next door (which was NOT the one that hosted the midnight launch) had been crowded with Pokemon fans, it seemed like I (and the company I was in) was the only one visiting Target for Pokemon.
Oh well; I'm no fan of crowds to be quite honest and so the lack of a crowd made me quite happy.
At the counter (which I had visited at least 3 other times on 3 different occasions in the last two weeks), I learned a few things while in the middle of signing off for a (second) copy of the game.
Number 1: Apparently, despite me being told for the last two weeks that Target had run out of presale slips for the Pokemon games, there were still PLENTY of presale slips behind the counter. WTF.
Number 2: Apparently, the associates I had spoken with previously were either clueless (that was one guy), impatient (that was another guy), or too... preoccupied with other things to be bothered with Pokemon (that was the final guy). Also, if I want to do presale on video games in the future, I should go in during the mornings.
Number 3: Apparently, I was smart to visit the store early as they only had a few extra copies of the game (and the art portfolio bonus) in their initial shipment.
Number 4: Apparently, NOBODY had been informed about the art portfolio bonus as the guy who sold me the game and 'folio only knew of it when he opened the box that morning. Awesome.
On the one hand, the fact that nobody had been informed explains why everyone had been clueless about any and all possible Pokemon-related bonuses.
On the other hand, talk about poor advertising and marketing.
Exactly how many people are going to look at their newspaper (or in my case, email) at or before seven in the morning on a Sunday and then go, "OH HEY - BONUS!!!" and then run out to the store? Especially on a day that is oftentimes preoccupied with religious events? ... Unless you're a Pokemon fan and had been waiting for something like this, of course.
Oh well. I got what I went in for - the game and the art portfolio!
As Target is fairly close to Toys "R" Us, I decided to grab some breakfast first from an equally nearby Denny's and after breakfast, I headed over to Toys "R" Us (which I will now abbreviate to TRU).
After the emptiness I experienced at Target, I wasn't sure about what to expect at Toys "R" Us - a few shoppers, a lot of shoppers, or what - and what I ended up seeing was... something of a mix.
Where there were only a handful of shoppers milling about the store, the electronics department had a bit of a line going in terms of Pokemon game pickups and so I got to wait a bit for my turn to pick up my preorders.
No big deal, though, as when my turn came, everything went smoothly with the sales associates being really cheerful and polite and along with the awesome buy one get one half off discount, I also scored two accessory pack bonuses along with two exclusive wall clings.
Feeling pleased that everything had gone according to the advertisements (which they don't always do), I decided to shop around some more and I ended up buying a Poke Ball stress ball designed like a Heavy Ball in memory of my Snorlax that I had caught not too long ago and as a means to tease my Lugia with (because I had caught him in a Heavy Ball multiple times while SRing for him and finally kept him in a Dusk Ball).
With my game-related purchases all taken care of, I finally headed back home and once home, I embarked on my new Isshu/Unova region journey with my new Starter Pokemon - a Snivy on Pokemon White and an Oshawott on Pokemon Black.
A midnight release (with free unexpected swag!), an art portfolio, and a buy one get one half off plus wall clings plus accessory kit deal?
That was a total score for me in regards to my little super-late Saturday and early Sunday-morning adventure and coupled with the awesome new game, I'm looking forward to having more awesome Pokemon-related adventures.
- A New Pokemon Adventure Begins!