Bangkok’s first Pokémon Go meet up comes to Lumpini park (PHOTOS)

90s kids might remember sitting alone in their room, Gameboy in hand, with Pokémon plushies or figures decorating their desks. We’ll remember collecting all sorts of knick-knacks including bottle caps with Pokémon on them, Pokémon tattoos and CDs of the anime. We were willing to do almost anything just to get one step closer to the fantasy of owning Pokémon.

Many see this as just another hyped up frenzy while others see Pokémon Go as so much more. For some, it’s simply cool to see fiction and reality coming together in an app, for others, it’s a chance to relive childhood memories.

On Saturday afternoon, Lumpini Park became a Pokémon Go zone for trainers as it set the stage for Bangkok’s very first Pokémon meet up. Under the hot sun, phones were vibrating and power banks were working hard as everyone came together to chill outside in the sunny afternoon.

The event, which started out as a simple Facebook event, was hosted by Eric Barker, an entrepreneur and Pokémon trainer.

Here is an interview with the man himself:

Were you a Pokémon fan to begin with?

Yes, I was a Pokémon fan. Burger King was offering Pokémon in their happy meals back in the 90s, and I bought 200 happy meals once. I got all of them with the help of the Burger King staff. It was kinda crazy.

What do you think is the appeal of Pokémon Go?

Nostalgia, but also with the combination of something new and fun, as well as new technology. I think just applying a concept that is fictional into the real world is cool. It’s like a different layer of video game play.  

What brought on the idea of hosting a Pokémon meet up? Have you been to one before in another country?

There was a very successful Pokémon Go meet up in Chicago, and when that was first posted, I knew that it would do really well here, because of how people feel about Pokémon.

[Pokémon zombie mob migrates across the park at this point]

This is what I wanted, just to see something cool and have people come together to do something weird. (laughs) You can’t normally do this kind of thing. It’s cool because usually people would be sitting at home and playing games or something, and now they’re just out and about. This is the purpose of everyone being here!

How do you feel about the Pokémon epidemic and the fact that some people get hurt while playing the game?

I think responsibility is necessary when playing the game. I think there are also new challenges when you try to fix problems, like getting people up and out to be active. That’s definitely a negative repercussion of that. I mean, in a safe environment like a park, the chances of accidents lessen significantly.

Have you yourself ever accidentally walked into a wall?

I have actually. I’m pretty sure I have. Or a pole. I don’t remember what I was catching, but it probably wasn’t worth it. (laugh)

Lastly, which team are you on?

I’m on the blue team. (laugh) I can’t change!

The meet up officially started at 2pm, but a small crowd was already starting to form by 1pm inside the park. As the day went on, more people joined the fun. Rare Pokémon like Venusaur or a Cubone would appear in the park, and a mob of trainers would be seen slowly migrating to another spot. And it wouldn’t be a Pokémon meet up without one or two trolls running around shouting different names of rare Pokémon to excite everyone else.

A Dratini appeared and everyone started to migrate

Everyone waiting for a Cubone (very rare) to appear

Businesses like Aloft Bangkok Sukhumvit and DTAC were invited to join the fun, and were responsible in putting up lures. They even gave out snacks that went with the theme.

The leader of Team Valor decided to join in on the fun

“My favorite Pokémon is Charmander. It was always the first Pokémon that I’d choose when starting a new game, that’s why I love it so much. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to catch one. I haven’t been to the State Railway Park yet, but I hear that that’s where they’re all at!” — Phenphet Chaisangkam

Eito and his family were on the hunt for a Pikachu

He asked his oldest daughter, Chi-chan, what’s her favorite Pokémon, to which she replied “All of them!”

A wild Venusaur appeared mid-interview, at which point everyone took a 5 minute-break to catch it

“That’s f*cking tight! I actually yelled that when I found out the game was available. On the Gameboy, you’d have to go around riding a bike to catch anything, but now, you literally have to ride a bike yourself.” — Gary (right), security guard.

“You’ll see people you don’t normally see, because they’ll be playing games inside. Now, you got a whole community coming together outdoors.” — Marvin (left), security guard.

Papada, mother and new Pokémon trainer, started on her journey to “catch ‘em all” because of her son, who is a Pokémon fan.

“Before, my son would play these Pokémon games on the console, so when I saw that Pokémon Go was available in Thailand, I immediately thought of him. He would watch the anime and remember their names. I downloaded the game for him, and during the day when he’s at school, I would catch Pokémons for him so he can evolve them himself. Now, it’s something we do as a family.” — Papada, and her son, Tanakit

These three merry pranksters were running around the park shouting the names of rare Pokémon

“I’m not a troll! I just like to excite people (laughs). We used to have Pokémon cards back then, so we were really excited when the app came out. But it’s not exactly like what the commercial made it out to be, because on the commercial, you see them throwing the balls. Maybe they can improve on that. But hopefully we don’t have to throw our iPhones (laugh).” — Roshan, student at Bangkok Patana School (left)

“I have always been a fan of the Pokémon series, and I feel like Pokémon Go is a nice addition to it. The game is really simple and cute since all we do is catch Pokémons, so I think that is why so many people enjoy the game.” — Parida, recent graduate from Chulalongkorn University

“I feel like I am becoming a part of something big when I play it. We discover that so many other people actually share the same interests with one another.” said Phet, a programmer. “I always wanted to try playing it when I was a kid, and now, I’m getting my chance to be a kid again.”



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