Steinback was one of the lucky few chosen to play the beta version of Pokémon Go, and she was thrilled that the rest of the world has finally caught on. The highlight of the game so far for Steinback was finding a Scyther at the beach. “Oh my God it ...
The largest gathering yet of PokÃ©mon Go players in San Francisco was almost a total disaster.
Up until a half hour before more than 9,000 people were supposed to begin gathering at select locations in the hometown of the viral game sensationâ€™s developer, Niantic Labs, the servers were down.
â€œI was panicking,â€ said Natasha Asbury, a spokesmodel for Samsung who drove about 40 miles to San Francisco from Vallejo in order to attend the meetup. â€œI was like, I dressed cute for nothing.â€
Fortunately, the servers were up and running in time for the 6pm start time, and Asburyâ€™s PokÃ©mon hunting outfit was indeed impressive. She and her younger brother Edwin sported T-shirts and baseball caps emblazoned with the mascot of â€œTeam Valorâ€ â€“ one of three teams PokÃ©mon Go players can join. At her belt hung homemade PokÃ©balls fashioned out of Christmas tree ornaments and a pale purple device that resembled a lure module â€“ an item within the alternate reality of the game that attracts extra PokÃ©mon to PokÃ©stops.
â€œThis is actually a taser,â€ she explained. â€œMy husband is a cop.â€
Wednesday eveningâ€™s PokÃ©mon Go crawl began as a simple Facebook event page for friends, but it quickly went viral.
â€œI made this event at midnight, invited my Facebook friends, and fell asleep,â€ organizer Sara Witsch told Tech Crunch. â€œI woke up to 500 people going.â€ By Wednesday afternoon, more than 9,000 people had indicated they would join in the fun, and numerous local businesses had announced freebies, promotions and drink specials for participants.
Related: Detective Pikachu to launch PokÃ©mon movie franchise
With starting points around the city and no fixed route, it was impossible to tell how many people actually participated, but the city certainly felt like it was swarming with a surprising number of exotic creatures. Though he may be well camouflaged, the PokÃ©mon Go player is easily identifiable to the careful observer by his hunched neck, tendency to stop walking at odd intervals, and a tell-tale power cord connecting the smartphone to a battery pack in his ownerâ€™s pocket.
There were several hundred players at Pier 3 on the San Francisco waterfront before the festivities began, cheering their team affiliations, showing off their outfits, swapping tales of the hunt, and â€“ for a few â€“ breaking into a rousing rendition of the PokÃ©mon theme song.
Terry Chiu, 24, was one of several to sport a Pikachu onesie. â€œMy last name is Chiu, so â€¦ Pikachu,â€ he joked.
Shaquille Steinback, a self-described PokÃ©mon obsessive, showed off a tattoo of her favorite PokÃ©mon, Psyduck, on her calf. Steinback was one of the lucky few chosen to play the beta version of PokÃ©mon Go, and she was thrilled that the rest of the world has finally caught on.
The highlight of the game so far for Steinback was finding a Scyther at the beach.
â€œOh my God it was super way powered,â€ she enthused.
Kristina Gong was on the lookout for a rumored Dragonite. â€œOne person found one in their office,â€ she said she had heard on Facebook. â€œThatâ€™s not fair!â€
Around 6.30, Amy Lu shouted to the crowd that it was time to go catch some PokÃ©mon. Lu said she was â€œnot reallyâ€ a big fan of the game, but she volunteered to help coordinate the event because she is roommates with Witsch.
â€œI only do it on my way to work,â€ she said. (Lu works at the museum on Alcatraz, the island that once housed a notorious state prison and is now inhabited chiefly by Magnemites, Voltorbs, and Meowths.) But she didnâ€™t mind taking on a role in the PokÃ©crawl. â€œWhat else am I going to do on a Wednesday?â€
As the crowd reached the Ferry building and prepared to head up Market Street into the heart of downtown, a strange chirping sound filled the air. Perched on a lamppost above the mass of people were two of San Franciscoâ€™s famed wild parrots.
A man mimed tossing a PokÃ©ball in their direction. The parrots paid him no mind.
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