Credit: Yoshikazu TAKADA under Creative Common License
Pokémon wasn’t always the multi-billion franchise that it is today. In fact, Byte reports that when the first titles, Red and Green, released for the Game Boy in 1996, the games only sold very modestly. It wasn’t until Pokémon was integrated into other mediums like arcade did the franchise fully take off. An ExpatBets writeup on the arcade culture of Japan explains that much of the prevalence of arcade culture comes from the adaptability and continued to push for innovation that developers have exhibited through the years. With the pandemic severely limiting visits to the country’s gaming centers, developers are being encouraged to explore new ways to draw gamers in. Now, it seems Nintendo has found the perfect solution by turning to virtual reality.
What is virtual reality?
Before we dive into the meat of today’s news, let’s first take a look at what virtual reality is. This is an interactive, computer-generated world that can be accessed with virtual reality devices like the Oculus Rift, HTC Pro, and even virtual reality supported mobile devices. Locally, it’s a huge hit as well. True enough, VR was touted as one of the technologies that could foster economic development in Zimbabwe, with more than 500 million headsets expected to be sold by 2025.
Virtual reality Pokémon festival
For the first time, Nintendo announced that it will be hosting an event called Pokémon Virtual Fest—a virtual theme park to engage fans everywhere. Users will get to experience a full theme park experience complete with Pokémon-themed rides, attractions, live events, and virtual shops.
Additionally, Pokémon Virtual Fest will also be hosting a series of missions created by SCRAP—a company that operates escape rooms in Japan. There are three missions, and you’ll get rewards based on the number of missions you complete and the time it takes you to finish them.
The theme park will have four areas: the Attractions, Events Stage, Beach Area, and Store Area. The first is where all the rides, like the Galarian Weezing Train and Gigantamax Ferris Wheel, as well as the mini-games, like Inteleon’s Shooting Shop and Dugtrio’s Ring-Throwing Shop, will be stationed. The event stage is where exciting programs will be hosted, including a Pikachu dance show and a Sword and Shield-themed battle exhibition.
The beach is where people can take virtual photographs. The Store area will let you purchase neat things like items to customize your avatars with. Once you enter the park, you’ll be able to pick one of three “costumes” for your avatar based on the Galarian starters: Scorbunny, Sobble, and Grookey.
How to access the event
Pokémon Virtual Fest will only be accessible via the Cluster app. Japan Time’s guide to staying indoors for locals details that it’s essentially a Japanese meetup app that supports virtual reality. The app is only available in Japanese. But if you don’t mind the language barrier, it’s available on the latest Android devices, iOS devices, PC, and virtual reality headsets. The event will go on from August 12 to 31.