Pokémon Go Fest will live on in infamy, but if you only heard about the problems secondhand, you don’t know how uncomfortable the event was. A supercut condenses the daylong drama into just nine minutes, using footage from the event’s livestream to help jog all of our memories.
The livestream ran for more than seven hours, and it was, by most accounts, catastrophic. Technical issues weren’t the worst of it; it’s those interviews between excitable hosts and trainers who couldn’t catch a single Pokémon all day that are most painful. There’s plenty of boos and curses to be heard from the distraught crowd, too; the whole thing is a reminder of just how badly the game’s server issues plagued the day.
I got to attend Pokémon Go Fest in person, so my perspective is a little different from the cringeworthy scenes in YouTuber bobvids’ edited version. Sure, I saw YouTubers in the middle of awkward interviews and heard fans curse Niantic for the widespread server issues. But what I saw most often were disappointed visitors from far-flung places, left to stand around staring at a loading screen as the developer worked to fix the myriad issues.
Not everyone there was as vocal about their frustrations as the video makes it seem. Most of the people I ran into were more crestfallen about their inability to catch those rare Pokémon they so wanted. But when Niantic reps came on stage to promise full refunds and other compensation, it helped ticket holders put things into perspective.
The allure of Pokémon Go, at least when it launched, was hanging out with other nostalgic Pokémon fans in the great outdoors. That wasn’t lost on many of the people there, from those who spent hours in line to the people who lingered at the end to meet Niantic’s CEO, John Hanke.
All of this is to say that, yes, Pokémon Go Fest had some truly embarrassing problems. Niantic’s admitted as much. I couldn’t escape the awkwardness, the anger and the cringe — and I shared in much of it, too. But the quieter moments that this video is mostly missing are, for me, just as memorable.