After a three-year hiatus due to Covid, Pokémon Go’s in-person Go Fests have properly returned. The first of three music festival-sized city gatherings took place this weekend in Berlin and went off smoothly, with the usual mix of rare creatures, boosted Shiny chances and early access to new species.
As ever, it was the feeling of playing Pokémon Go among thousands of others that made the event something special. Along the many pretty paths circling Berlin’s beautiful Britzer Garden, thousands of Pokémon players plodded along in groups, with friends or in couples, celebrating rare catches or looking on in envy.
I wasn’t certain about Berlin as a choice for Go Fest, after the smaller German city of Dortmund hosted the game’s main European events in previous years so successfully. Not only did Dortmund have a great city park to play in, but its main centre was small enough that when Pokémon Go players turned up, they absolutely took over – fans flooding its small squares and filling restaurant terraces. It created a carnival atmosphere, and seeing the expressions of bemused locals as dozens of people passed by in Pikachu onesies never got old.