I went to Pokémon GO Fest to (try to) play the game with thousands of others. Here’s what it was like

“Do people still play Pokémon GO?”

It’s a question that pops up pretty much any time the game gets mentioned.

The answer: yep! It’s rarely the sidewalk-filling, flash mob-inducing hype monster that it was for a few weeks after launch — and that’s probably better for everyone. But lots and lots of people do still play.

Enough people that the game can still be found floating around the iOS App Store’s Top 20 grossing apps. Enough people to fill a big ol’ park that otherwise hosts events like Lollapalooza.

That was the idea behind Pokémon GO Fest. It would be a real-world gathering of many thousands of Pokémon GO Players in Chicago’s Grant Park, all playing together, catching some Pokémon (some of which were meant to appear there for the first time) and working toward a common goal. As a Pokémon GO player from the game’s earliest days, I was genuinely excited to go.

Alas… Pokémon GO Fest didn’t work. Within minutes of the gates opening, technical issues brought everything to a grinding halt — where it stayed for most of the day. Here’s what it was like to go.

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