Let’s talk about possibilities
With rumors swirling around that a Pokémon Theme Park will be coming to Universal Studios Florida in 2020, comes the possibilities of additional experiences that could be added to what already seems like the perfect place to get your “Catch On” and get lost on the rides while at the same time engaging in capturing your favorite pocket monsters.
Among the possible (generic) rides you could expect are Log Flumes to see your favorite water Pokémon in their natural habitat, Skycoasters to soar high in the air as high as flying Pokémon, and Kiddie rides so the little ones can have just as much fun as adults. But if one is to escape regular convention, we have to think long and hard about what the real possibilities are for a Pokémon Theme Park.
And this is where Pokémon GO comes in.
You probably have watched the Pokémon GO Super Bowl commercial dozens of time, seeing people out on the real world attempting to capture Pokémon in the wild, but never actually believed it would be done like the videos depict. In reality, the AR works well for a smartphone game and it is good enough that you have the option to look around your environment when fighting a Pokémon to try to find it, but you can also turn this feature off to not have to search for the monsters each time, and instead see the generic background from the games.
Other than that, there is no real immersion in the game. But how would a Pokémon Theme Park be able to use the Pokémon GO experience to its advantage?
1. Make the Pokémon Theme Park a connected environment:
Nowadays, most people carry their smartphones everywhere they go, and even some children who are too young to have one, already do. Moreover, since Pokéon GO is supported by both iOS and Android devices, there’s a pretty good chance you already have the game, have played it before, or your device is capable of downloading it.
A connected environment could bring additional perks of playing the game while on the theme park. For example, going on a Pokémon ride could net the benefit of being exposed to specific Pokémon only found on that ride, awarding you the ability to catch them and rewarding repeat visits to the same rides, as you try to get different types of Pokémon.
2. Park Points and Leaderboards a must:
What better way to have people come back time and again to the park than the possibility of being the ‘Gym Champion’ of the day? The theme park could have some sort of ‘Leaderboard’ where they capture the data of each player playing while on the theme park and updates it on real-time (or however often data plans permit), tracking how many Pokémon you’ve captured, and displaying on a “Gym Champion Big Board” live rankings of the players (guests) of the park.
These Leaderboards would track ‘Park Points’, given to players as they complete specific missions or mini-quests, like getting 10 of the same type of Pokémon while on the park, or being able to evolve a Pokémon to its highest evolution. Additional perks could be given to players that engage in PvP skirmishes, or when tracking your steps and seeing you have “discovered” or visited every location on the Pokémon Theme park map.
3. Pokémon GO Fest could be a regular event at the theme park:
Remember that Pokémon GO Fest in Chicago where nearly 20,000 people attended and turned out to be a disaster? At the Pokémon Theme Park, the environment could be controller much better, which could help prevent these types of incidents from happening again. Even more, a Pokémon GO fest could provide a much broader meaning for the visitors, because the Theme Park itself would be the ultimate place in which to meet other trainers and to share the love of Pokémon.
There is a reason why services like GroupMe, Meetup, and even Facebook are popular havens for Pokémon GO enthusiasts to find like-minded people to pair with and go hunting. A Pokémon Theme Park would eliminate the outside-world search and would pretty much guarantee that almost everyone you find in the park will share your same passion for those adorable creatures.
4. The Pokémon store could have the potential to be as grandiose as any of the theme park attractions:
We’ve all heard (my personal opinion) about Amazon stores and how people are able to go in them and check out without the need for cashiers or fast lane machines. People grab the merchandise and put it in their cart, and it automatically gets rung up as part of the transaction. It is a pretty need way to shop (but that also can be exploited), and Pokémon GO could offer something just as clever when connecting to the Theme Park Store and using its AR.
Let’s say you are looking for your favorite Pokémon, but have a store full of merchandise and you do not know where to head to find it. How about turning ON the AR feature on Pokémon GO, click on a specific Pokémon, and the AR highlighting all the different locations of different merchandises relating to that specific Pokémon?
Or maybe you have spent the entire day at the Theme Park accumulating Park Points and expect that you can get some sort of discount on your purchase by using those points. Turn the AR on, point your smartphone camera towards the items you are interested in, and automatically it will project not only the regular price of the item but what discounts you qualify for based on the number of points that you can use.
Or how about that collection of Pokémon that you are trying to complete based on the Pokémon Theme Park special edition set of 120 creatures? With every purchase, the smartphone is updated with the ones you have obtained, now all you have to do is use the AR to point it at the collection in front of you and it will automatically circle the ones that you need, and ‘X’ out the ones you already own.
There are many other ways that Pokémon GO could be incorporated into a Theme Park attraction, and this is all speculation based on the rumors of a possible Pokémon Theme Park being built at Universal Studios Orlando, but the possibilities are endless. And if it does come to fruition, I can’t wait to journey into what surely will be a magical place for Pokémon fans new and old.
This post was written by Toys and More Club