Vibrantly colored wigs, Pokémon badges molded from Shrinky Dinks technology and chocolate Pikachu treats were just a few of the creations that could be seen on Main Campus this past Saturday.
The campus transformed into Indigo Plateau as the Temple Anime Club and Temple Gamers Guild held the first-ever Pokémon League Challenge. Students and non-students alike “battled” bosses in various Pokémon-themed challenges dispersed throughout Main Campus, earning badges and testing their Pokémon knowledge.
Anime Club’s vice president Hilary Valentine, a junior English major, was the leader of efforts to organize the live-action role playing Pokémon event.
“I’m a huge Pokémon fan, I always have been,” Valentine said. “I’ve always wanted to become a Pokémon trainer and a lot of people that I know want to be Pokémon trainers, so I thought it would be interesting to actually bring it to life. Using Temple as a field to play around with that idea [was] really interesting.”
Participating students, known as trainers, started their journey in the Student Center where they were given their first Pokémon card that informed them of the eight gym destinations they were to go to first. The challenges varied in difficulty and style, ranging from a Pokémon Snap-themed scavenger hunt to Pokémon trivia and one stop that entailed battling a “gym boss” in a game of Hungry Hungry Hippos to attain the gym badge.
Freshman information science and technology major Greg Calhoun served as one of the eight bosses who peppered visiting trainers with Pokémon trivia, providing only the Pokémon’s description and Pokédex number.
“I’m really happy that people have been able to get my event,” Calhoun said. “I was a little concerned at first that people would really, really struggle because especially if you haven’t played the games in a while, it can be hard. But people really seem to be getting it.”
If trainers wanted to take a break from the action, a PokéMart stop provided Pokémon-themed desserts and event T-shirts. Trainers could purchase “antidote,” lemonade in a test tube, potions consisting of cinnamon jelly beans, watermelon rock-candy and purple-dusted chocolate rocks, and chocolate Pikachu candies formed in silicone molds.
Temple alumna Stefanie Guarnieri, who serves as the Anime Club’s director of fundraising, said she created the majority of the desserts. Proceeds from the sales went toward funding the event.
“If this is run successfully we would like to do it again next year, have a round two,” Guarnieri said. “If we sell everything that we have then we would actually make a little bit of a profit, but our main goal is to break even.”
Approximately 30 trainers participated in Saturday’s event, many completing all of the required challenges necessary to become a Pokémon master.
Sophomore Spanish major Joe Claffey, a participant who earned the title of Pokémon master, said he enjoyed being able to physically complete the challenges.
“[The best part was] walking around and collecting gym badges and then facing the Final Four,” Claffey said. “I was not expecting to do miscellaneous activities, like I thought I would have to pull out my Gameboy and play it but it was actually doing fun activities involving Pokémon. Just [to] do something that you’ve kind of always wanted to do since you were a kid, and it was just fun to come out and support two clubs at the same time.”
While there was some confusion among trainers about the order of events and where to go, Valentine said she thinks Temple’s first Pokémon League lived up to expectations.
“I thought it was successful, we had a few hiccups but for the first time we’ve ever done anything this big with Anime Club I thought it went really well,” Valentine said. “Everyone had fun and that’s all that really mattered to me.”
Andrew Thayer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.