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A Fantastic Day at Pokémon: Art Through the Ages 2022

A Fantastic Day at Pokémon: Art Through the Ages 2022

art through the ages

In my eternal quest to become a Pokémon Master, I decided to try something a little different. My girlfriend and I had been visiting Carlisle for the weekend and had to drive past Manchester to get home. It just so happened that the Pokémon: Art Through the Ages (PATA) event was happening at the Trafford Centre at the time, so she suggested that we pop over and have a go while we were in the area. And it’s just as well, since it’s been open as a tab on my laptop for ages, and yet I never organised a trip there.

If you’re planning on going, and don’t want spoilers, proceed with caution.

The PATA event had a few elements to it, including a meet and greet with Pikachu, art lessons, Pokémon Journeys episodes and a scavenger hunt. It’s the scavenger hunt that I’ll be focusing on here.

I Choose You! Culture

  • art through the ages pokemon
  • art through the ages pokemon
  • art through the ages pokemon
  • art through the ages pokemon

But first of all, I’d just like to compliment the Trafford Centre – not only is it a gorgeous Greek-inspired building, but parking was free for the whole day! Definitely something to shout about.

Now, back to Pokémon. Once we entered the building, we went over to the Orient, which was the central hub for the event. We saw a huge mural on the ceiling (see above) as well as a screen playing Pokémon adverts and a queue for meeting Pikachu. I must admit that I was impressed – more effort had been put in than a lot of the championships I’ve been to – especially since it was in a public place.

There were a lot of people wearing paper Pikachu hats, which I promptly received and wore (although I won’t lie, it didn’t last long and soon ended up in my pocket and then the recycling bin). We picked up our booklets and off we went!

The first task was to find ten of the most recognisable Kanto Pokémon (Pikachu, Charizard, Gengar, and the like) who would be hidden around the Trafford Centre in circular picture frames. Each picture had a letter or number underneath it, which we had to make a note of. Then we had to unscramble the letters/phrases. Or I thought we did, but they already spelled out a phrase (don’t worry, no spoilers) so, um, yeah. These Pokémon proved to be easy enough to find, and besides a few minutes walking around looking for Mewtwo, we soon found all ten.

I was quite impressed by this part of the event, as the images were in prominent areas, while still looking like they belonged in the centre. It was also great fun to see so many people wandering around looking for Pokémon.

We went into Game and exchanged our codes for some double-sided posters of Charizard and Pikachu which was fairly painless – although I felt sorry for anyone working in this Game during the event, or even for anyone who just wanted to shop!

Art Through the Ages Used Ancient Power

  • art through the ages pokemon
  • art through the ages pokemon
  • art through the ages pokemon
  • art through the ages pokemon

The second part of the scavenger hunt was to find all 151 of the original Kanto Pokémon (can someone please remind Game Freak that there are about 900 other Pokémon they can use?). From the title, I assumed that the Pokémon would be hidden amongst artwork. In fact, I originally thought the Trafford Centre was a gallery instead of a very pretty shopping centre. But, alas, I was mostly wrong.

The booklet gave us some hints as to where to find a few of the Pokémon, including the legendary birds. Namely, they were meant to be in the carnival section, which was contained in the New Orleans sector of the Centre.

The fossils (Aerodactyl, Omastar and Kabutops) were imprinted on a wall as if they were cave paintings, which was one of the most inventive uses of the Pokémon artwork (and once again set up some of the later discoveries for disappointment). We also got to make a graphite rubbing of Aerodactyl in our booklets which was cool, even if half the imprint-stations were missing and it broke my girlfriend’s pencil.

We spotted the legendary birds (and Mew) as soon as we turned around in New Orleans, as they were on the second biggest mural of the event (next to the one in the central hub). It was great to see them, and it looked like they belonged there, which made it even better.

The last use of Pokémon which really impressed me were the posters on the columns by the cinema. We had fire types, water types and fighting types next to art genres such as tragedy and even erotic poetry. And, once again, the main thing I was impressed with was how ‘correct’ the Pokémon artwork seemed – the Trafford Centre had certainly embraced Pokémon art as ‘true’ art. And that was beautiful.

I Will Travel Far and Wide

  • art through the ages pokemon
  • art through the ages pokemon

Unfortunately, the rest of the Pokémon’s execution were poorly delivered. Due to the abundance of water types, the event did try something a little clever by putting a load of Pokémon in and around a fountain. However, as they were just pasted onto the ground, I wasn’t sure if they counted as part of our Dex. This was a problem throughout the event, particularly because some of the Pokémon repeated and the artwork was the same on all of the posters, even if they didn’t count to the Dex.

We then spent a fair while wandering around and not finding anything. The most frustrating part of this was that we had over 80 Pokémon to find, and so we were obviously missing something pretty major. And then, just as we were about to give up, we noticed a mob of Pikachu hats by one of the entrances.

And, wouldn’t you know it, the crowd had found the rest of the Pokémon. All just on a wall, separated by types (which was cool, to be honest). But this Safari Zone of Pokémon felt like an afterthought. It was like the organisers had let Pokémon put up the first set of posters, only to be told that there were around 80 more to go. “Uh, go and chuck them by the entrance”, they must have said, “That’ll do”. Now, I understand that the event had to be relatively easy and unintrusive to normal shoppers but this felt rather cheap. I had been expecting Pidgey in the rafters, Ditto in the slushee machines and Machamp as The Thinker.

The event could also have been improved by simply taking these squares and splitting them up around the centre. At least then it would have been more of a scavenger hunt. I mean, even Ash could have caught these Pokémon.

However, even when we’d checked off all the WallMons, there were still four Pokémon stubbornly missing from our Dexes. Two of them, Seedra and Poliwrath, made sense. But I don’t think I’ve ever been roadblocked by regional bugs before.

And it turned out that we hadn’t been. We went back to the Orient and had another look at the ceiling mural, only to find our missing regional bugs up there, along with some repeats such as Charizard and Scyther. These repeats added to the confusion as if we weren’t meant to have included them, were we meant to include the Beedril and Butterfree? I think so, as we couldn’t find them anywhere else, but if we’re wrong, please let us know!

As for Seedra and Poliwrath, they were hiding behind the other side of the fountain, by the stairs, which had made them difficult to get round to. Cheeky things.

Pokémon Master

art through the ages pokemon

And now that we’d found all of the Pokémon, there was just one thing to do! Go and show our completed Dexes to the official and collect our certificates (and only my third completed Pokédex after Let’s Go Eevee and Sword). So we went up to the officials table, ready for an interrogation and… were just handed our certificates. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little disappointed.

So there we go, the Pokémon: Art Through the Ages event was mostly a success. It was a fun, and free, afternoon out and while I probably wouldn’t have driven up there just for it, I would definitely recommend popping in if you’re in the area. It’s open until the 13th November 2022.

Also, on a side note, it was great to see such a variety of people and ages at the event, from kids kitted out in Pokémon apparel, to groups of teenagers and adults enjoying themselves without gaming-based judgement.

So, just a quick ‘well done’ to everyone. Professor Oak would be proud. If he remembers your names of course.

And that’s all! Have you been to the Pokémon: Art Through the Ages exhibit? What other gaming exhibits would you like to see? Let us know in the comments, and thanks for visiting NintendoLink!

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