To celebrate Pokémon's 10th anniversary, Nintendo and the Pokémon Company held the Pokémon Party of the Decade in Bryant Park, located in New York City. Over 25,000 people attended the event, far more than Nintendo had expected. The Pikachu balloon from Macy's may have had a lot to do with such high numbers, since it was visible from quite a distance. This was the first time that Macy's had allowed one of their balloons to be flown outside of the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Parade.
The main attraction of the party was the finale of the Pokémon National Championships. Nintendo flew 64 of the greatest Pokémon trainers, and their families, to New York City to participate. These trainers were selected from many regional tournaments contestants in the Pokémon Tour Across America. They were divided into two age groups: 8-12 and 13 and up. After each contestant was introduced at opening ceremonies, they went to the large tent on the other side of the park to begin their battles.
The Pokémon battles were played from Game Boy Advance SP machines connected to a GameCube playing Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness. This way, neither player could see which four of the six Pokémon the other player chose, or the moves selected until they appeared on the main screen. Each battle was limited to 8 minutes. Players had 30 seconds to select their moves for each round. The winner was decided when all of one player's Pokémon has fainted or time expired and the game selected the winner.
While the trainers were hard at work, there were many other attractions around the park to enjoy. The largest attraction was the tent where people could receive two legendary Pokémon on their own carts. From a poll on pokemon.com, 19 Pokémon were selected for the event, as well as a "Flying Pikachu", only available at this event. This Pikachu came with the move Fly, as well as the trainer ID number of 060808, commemorating the day of the party. The line to receive these Pokémon wrapped almost completely around the inner circle of the park.
Another tent was setup for people to come and play the two upcoming Pokémon games: Pokémon Mystery Dungeon and Pokémon Ranger. The line for this tent was decently long, but nothing compared to the line to receive the legendary Pokémon.
By early afternoon, the trainers had been narrowed down to four in each age group. These skilled players were brought on stage for the semifinals. With Hulk Hogan on stage, they battled on the big screen for everyone to see. After these battles were complete, the finals took place. In one of the battles, both players had selected the exact same four Pokémon. That was one of the most interesting battles in the entire tournament.
After it was all over, the winners were presented with their trophies, as well as some other surprises. All four finalists received a jeweled DS lite with the Pokémon symbol, and will be flown to Tokyo, Japan to compete.
After the finals were over, the party continued until late afternoon. While it was fairly warm in New York City, it was fortunately not like the extreme temperatures only a week before. The event was a great success, and a lot of fun. What will Nintendo and the Pokémon Company come up with for the 20th anniversary party to top this? We'll just have to wait and see.