Well, the family and I toddled off to St. Louis, MO for Pokemon Rocks. Let me say this right off the top. Our expectations were high. We were expecting a large event. The venue was St. Louis Union Station in downtown St. Louis. The place is a former train station turned mall. We arrived somewhere around 10:30, parked and started to walk to the event. We say a whole bunch of Pokemon related blowups (like the inflatible gorillas and godzillas at the car dealerships) outside the entrance to the mall. We're thinking that it's just advertising for the event inside - how wrong we were. Union Station's outside area isn't totally exposed to the elements. It's outside, but parts of it (very patchy parts) are covered (this was the area where the trains actually were boarded, etc). The folks in Europe should know what I'm talking about here. The first thought that came to both the wife and I - 1. It's October 2. It's the Mid-West 3. It's outside All 3 are not a good combination. It was overcast and about 50 degrees outside. Throw into the mix that it's raining on and off and you should get the picture. Granted, most of the events are inside small (emphasize small) tents so that the participants and staff can stay somewhat out of the weather. There were a few distinct areas: TCG - Two medium sized tents - 1 for open play (and not much of this going on) and 1 for teaching people how to play being run by Meganium45 and some of the locals from the area. Video Games - The largest tent in the group - Here you can play all kinds of Pokemon Games, for Game Cube (you could preview Pokemon Channel) and Gameboy (they had all these hooked up to Game Cubes with the Gameboy Player). You could also see some preview footage (all Japanese) of Colleseum (which looks slick, IMO). Carnival Games - 3 small tents - In these tents you could try your luck to win Pokemon merchandise (such as Pokemon Batteries - yes folks Pokemon Batteries, the collectible figures that were given out at the Summer Conventions, etc, etc) at 3 different games - Beanbag Tic-Tac-Toe (like Toss-Across for you kids of the 70s and 80s), Plinko, and a Wheel-O-Pokemon. Main Stage - Here they ran contests of all sorts with all kinds of product for prizes. Merchandise Preview Tent - Here you could see new items that would be coming up for sale at retailers across the country (and exclusive Pokemon Center items). Pokemon Center - Buy your Pokemon related stuff here. This was a HUGE letdown for us. We expected much more than the VERY limited selection of products - a few shirts (no adult sizes still), the Wooper Pokemon Mini and Pinball game, a starter set of the 2" figures, Sandstorm and R/S Theme Decks, a Calendar, etc. Only 1 or 2 of the items for sale were actually branded with the Pokemon Center Logo. In total, there were about 15 different items available for sale, some were unavailable because of a shipping snafu (sound familiar Premier TOs?). The Big Screen - Here you were able to see previews and such of the Pokemon TV Series. The big suprise about the "mystery" Pokemon, was in fact Jirachi. There were also the familiar Pokemon characters walking around the site, Treeko, Pikachu, Torchic, Mudkip, and Jirachi. We'll post some pictures up later (need to format webpages and such). Overall, Nintendo can call the event a success. It was targeted at the younger crowd (say 5 thru about 12) and they showed up in droves. There was enough there to keep the short attention spans occupied and possibly enough to generate some interest in the Brand. Personally, I'd call the event not what we were looking for for the TCG crowd. Believe it or not, there was NOT a TCG tournament going on. If there would have been one going on, this would have brought in even more. There needed to be more for the older crowd as well. This event was more or less an "awareness" event (thanks to Sensei for giving us the correct label, as it was eluding us). There were many things that could have been done better and some that were done just right. Hopefully, there will be improvements on the TCG side and something to bring in the older crowd as well in the remaining two stops.