While most people are familiar with the idea of Pokémon as a video game (the original title was released for the Nintendo Game Boy in 1996), it has spawned uncountable spin-offs, including a Trading Card Game which now rivals the video game sequels when it comes to the number of obsessive fans. In fact, the 150+ video gamers in attendance at this years Championships were dwarfed by the more than 750 trading card game players who battled it out for the big titles.
The weekend is the culmination of a year’s worth of local and regional contests, with many gamers paying their own way to attend.
This year, five champions were crowned:
Senior Division Pokémon VGC World Champion Ray Rizzo (US)
Junior Division Pokémon VGC World Champion Shota Yamamoto (Japan)
Masters Division Pokémon TCG World Champion Yuta Komatsuda (Japan)
Senior Division Pokémon TCG World Champion Jacob Lesage (Canada)
Junior Division Pokémon TCG World Champion Yuka Furusawa (Japan)
(Unfortunately it seems neither Ray nor his opponent Yasuki Tochigi
used my beloved Bulbasaur. Oh well.)
Of course, Japan was pretty widely accepted as being the favourite – after all, that’s where Pokémon originated! – but it’s great to see some Western countries standing up for themselves (and I feel obliged to point out that young Yuka Furusawa is a girl!).
Each of the winners earned a tidy little prize package for their efforts, including travel expenses so they can defend their crowns at the 2011 championships next year – already planned for San Diego, California. If you want in on the action, you’d better get training – remember, gotta catch ’em all!