Carnation Youth Earns Top Spot at Regional Pokémon Video Game Tournament
Local youth swept the regional Pokémon Video Game Regional Championship, which was held at the Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle on Saturday, May 14. In the junior division, 11-year-old Henry Maxon from Carnation was the top finisher.
Although it was his third year competing, this is the first time Maxon has won. Hundreds of kids were in attendance that day, and he had to edge out eight others to make it to the final spot. The last game was projected on a screen so that people could watch, and Maxon knew he’d reached the next coveted level – the national championship – when his opponent’s last Pokémon fell.
“I got nervous, but I tried to enjoy it,” said Maxon. “It was a good feeling to get that far. I'd like to thank my parents for waking me up at 6 a.m.”
Along with Maxon, the day’s top youth finishers were 10-year-old Kevin Trac from Renton, junior division runner-up; 14-year-old Casiano Atienza from Oak Harbor, senior division champion; and 12-year-old Hayden McTavish from Kenmore, senior division runner-up. They will compete in the U.S. National Pokémon Video Game Championship in Indianapolis, July 8 through 10.
Not only do the top finishers receive free airfare for themselves and a family member, they also get a medal and a new Nintendo 3DS system. And, better yet, if they do well at nationals they get to compete with the best players in the United States and Europe in the World Championship tournament, which is slated for Aug. 12 through 14 in San Diego.
Skill and strategy are key in playing the Pokémon video games, a franchise owned by Nintendo (also a TV anime series and trading card game). Pokémon involves fictional creatures, or “pocket monsters,” from another universe that have various super powers and abilities. A person who uses Pokémon to battle is referred to as a Pokémon “trainer,” as the creatures can grow in levels and evolve to become stronger.
“I like training a bunch of new Pokémon and gathering teams and learning all the elements,” Maxon said.
The video game championship events are designed to test Pokémon trainers around the world. They are free and open to the public, so anyone can play as long as there’s room (participation is capped at 512 for the junior and senior divisions and 1024 for the master division). The different age groupings help create a level playing field for competitors.
This year, players are battling with the new Pokémon Black and White Version role-playing games for the Nintendo DS, released in North America in March. Maxon picked up a copy of the game in Japanese, which was released earlier, to allow him more time to practice.
To learn more, and for additional tournament results, visit www.pokemonvgc.com.