Who didn’t want to be a Pokemon master when they were younger? 16 years after the release of Pokemon in America, I still hold on to that dream. With the release of Pokemon X and Y for the Nintendo 3DS back in October 2013, that dream suddenly became reachable. Over these last couple months, Pokemon has regained it’s popularity quickly and the community exploded in numbers. With more players means an increase in the competitive aspect, and Fanime was the stage that I was heading towards. I wouldn’t be going alone though. Members of Bill’s PC, a Pokemon team that I run, were also coming along with me.
This year at Fanime was my first tournaments outside of my local video game store in Santa Cruz. The first day was a singles 6 vs 6 format, and we went by rules from Smogon; a Pokemon website that decides on the rulings and restrictions based off of the community. The following two days format was VGC (Video Game Championship) style which had rules provided by the official Pokemon tournament website. Those that participated in the tournament all received a different shiny Pokemon each day.
For those that are unfamiliar with what shiny Pokemon are, they are very rare Pokemon that have a different color palette than their original counterparts (shiny Charizards are black for example). The chances of hatching or running into one in the game is 1 in 4096. If you were to catch every single Pokemon, and I do mean all 719 Pokemon, you will receive an in-game item called a Shiny Charm which increases your chances by 300%. The participant numbers were so high for the tournament that we had to separate all the players into 4 different pods. The winner of each pod would then face each other in a semi-final match, and then the winners of those would have a final fight against each other. I along with a few other teammates only made it up to the quarter-finals each day unfortunately, and many of us from Bill’s PC got stuck facing each other right away in the same pod on day 2 and 3. The competitions were pretty fierce, and we all learned a lot from our losses
Even though I didn’t achieve my goal of becoming a Pokemon master, I had an incredible time meeting all the other Pokemon enthusiasts. We’ve managed to adopt some participants into our Bill PC’s group also, which means more target practice for me. I kid of course. I highly suggest gamers to participate in tournaments at conventions, or even local tournaments. Whether it be Pokemon or other games, I assure you that the experience is well worth it, and you’ll make some new friends (and rivals) along the way.