Pokemon Players Face Off in Indy for National Championship
Top eight finishers in weekend tourney advance to world championship
(WIBC.com photo: Eric Berman)
About 1,500 people are squaring off in Indianapolis this weekend in the U.S. Pokemon Championships.
The three-day tournament crowns its champions on Sunday. The eight quarterfinalists in each of three age divisions in the collectible card game featuring cuddly cartoon creatures advance to the world championships in Hawaii in August, where top players from about 30 countries will be waiting. 12 more competitors in the Pokemon video game will advance to the world championships as well.
The four semifinalists in each age division will divide $11,000 in scholarships.
Pokemon TV shows and movies, and the anime-style appearance of characters such as the mouse-like Pikachu, target a children's audience. But two-thirds of the players in the tournament are competing in the 16-and-up Master Division, with players as old as 57 taking part.
48-year-old Bob Edwards of Valparaiso started playing 10 years ago when his kids did, and stayed with it even after they lost interest. He points out the game incorporates plenty of adult strategy as competitors try to put opposing Pokemon out of commission, and react to changing circumstances.