The world champion Pokemon players Chase Moloney was up before the sun to catch the 7 a.m. ferry to the mainland, to ensure he could play in the second Pokemon tournament of the season being held in Langley today.
Not breaking from counting and sorting of his cards, he talked a bit about his fascination with Pokemon and how it took hold about three years ago.
Pokemon started as a Nintendo Game Boy video game in 1996 and has evolved and grown since then, now including other media and merchandise, including toys, books, and trading cards. The collectible cards then became pawns in a game where players take on the role of a Pokemon trainer and use their creatures to battle and knock out others from the game.
Chase reluctantly played a few casual games with some friends and before he knew it, he was hooked. Within a few weeks joined a league in his hometown of Victoria, where the game is very popular.
So much so, that Chase was part of a large contingent of Pokemon players who travelled over from Vancouver Island to participate in Sunday’s Battle Road’s championship tourney.
Chase was among about 70 Pokemon gamers who attended the six-hour tournament in the back room of the Wiser’s Wide World of Collectibles in Walnut Grove this weekend.
The 15-year-old Grade 10 Victoria student said he can’t get enough of the game, hoping participation in the Langley event would improve his strategic game heading into this year’s season.
Ultimately, he’s hoping to secure him another slot at the worlds – which are being held in Vancouver next April – where he can defend his title. But this time out, given his age, he’s now moved into the master’s division, meaning he’s going up against the big boys – and girls.
As for Chase, who just earned the senior title and a $10,000 scholarship during the international competition in Kona, Hawaii last month, he said the biggest cost to playing at these free tournaments is the travel. But he is also putting out about $250 every three months to buy the newest sets of Pokemon cards as they come out on the market.
While there is no card league based in of the Langley store yet, Surrey’s Sandy More, the tourney organizer for Pokemon, hopes to hold a few other tournaments in this community over the coming months.
She noted that participation in the game is growing throughout the region.
It’s up about 25 per cent compared to last year, and the numbers are similarly growing in Langley too, although only a handful were at the Wiser’s tourney.