Pokémon video game players and card gamers once again gathered from around the world in the seaside confines of San Diego, just weeks after Comic-Con, for world championship duels that decided this year’s Pokémon game players.
The winners competed for trips, custom Pokémon prizes and scholarships totaling over $100,000. They were divided into junior, senior and masters divisions, and separated into video game and card game categories. The junior division winners were Brian Hough for video games and Gustavo Wada in the card gaming section. Wada was the first winner ever from Brazil.
The senior division winners were Kamran Jahadi (video games) and Christopher Kan (card games). In the masters division, repeat winners Ray Rizzo from last year (video games) and David Cohen from 2009 (card games) claimed the top spots.
Pokémon is especially popular in Japan, and this year’s battles took on deeper meaning as some contestants had been affected by the tragic events of the earthquake and tsunami that hit the island earlier this year — and the subsequent hardships they created. There is a whole division in the company’s Japanese arm that is participating in outreach programs in different communities, and messages bringing words of encouragement from around the world are being translated to be broadcast in Japan.
“The company has been very supportive,” said J.C. Smith, director of marketing for Pokémon USA Inc. “They’re out there giving them things to replace what may have been lost and to try to help get their minds off of the seriousness of what’s happening.”
The franchise is still strong, as evidenced by the million-unit first-day sales of the Pokémon White and Pokémon Black games earlier this year, and the world championships drew over 400 contestants from 27 different countries, including first-timers Italy and South Korea. Next year’s contest will be held Aug. 10-12, 2012, in Kona, Hawaii.
– Jevon Phillips
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