Monday, June 06, 2011

Pokemon Video Game United Kingdom National Championships

Ever since the introduction of Pokémon, and me getting to play with Pokémon Blue inside a PC (can’t save at that time, so each time I had to replay it from the beginning), I wanted to own and play a real Pokémon game on a video game handheld console itself, at least before I lost interest in it.

I thought I did at one time, even when I got good grades at SPM or STPM, I didn’t asked for it. Maybe I was a bit disappointed at the number of Pokémon you have to get to catch em’ all. The fourth Generation being introduced and having to have both Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advanced to get all Pokémon.

Then came Pokémon Black and White, still on Nintendo DS, and also the 4th Generation can be self-sustaining, independent of the third generation. And me being able to come to the United Kingdom, finding cheap offers on the game, and finally this pushes me to the decision:

Pokémon video game National Championship right in the United Kingdom itself, at the time went I am in the UK, on a Saturday! Right when I know I can easily go there! Nice opportunity like this can’t be missed out. So on the first weekend in the UK, I brought Pokémon Black and Nintendo DSi to start training.


And in two weeks I had finished the game for the first time (you should at least finish the game twice to go through everything that is offline about the game), and just starting to seriously train up my skills in double battles for one more week.

A lot of the features of the game requires you to go on Wi-Fi connection. Or having at least another player with Pokémon Black or White. Then one can enter the Union Room (or use infra-red) to battle with each other, trade, or just having fun interacting with another player on your console!

With only three weeks of training, and still cannot win against all the trainers inside the game with perfect scores, I knew there was virtually no chance at all for me to win the Championships. But still look at the first two Prizes:

  • 1st Place:

    • A National Championships 1st Place Medal
    • A Nintendo 3DS system
    • An invitation to compete at the Pokémon Video Game World
    • Championships in San Diego, California, U.S.A., on August 13th & 14th, 2011
    • Airfare and 6-day/5-night hotel accommodations for the winner (including parent or legal guardian for players under 18) to attend the Pokémon Video Game World Championships

  • 2nd Place:

    • A National Championships 2nd Place Medal
    • A Nintendo 3DS system
    • An invitation to compete at the Pokémon Video Game World
    • Championships in San Diego, California, U.S.A., on August 13th & 14th, 2011
    • Airfare and 6-day/5-night hotel accommodations for the winner (including parent or legal guardian for players under 18) to attend the Pokémon Video Game World Championships

At least there is some 1/256 chance of getting there (assuming random probabilities and 0.5 for each player to win).

Well, it is also a fact that half of the 512 (maximum) players will be knocked out on the first round, and I happened to be in the lower half.

And so, on the Friday, I went on a 11:30pm bus to Birmingham International Airport. Tried to sleep on the way there, in fact, I didn’t play the game on the way but really try to relax myself… Anyway, didn’t work. IMG_0826

So right on arrival on 2 a.m., I was getting a bit stretched out on the no. of hours I have woken. I trained up my top six Pokémon until 5.00 a.m. , bought breakfast and lunch to eat while in the queue, and off I went once the mini-train from Birmingham International Airport to the Birmingham International Interchange starts. The sky has brightened by then too.


I spend some time exploring the train station before going on to NEC. I was looking for a way out to the National Exhibition Centre Hall 8 where the Pokémon Championship is being held, it was opposite the NEC. But since it was 6a.m. then and the time for registration was


I went on to the NEC, right on a the first minute starting to walk this long corridor there, I realised, NEC=National Exhibition Centre. Haha, and I printed a map on how to walk from the Airport to the NEC! It was all inside and well connected, I don’t even have to go on a road! So on to a few walkways I saw this


And then this when I finally arrived!


Some even slept overnight there! Wow! The line was not that long when I arrived, but in a few minutes that I was there, it got twice as long! And of course I started playing with them! Trading, battling etc… It was heartening to see parents bringing their kids (from dunno where their home is) at so early in the morning and line up with them, buying breakfast for them etc…some family even has a lot of children as brothers!

We waited (and play while waiting) for about one hour and a half before the door opens and those aged 15 and below have their hand being marked by a colour sticker. Once inside, I knew immediately that even if I didn’t win anything, it has been a worthwhile trip from London. A very very worthwhile trip. Immediately the photo-taking and playing at various places takes place! Enjoy!


First thing that greeted me! Wow! Air balloon inflated btw.


The juniors and seniors are lining up to register! And some pretty staffs too there was!


This is where the real battle commends! With a four pin plug in the middle. 


The most famous Pokémon of all time!


The final battle of the day, the finals of the master division is to be held here!


While the younger kids compete, the older people are enjoying various other stuffs, including a knock-out friendly battle. The loser gets out for the next in line and the winner won three times in a row gives up his place for other players. Oh yes, don’t be surprised by the cool way they put the battle on the big screen! 


The three starting Pokémon in Unova region in Pokémon Black and White! I chose Snivy, the grass Pokémon in the middle!


The hall is very big! And for the right, I tried to battle a special download for the battle institute over at the event!


Here’s the place for trading card promotion/introduction to the kids and people who never played it before.

And now, to review just how long the line was:


Despite their saying the line will be closed once the cap for player is reached, I think they did not reject anyone. The registration is still on-going even after the first few battles started! It really is a very nice place to be!


Here’s the battle scene, where parents see as their children play in this great battle! For those who had won, they proceed on to the right, so there are marked sections showing which area are for the first battle, which are the second etc…


As the battle goes on, the parents and other players are relaxing in the hall.


And finally I was satisfied with the pre-competition playing, I lined up with the rest of the people in the Masters division. Well, there are a lot of cool people there too! See this:


From earrings to hoodies (Pikachu hoodie), this gal is full of Pokémon! She even treated us to a packet of rice (for small luncheon)!


A Snivy hoodie, and is that Misty? I traded friend code and done feeling check with her, and only now I realised there is some resemblance of her with Misty!


Team Rocket, Pikachu (seriously, she has red dots makeup on her face!), (unknown green guy), and bug catcher!


Ash’s cap!

I was doing the survey (a feature inside the Pokémon Black and White game that automatically collects survey results from the players around with who enables their C gear, or Wi-fi enabled and has done their internal survey) along the way all the time I was there. Here are some interesting results: (I’ll select them as I see which is most interesting, as there is a lot of them)

Which version do you play? Total number: 198 people. 

Black White
99 (50%) 99 (50%)


What’s your starter Pokémon? 297 total

Tepig Snivy Oshawott
99 99 99

Even more amazing!

How long have you been playing (hours)? 231 total

100+ 99 (43%)
90-100 5
80-90 22
70-80 18 (I’m here)
60-70 21
50-60 18
40-50 16
30-40 6
20-30 9
10-20 6
0-10 11

So there are some not so serious players in the competition too (those less than 50 hours or so…, ok maybe those less than 100 hours, including me…)

Are you male or female? 127 total

Male Female
99 28

Wow, overly male dominated!

What kind of job do you have? 157 total

Student 99
Artist 15
Office Worker 12
Creator 12
Job-Hopper 8
Self-Employed 4
Public Official 4
Homemaker 3

So adults do play Pokémon too!

What kind of people do you like best? Total: 222 people.

Type of People No. of people who likes them
Fun 99
Kind 99 (my answer)
Cool 24
Rich 0 (this is funny!)

What kind of movies do you like? Total: 210 people.

Comedy 99
Action 50
Sci-fi 28 (me here!)
Horror 22
Suspense 11
Romance 0 (Another amazing fact!)

Ok that’s all for surveys. Now I do think that the purpose of the survey is for people like me to put it in blogs! Haha.

Hmmmm… an observational fact is that whenever a category goes up to 99 people it stops there, so maybe the survey is flawed due to it not being able to record more than 99 people for any category!

Now for more pictures. After my defeat, I take the time to hang around and take pictures of these:


As Carmen commented: I love how they put details into these things!

Then there are three more surprises!


Snivy, Oshawott, and Tepig! All cheering for those who are still in the competition!


Then I had some trades and battles and wrote this:

At the time of writing, the semi-finals of the Masters Division of Pokémon Video Games United Kingdom National Championship is on-going.

At Birmingham, UK, the spirit and passion for Pokémon brings together many kind-hearted and nice young boys and girls from all over United Kingdom and perhaps even the world!(me for example)

What strikes me most is that the staffs here does their best to care for everyone, despite having kids as young as 6 years old in the competition, you cannot hear any sound of crying. What you have instead is trainers as old as 22 years talking to and interacting with trainers as young as 8 equally and having fun battling and trading Pokémon even through they didn’t know each other the minute before.

The spirit of fair play and accepting defeat is clear amongst all the participants too. A handshake is exchanged before and after a battle (which is a knock-out game, loser gets out). And even in the final moments of the competition, many trainers who are not in the top 4 stayed back to keep on watching the battles screened and learning the techniques that will help them become better trainers for next year!

Being here, just attending an official Pokémon event makes the 2.5 hour journey from London worth every pound. The atmosphere is so friendly and pleasant that one doesn’t mind losing in the championships. It is as they say in the Pokémon world, as long as the trainers care for the Pokémon, we all live in harmony and joy together.

As such, the idea of Pokémon has produced great success in not only to provide a lot of (almost) endless entertainment, and the challenge to catch em’ all, but it also promote a sense of sportsmanship, of universal friendship, and of kindness towards all, humans and Pokémon (I would interpret this as animals and plants in our real world) alike.

And now the finals is starting, I’m not going to miss out on this one!IMG_0934

So are all these people!

A few moments before the finals!

And the result is:


Congrats! But as far as we are concerned, they are both winners as the prize for both are virtually the same.


Before I left, I just wanted to take a thanking photo of those who had worked so hard in making this event a great success for everyone!


See ya next year! And it was time to go back, passing through nice things like this,


I managed to get back to London before the sky turns dark!


Nice sunset at sweet old London!