By Maria Roldan
Yokohama, Japan, August 11 (EFE).- More than 1,600 players were participating Friday in the city of Yokohama in the Pokemon World Championships, held in Japan for the first time and in which they will try to win titles in different competitive disciplines.
Thousands of people moved from early Friday morning to the Yokohama Pacific convention complex in this city south of Tokyo, located near the Minatomirai station, adorned with the event logo and the image of numerous Pokemon on escalators, lathes, floors and walls for the occasion.
The championships are made up of four disciplines: the TCG card game, video game battles (currently “Pokémon Scarlet/Purple”), team game “Pokémon Unite,” and mobile game “Pokemon Go”, for which more than 1,600 people worldwide have registered for this edition.
Finding a place in this group is not an easy task. Those classified need a sufficient score to win a position, obtained by participating and winning in the different official championships held around the world previously.
Peru’s Carlos Medina, who managed to get a place in the card championship, called the process arduous, especially due to the number of trips he has had to make to get there.
“I have visited at least eight or 10 countries. I have probably traveled more this year than in my entire life,” he told EFE in one of the moments of rest between games. Around him are more than 600 tables waiting to be occupied by the next masters, as the players of this franchise are known.
Attending the championships as a spectator is almost more difficult than doing it as a competitor.
“Basically everything goes by lottery,” said Frenchman Edouard Moinard, holder of one of these exclusive passes raffled internationally.
The organization has not disclosed the number of spectator passes awarded for this year’s event, but “given the size of the event, not enough,” Moinard said.
“The process is basically signing up for the lottery on a website and crossing your fingers very hard,” he said laughing.
The Frenchman, who played the Pokemon card game as a child, took up this hobby again when he moved to Japan four years ago. The Covid-19 pandemic, which paralyzed leisure and official tournaments, led him to take a new break, but he resumed playing last year.
“I wasn’t good enough to qualify this year, but I wanted to see them with my own eyes,” he said.
In different areas of the pavilions set up to compete, giant screens have been installed so spectators can better appreciate the different games and the games are also being broadcast live over the internet.
Despite tournament access being restricted to competitors and spectators, an area of activities related to Pokemon accessible to the general public was been set up for the occasion with special areas for kids accommodating families from early in the morning.
During events such as this, it is also common for exclusive products to be sold, one of the main reasons why many people come to them, either to take home a souvenir or to stock up on merchandising that reaches very high prices in the lucrative second-hand market. EFE