2013 Pokemon world championships

CNC report from Vancouver
Added On August 11, 2013

"Pokemon," the Japanese phenomenon that began as a video game, has since spawned a TV series, several movies, numerous toys and collectibles, comic books, and a trading card game that has become widely popular in many countries around the world.

Over the weekend, most of the best players of Pokemon showed up in the 2013 Pokemon World Championships held in Vancouver, Canada, to see who's the best of the bests in the world this year.

It's also the first time ever the game's held outside of US to celebrate its 10th anniversary.

STANDUP(ENGLISH) AL CAMPBELL, CNC correspondent
"Pokemon and the gang are all here in Canada this weekend as Vancouver is the host city of the 2013 Pokemon World Championships. The three-day competition is the culmination of events held all around the world this year, featuring about 800,000 players. It all comes down to the weekend play when 36 players will decide who are the next world champions in the video game and trading card game categories."

With Friday marking the Last Chance Qualifier to get into Saturday and Sunday's main competition, more than 500 players were attempting to grab one of a handful of spots to make it into the weekend play.

Altogether the competition has attracted players from more than 25 countries and regions who have qualified for the final through being the previous year's national champions.

With more than 220 million Pokemon video game packs being sold since the mid 1990s, in addition to more than 20 billion trading cards, Rob Novickas (KNOW-VICK-US) of Pokemon Company International tells CNC the appeal of Pikachu and all the Pokemon characters is timeless and the players at the championship are the best there are.

SOUNDBITE(ENGLISH) ROB NOVICKAS, Pokemon company
"Well sure, both our Pokemon trading card game competitors and our Pokemon video game competitors they're competing all year, but then they're also training on the side with their friends or other competitors that they've met along the way. So they're putting in a lot of hours, a lot of hard work, to build a perfect deck for the trading card game or a perfect team for the video game to compete here at worlds."

One competitor who has put in a lot of long hours into perfecting this game is Ray Rizzo, the Master Division world champion the past three years.

The 20-year-old New Jersey native is a star player in the world of Pokemon.

And he says it's getting more and more difficult to keep his champion title as thousands of young players coming up around the world each year.

SOUNDBITE(ENGLISH) RAY RIZZO, POKEMON MASTERS DIVISION WORLD CHAMPION "Yeah, I definitely see a lot of kids that are maybe like 15, 16, and they're as good as us who are around like 20, 21. So it's definitely cool to see and I make sure not to go easy on  'em, as you might want to go easy on kids, but you can' t  'cause they' re just too good."

Rizzo gives a brief summary of how this strategic game is played.

SOUNDBITE(ENGLISH) RAY RIZZO, POKEMON MASTERS DIVISION WORLD CHAMPION
"Yeah, you want to try and knock out all the opponents Pokemon, while you don't get knocked out. The first player to knock out the other player's Pokemon ends up winning."

With Pokemon being the world's number two most popular video game franchise behind fellow Nintendo game Super Mario, CNC asked a few of those in attendance what it is that attracts them to Pokemon.

SOUNDBITE(ENGLISH) XOTRI, Pokemon fan  
"Well, I've played it as a child, so it has  a great impact on how I grew up and stuff. The games are really fun, the storylines are great."

SOUNDBITE(ENGLISH) URAHANA, Pokemon fan 
"The first one I got was the yellow version, so I loved that. Every game that came out I was really interested so I got that too. I love the Pokemon, the characters, storyline was awesome, it was just a part of growing up for me."

SOUNDBITE(ENGLISH) SAMUEL, BELGIAN TRADING CARD GAME POKEMON CHAMPION,
"I think it's the way your opponents are. It's a very cool sphere and everyone is really nice to each other, so I guess that is what most people like."

With the next generation of Pokemon set to be released worldwide October 12th, Pokemon X and Y, which will be available in 3D, is expected to generate even more interest in this constantly evolving game that now boasts a cast of characters numbering more than 600.

SOUNDBITE(ENGLISH) ROB NOVICKAS, Pokemon
"Yes, I mean Pokemon is constantly evolving. There's always new Pokemon being added to the game and new game features and I think as we evolve on the different hardware as well is what's exciting. So this will be the first core Pokemon games to be on the Nintendo 3DS and we know that a lot of our fans are excited about seeing Pokemon on the 3DS."

The 10th annual Pokemon World Championships runs through Sunday at the Vancouver Convention Center.