Yokohama (Japan), 11 August (EFE).
Thousands of people have moved since early Saturday morning to the Yokohama Pacific Conference Complex in this city south of Tokyo, located near Minatomirai Station, which has been adorned with the event’s logo and an image of numerous Pokémon on escalators, lathes, floors, and walls for the occasion.
The Pokémon World Championship consists of four disciplines: the TCG card game, video game battles (currently “Pokémon Scarlet/Purple”), the team game “Pokémon UNITE”, and the mobile game “Pokémon GO”, for which more have signed up for this 2023 edition. 1600 people from all over the world.
Finding a place in this group is not an easy task. Those who are classified need to accumulate enough points to take the position, which is achieved through participation and victories in various official championships previously held around the world.
Peruvian Carlos Medina, who managed to secure a place in the card championship, describes the process as “difficult”, especially due to the amount of travel he had to make to get there.
“I have visited at least eight or ten countries. I have probably traveled more this year than I have in my entire life,” he told EFE during a break between games. There are over 600 tables around, waiting to be filled by the next coaches, as the franchise’s players are known, of all ages.
Along with him are his compatriots Fabrizio Valdivia, Ángel Arañeva and Rodrigo Montoya, also classified, and content creator Rafiki from El Baul de Rafiqui, who did not score enough points to participate in the world championships, but went to the archipelago with one cherished spectator pass .
“From the first moment until now, everything has been impressive. The ads, the merchandising they sell, the way they sell it, the personalized trains… The Pokémon live here to the fullest, the people are the fans,” says Rafiki, who documents the entire video experience for later content development for his networks.
He hopes to be able to qualify for the next World Cup “to be able to live the game experience,” he adds enthusiastically.
Attending the Pokémon World Championship as a spectator is almost more difficult than as a participant. “Basically everything is a lottery,” says Frenchman Édouard Moinard, owner of one of these exclusive internationally raffled passes.
The organization did not disclose the number of spectator passes issued for this year’s event, but “given the scale of the event, it’s not enough,” says Moinard.
“The process basically consists of signing up for the lottery on the website and crossing your fingers very hard,” he laughs.
The Frenchman, who played the Pokémon card game as a child, took up the hobby again when he moved to Japan four years ago. The covid-19 pandemic, which paralyzed rest and official tournaments, forced him to take a new break, but a year ago he resumed the game.
“I wasn’t good enough to qualify this year, but I wanted to see them with my own eyes,” he explains.
Giant screens have been installed in different areas of the pavilions dedicated to the competitions so that the spectators can better appreciate the various games, and the games are also broadcast live via the Internet.
Although access to the tournaments is limited to participants and spectators, on the occasion of the World Championships, a Pokemon-related activity area accessible to the general public was opened, with special areas for the little ones, to which numerous people with families came from early in the morning.
Events like this also often sell exclusive merchandise, which is one of the main reasons many people come to either take home a souvenir or stock up on merchandising that reaches very high prices in the lucrative second quarter. hand market. .