Event Recap: Brisbane Pokémon meet-up
Last Sunday. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.
I woke up to all of this after a restless night of sleep, realising I was already running late. Thankfully, today’s destination was just a short walk from where I live. After a few minutes of repositioning myself in bed and fighting off thoughts of going back to sleep, I managed to exercise some early morning self control and dragged myself up and out of bed.
I got a shower, dressed myself, packed my bag, flicked on my 3DS wireless, and threw a slice of left over pizza from the night before in the oven on grill. At the same moment I was locking my front door I was also finishing off that slice of pizza. Fresh and crispy, as good it had been the night before.
Outside was as I expected. Bright, sunny, and most of all, warm. My body quickly adapted to the temperature shortly after setting off on my journey. After a brisk walk, I had arrived at my destination – the Brisbane Convention Centre. A lot of events were held regularly at this venue, but rarely were they of any relevance to me. On this particular day though, there was an event of interest – an event where I would feel right at home.
For those still at a loss, I’m referring to the 2013 Brisbane Pokémon competition. An event which would see winners qualify for the Australian National Championships, and, if they met with success there, a place at the World Championships held in Vancouver, Canada.
Upon arrival, I was greeted by Pokémon trainers and Nintendo fans alike. Of course, an event such as this would not be possible without the one and only, Jamie Wilson – the face of Nintendo Australia.
As usual, he was his bright, cheery and dashing self. On closer observation it was easy to tell he didn’t have much gas left in the tank. After all, he had flown direct from Melbourne, and had already spent half the weekend hosting a separate Pokémon tournament.
He didn’t allow his fatigue to get the better of him though, instead welcoming the Brisbane crowd with much enthusiasm. The venue itself was an entire room dedicated solely to us – the Pokémon trainers and Nintendo fans. It was a special feeling, because unlike previous experiences, we were more unified than ever. No EB Games or shopping centre stages. Nintendo had booked this location out exclusively for us.
After a brief talk about the significance of Australia finally being a part of international Pokémon qualification, Jamie admitted it was his dream to take a “Mighty Ducks”-like team to the World Championships.
Similar to the previous competitions he revealed Brisbane would have no middle division – instead the focus would be sorely on Junior and Senior divisions. When the rules and regulations of the competition had been explained, Jamie kicked off the spectacular with the Pokémon theme song and the first battle of the day. The crowd roared with excitement while Jamie commentated. There was cheering, yelling and a sense of enthusiasm towards the trainers locked in battle.
The first battle was a fair example of the action to come. By no means were the trainers a pushover. They had done their homework devising strategic battle plans and Pokémon parties. No trainer was going to go down without a fight.
As the day went on, so did the battles. Hour after hour trainers faced off against each other. Some won, and others lost. Some even had to restart after a few power cuts to the main television unit.
Spectators and trainers waiting on their next battle passed time playing 3DS, while others lapped up the social atmosphere of the event, catching up with old friends and making new ones. Throughout the day there were trivia rounds, with Jamie occasionally handing out free Pokémon and Nintendo merchandise.
Amongst the action was young and talented illustrator & artist, Michelle Whitehead. Her hottest offer was portraits of people with their favourite Pokémon. She was also offering various other prints and artworks. Despite the huge demand for Pokémon drawings, Michelle was able to fulfil every single request. She did drawings of people with Charizard, people playing chess against themselves in the form of Ditto, and really anything that anyone could come up with just as she promised.
A sample of Michelle’s lovely work.
Adding to the excitement was the attendance of the Brisbane StreetPass crew. I eventually spotted founder Anne Lee in the latter half of the day, bailing her up to have a chat about the event so far. Turned out the crew was representing themselves quite well in the competition.
As time passed and more and more trainers exited the competition, the numbers diminished down to a select few. The level of competition had now risen. A simple error or minor inaccuracy in battle had the ability to completely turn a match on its head. Somehow though, it remained tight. As we came to the business end, there was no room for error. The junior battle was a true reflection of fierce competition. Regardless of age, there were still two trainers who could probably take on the best of the best. In the end, victory was claimed by Matthew, aged 13, and runner up Michael, aged 12.
The final senior battle of the day came down to Brendan, 28, and Philip, 25 after a previous trainer was disqualified for having an illegal move on his Pokémon. Brendan’s party was made up of a Whimsicott, Latias, Exeggutor and Moltres, and Phillip’s included a Togekiss, Starmie, Abomasnow and Steelix. It was an intense battle start to finish. Both Whimsicott and Latias fainted early on, and eventually it came down to a faceoff between Starmie and Moltres. The water over fire type advantage was enough for Phillip to be crowned as the winner, receiving a copy of Pokémon Typing Adventure, a limited edition Black & White shirt, and both trainers receiving invitations to the National Championships.
When the day had come to an end, I said my goodbyes to everyone including Jamie, knowing I had made new friends, caught up with old ones, and was just a little bit wiser than I had been when I woke up that morning. I then turned my cap back to its regular position, reattached my Poké Balls to my belt, and set off into the sunset knowing the next meet up wasn’t that far off with X & Y just around the corner.
In all seriousness, thanks to Jamie Wilson, Nintendo Australia, and the Pokémon and Nintendo fans of Brisbane who made this event such a special occasion. Thanks also to Anne Lee for providing the photos. You can check out her blog here.
Until next time,
Liam “kksl1der” Doolan