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Gear up for the Pokémon National Championships June 25-27

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Two Senior Division competitors throw down in the Phoenix video game competition.
  • Two Senior Division competitors throw down in the Phoenix video game competition.
I remember those days in the third grade, when recess would let out and hordes of kids would run outside and skip the jungle gym. They'd skip the swings and the slides, too. Kickball wasn't even a thought. No, it was time to sit down to trade, battle and covet Pokémon trading cards.

It was serious business. Of course, there was the one intelligent kid that figured out how to turn a profit (I bet it was a racket) with the cards and then the principal of my elementary school banned them all, from the holographic Charizard (which, to this day, I have never seen in hand) to the boring energy cards.

And it still is serious business. Twelve years later, the card game still has new releases, there has been at least 30 video games across at least five platforms produced, multiple films have complimented the show, and the franchise has become a permanent fixture of nostalgia for 90's children.

That's why 6,000 Americans competed to earn one of 192 spots at the Pokémon Video Game National Championships here in Indianapolis this weekend (June 25-27). That's why there's a last chance qualifier to get into the competition Friday at the Indiana Convention Center (all events take place there). Registration for the Senior Division (that's anyone born in 1997 and earlier, geezers) starts at 8:00 a.m., and the Junior Division registers at 1:00 p.m.

As far as the actual trading card game goes, its National Championships are open to any U.S. resident. The event drew 1,200 competitors last year, according to a press release. Registration begins on Thursday, June 24 from 4:00 p.m. until 8 p.m., and continues Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 9:00 a.m.

If you plan on playing in the video game championships bring your copy of Pokémon HeartGold or Soulsilver and your Nintendo DS or DSi.

But what are the stakes? Winners and those who place earn themselves a spot at the World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, along with scholarships (for the card players) and a rare in-game Pokémon (for the video gamers). For more information head to http://www.pokemonvgc.com. Probably a smart idea, there are tournament regulations and paperwork to fill out for gamers.

Now's the chance if you "want to be the very best."

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