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‘Pokémon’ match: Gotta catch ’em all!

Pathfinder Infinite

The Phoenix Convention Center is about to get overrun by strange little creatures you won’t find in any Pokédex.

pokemon_episode_1_screenshotSaturday, May 23, will see video gamers from across the country — including the Valley — gathering to vie for a slot in the Pokémon Video Game National Championships June 27-28 in St. Louis, with the goal of earning a trip and invitation to compete in the world championships Aug. 14-15 in San Diego. Two world champions will win a trip for four to either Tokyo, New York, or Hawaii.

The format for the Pokémon VGC will include six different U.S. stops in addition to tournaments being organized in Europe and across Japan. Pokémon fans will play in the U.S. Regional Qualifier Tournaments and Pokémon Video Game National Championships and if successful will meet their international rivals from Japan and Europe at the Pokémon VGC World Championships, which take place in San Diego on August 14 and 15.

In Phoenix, the senior division (born in 1996 or earlier) starts  at 9 a.m. and the junior division (born in 1997 or later) starts at noon. Details about the tournament and each of the event locations can be found at The 2009 Pokémon VGC schedule also includes weekend stops in Seattle, San Francisco, Dallas, Philadelphia and Nashville. At each regional, up to 128 players for each age division — junior and senior — are selected at random from those in attendance, but all registrants walk away with a character distribution of a powerful and rare level 50 Shiny Milotic.

Players will be joined by costumed characters Pikachu, Chimchar, Turtwig and Piplup as parents, friends, classmates and supporters cheer on competitors. The event will feature an entire day of head-to-head video game fun as regional players compete in the largest video game tournament season in Pokémon history.

pokeplatCompetitors are required to play with Pokémon Platinum Version, which became available on March 22 at retailers nationwide. They need to bring their own copy of the North American Pokémon Platinum Version to participate and will compete using the “2-on-2 Double Cup” format, with no Pokémon allowed to exceed level 50. European players use Pokémon Diamond Version or Pokémon Pearl Version at their qualifier tournaments.

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