My Pokémon Video Game Championships 2012 Experience!
by, 3rd March 2012 at 07:06 PM (530 Views)
So today was the Video Game Championships Qualifiers event in the United Kingdom, at the usual site of the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham. This year, the Masters division had their sign ups at 8am (meaning we went before the Junior and Senior divisions). The plan was for me to meet up with a friend at 10:30am, who would drive me down from Ely (near where I live). Something very interest happened though:
On the way to the meeting place, Mum made a detour into Newmarket (some may know Newmarket as being the horse racing centre of the UK). At the top of the high street there is a small clock tower, which has a petrol station right near it. The car ran out of petrol right near the clock tower. Super conveniently though, my step-dad's friend was right behind us with his tow truck, to tow us to the petrol station.
I met up with my friend shortly after 10:30, due to that little detour and we set off. We arrived in the early afternoon and went to check in at the Etap hotel, which we had been recommended due to the price (I paid £29 for a triple room). Unfortunately, the hotel wanted another £22 for overnight parking - so understandably, we were like "Screw that!" and drove to the hotel we stayed at last year, who let us park there for £7 (only reason we didn't stay with them this time, was the price).
The room was tiny. The pictures on the website made it look bigger. However, considering my bedroom is quite small, it was a relief for me. Luckily, me and my friend were in the rooms next to each other. Unfortunately, we were practically opposite to last year's winner (and World's Top 4)...I'll explain why in a bit. Anyway, I went to the lobby and chilled out with some people from another Pokémon forum I know, until my older brother arrived (he came up from London with his girlfriend), Then I went to show him the room. However, upon entering the first floor hall way, we encountered something quite unpleasant: A horribly strong stench of faeces.
Yes, faeces - as in human poo. You did not read wrong. Poo, wrapped in toilet roll, was laying across the hall way, while there was childish laughter coming from a nearby room. My older brother didn't hesitate in reporting it to the hotel staff - I just went into our hotel room. Later on, me and my friends went to the nearby Airport for dinner and it was there when we found out the identity of the culprit, as everyone on Facebook was in an uproar - said last year's winner had been escorted out of the hotel by police (my older brother confirmed with the hotel staff) and was apparently given a £100 fine. For the remainder of our stay, a white mark was over where the aforementioned poop was - as the staff had blasted the area with air fresheners.
After a bit of last minute practising, we retired for the night at around 11:30pm...well, we tried to, but the hallway was full of noise and I couldn't get to sleep until around 1-2am due to the noise and the uncomfortable bed (was I sleeping on a giant brick? Maybe). At around 4am, I woke up to pitch darkness - my older brother's girlfriend had set the alarm to 5:30am (I forgot my phone charger, so I only kept it on when I needed to). However, I had trouble sleeping, due to thoughts going on in my head and the uncomfortable mattress. I was on the top bunk, which was rather difficult to get up and down (Due to the bar jabbing my side and the ladder being child size), so I decided not to risk going down and turning the light on - so I just sat up and did nothing in pitch black for an hour, waiting for the alarm to go off. Once it did, me and my brother quickly changed clothes, threw on deodorant, grabbed our stuff and left - my brother's girlfriend opting to sleep in and check out later.
Once we had left our things in my friend's car, we went to the VGC. It was in Hall 11 at the Video Game Championships (was in Hall 8 last year). I was about 30-40somethingth in the queue. One thing I noticed immediately was that StreetPass was crazy - I was getting around 5-10 new hits every minute - I had most of my 3DS games in my bag just so that i could reset the StreetPass count with them and get even more. Due to Masters going first, the waiting time was a lot less.
Once we were let into the hall, one thing stood out instantly - there was a shop - something past events had been criticised for lacking. Due to not expecting one, I didn't put any money aside, but I found a £10 note in my wallet that I didn't know was there! However, being in the queue, I couldn't go there anyway. Once I was signed up though, I was ready to begin battling.
My first opponent used a Zapdos and Torterra lead, while I led with Thundurus and Hitmontop (if I remember correctly). His back row was Charizard and Dragonite, while mine was Kingdra and Ludicolo. I ended up winning 1-0, knocking out Dragonite with a Surf (it had previously barely survived a Blizzard). I had done what I had intended to do - I passed the first round, which I failed to do last year! With that, I advanced to my next battle. I was faced with an Amoonguss and Cofagrigus lead and unfortunately, the Cofagrigus activated trick room. It was a struggle, but I managed to knock out one of his Pokémon - but I was swiftly finished off by a Tyranitar. My older brother got into Round 3, while my friend got into Round 4.
After I went out, I went straight to the shop - and boy were things expensive. They mostly sold Trading Card Game products, although they also sold talking plush toys of Pikachu and the Unova starters for £30 each. I was on a £10 budget, so I picked up the TY Pansage plush - only four were left. I spent the rest of the day hanging out with various friends and trying the various other events - I even ran into @Water Max at one of the "King of the Hill" style battle stations. We talked for a bit and he was kind enough to give me the last few Pokémon I needed on Pokédex 3D (Male Frillish, Summer Deerling and Summer Sawsbuck), in exchange for me helping him finish off his. I was quite surprised that he recognised me, if I'm perfectly honest! We then battled, which I ended up winning. That was the first battle in the allocated 3 you are allowed in that battle mode - I did get all 3 of my wins in no time though. While observing other battles, I did see someone using a hacked Genesect, which led to the question "Is the Gene part pronounced like Genetic or the word Gene?" - me and the people I asked decided to just let The Pokémon Company tell us next year.
My friend who had driven me up wanted to stay to watch Juniors and Seniors due to the younger sister of a friend competing, so I hung around. I mainly spent the time chatting to people, but then my older brother and his girlfriend had to go back to London, so I bid them a farewell. I walked them back to my friend's car to get their stuff, then we parted ways. Walking around the NEC three times was torture - I felt like throwing up. It was when I returned that I remembered that my older brother still had my younger brother's DSi XL (which he had let us borrow as a back up) - he has agreed to return it next time we see each other though. To make up for it, I bought my little brother a Pokémon card booster (all I could afford). I chatted with Marti, who writes some articles for the Official Nintendo Magazine - I found her insight absolutely wonderful. I love being able to just sit with a bunch of people and talk, especially when the discussion gets intellectual. During which, my 3DS started to run of out power - as it was flashing red, I noticed that I had received the accolade for having 100 StreetPass hits in a single day!
I watched the Masters, Junior and Senior finals - the Seniors and Juniors definitely had the most gripping finals. Once they had finished, I downloaded the Shiny Larvitar wondercards onto my two games and those of my little brothers', then departed for home.
All in all, a very enjoyable experience. There were a few niggles, such as the hotel, but the VGC event itself was fantastic and met the exceedingly good expectations I had due to previous years. I absolutely love the chance to hang out with like-minded people and to play Pokémon.
Also, here's a list of the cosplayers I saw:
1x Team Rocket Grunt
1x Nurse Joy
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