By Ariff Erzanie Ramli – Competitive Pokemon VGC Player
E-Sports is slowly gaining traction in Malaysia, thanks to the incredible numbers we’re seeing in games like Dota2, Counter Strike as well as League of Legends. But beneath everything, there’s another community of e-sports players, growing by the day.
Pokemon has been around for ages, but in the last two editions of the VGC World Championships, several Malaysian players have been exclusive invited to compete, thanks to the ever-growing community of Pokemon players in the country. Over the next few months, we’ll be shedding light on what we do as a community and the growth we’re expecting to accomplish over the next few years.
In case you’re wondering what it means to be a competitive Pokemon video game player, it essentially means you compete in the Video Games Championship or better known as VGC. There’s also another version called the Trading Card Game or TGC, but we’ll talk about that on another day.
For starters, a portable Nintendo console of the current generation, coupled with a copy of the latest mainstream Pokemon title is required to participate in these tournaments. Think about it, you’ve probably watched someone play Pokemon games on the old Nintendo Game Boys, no? Well the current incarnation of the Game Boy is called the Nintendo 3DS.
As the name suggests, the 3DS is a technological marvel, being one of the few devices out there capable of displaying stereoscopic 3D effect without the use of any 3D glasses! Since it’s debut in 2011, there has been many variants of the 3DS, including the 3DS XL, as well as the new 3DS, which features a better processor, a more stable 3D and a minor redesign.
Like the Game Boy, the 3DS is currently the best-selling portable gaming console in the world! As of 27th July 2016, 59.79 million 3DS units have been sold throughout the world! Another reason behind its huge success is the fact that is features exclusives titles such as the Super Mario series, the Legend of Zelda series as well as the Monster Hunter series. Most importantly, it’s the ONLY console out there that supports the Pokemon game.
There’s an air of novelty about Pokemon. Some of us grew up with it. Some of us played it in our teenage years. And some of us play it until now. Of course, the huge success of Pokemon GO also increased the value of Pokemon’s man – everybody knows about it now. But to compete in the Pokemon VGC, you’d need a copy of Pokemon Alpha Sapphire and Pokemon Omega Ruby. Both games were released simultaneously in November 2014, and since then, they’ve been the official game for the VGC Worlds in 2015 and 2016.
Just like a large of chunk of other E-Sports, Pokemon VGC basically involves player battles that are dictated by different monsters – which in this case are referred to as Pokemons. VGC players are required to select six pokemons for a tournament, before they narrow the list down to four, before every battle.
These four pokemons will then engage in a double battle format (2v2 at a time). This also means that VGC players are required to study their opponents and predict their pokemon contingent, the sort of movesets and items that could be used as well as the differences in a pokemon’s ‘individual values’ as well as ‘effort values’. So while both players might have similar pokemons on their team, the strength of each pokemon will be different, depending on the various factors mentioned above.
Since 1996, we’ve had 23 different Pokemon game titles, and the game is now in its 6th generation – which explains why it’s the 2nd best selling video game franchise in the world! But as far as Malaysia is concerned, interest in Pokemon VGC is rapidly expanding and you even have players forming VGC teams to compete and play together under the E-Sports banner – KL Raikous, Glalie Kai, Penang Exeggutor.
Considering we’ve had Malaysians at the last two editions of the VGC World Championships, it shouldn’t take too long for the community to grow strong enough to produce a World Champion, one day. Till then, we look forward to entertaining you with more articles on FourthOfficial.com!