Tournament champ enjoys Pokémon
By Eric Slagle
Published: Friday, Feb. 15, 2013, 10:42 a.m.
Pokémon has been a sensation since it was launched into the world as a video game 17 years ago.
Developed in Japan, the Pokémon Universe today includes a slew of books, comics, soundtracks and films about its various generations of franchise characters.
Locally, Joey Ragan, 10, of Elizabeth Township represents one of the series' latest generations of fans.
The Mon Yough Catholic fifth-grader recently found success winning a Pokémon Trading Card Game tournament at New Dimension Comics in West Mifflin.
Joey captured the City Champion title in the junior division of the day-long contest at the Century III Mall book shop in late December and earned himself a glass trophy as a reward.
“This is the first time I've gotten a trophy,” said Joey, who has played in other contests and earned a second-place title in the City Champion contest last year.
The card game has complex rules of play and many types of cards.
According to Joey, it is in part “the luck of the draw and what you do” with your cards.
Joey's eldest brother, John, taught him the game about three years ago.
John, a 21-year-old civil engineering student at Pitt, said he played Pokémon as a child, then got away from it for a while before picking it back up again in high school.
He said the card game is finding renewed interest among people in his age group. He plays regularly at S.W. Randall toy store in Shadyside.
“It's been growing in the area and there are more and more leagues,” said John, who went to Indianapolis last summer to play in a tournament.
Parents John and Nanette Ragan said their two boys will spend hours playing the game together. Their middle sons, Tim and Dan, ages 19 and 16, respectively, don't share the same enthusiasm for Pokémon, they said.
Dan, who is a student at Serra Catholic High School, said he dabbled with Pokémon a bit when he was younger, but now, “I don't even remember how to play.”
Joey, who has hundreds of cards in his collection, said some of his friends at school collect Pokémon cards but don't play the game.
The brothers' next opportunity for some serious match play may come as early as next month; they are contemplating a road trip to Ohio for a Pokémon competition.
Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1966.
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