Pokemon video game king Brendan Zheng, 10, of Fresh Meadows became the Junior Division world champion recently at the finals in Vancouver, British Columbia.
He and his older brother, Aaron, 15, have competed on the world championship levels for years and the practice seems to have paid off.
Brendan came in third at the competition last year in Hawaii and Aaron placed eighth in the Senior Division. This year, Aaron took third place in the Masters Division.
As division winner, Brendan won a scholarship, a trophy and travel expenses to compete in next year’s championship in Washington, DC. About 600 youngsters vied for titles this year.
Pokemon is a series of Japanese role-playing games used in Nintendo. It was introduced in 1996 and has become one of the best-selling games around the world.
In it, players catch and train cartoonish creatures with unique magic abilities and skill points. At the tournament, competitors control a team of six Pokemon characters and fight against an opponent’s team in battles.
Brendan said he would be entering the Senior Division next year and winning this year “definitely boosts my confidence.”
He expects the older division to be a lot harder and plans to spend time training to adapt to it. Maybe Aaron will give him some tips.
During the finals, Brendan and other finalists wore headphones to cancel out noise from the crowd. But he could tell the crowd was cheering for him. “It was cool,” Brendan said. “I could tell that my brother was cheering me on, too.”
The champ will be entering seventh grade this fall.