Northerner Staff Writer, Dan Erickson, interviews Pokémon Master, Junior Steve Burton about what it really is like to be a Pokémon enthusiast.
By DAN ERICKSON
What is the nature of your involvement with Pokémon?
“I play Pokémon competitively, which means I go to tournaments and play others. I play the trading card game and the video game. A lot of people are familiar with “Pokémon Red and Blue,” but they still make the games, so the newest iterations of the games would be “Pokémon Black and White” for the Nintendo DS. There are people who collect cards or play the games, but I play both competitively.”
I understand that you compete in a lot of Pokémon tournaments. What are they like?
“Well, if you’ve ever seen any type of chess tournament—you usually have two people facing each other playing on a board—that’s exactly what the card game looks like. Each player has a 60-card deck, which they construct ahead of time, using legal cards and all that kind of stuff. There are different rules and things like that, so cards you may have gotten when you were a kid aren’t necessarily legal anymore. With every new iteration of cards that comes out, there has been a certain cutoff for old cards. For the video game, it’s essentially the same thing—you have the current version of the game, which is Pokémon: Black & White, and you play with your Nintendo DS system, with your trained Pokémon, and there are rule sets and things like that, and you play accordingly to those. So, there is human interaction in a tournament.”
What does the future hold for you and Pokémon? Do you see this tying into a career of some sort?
“Well, Pokémon in general isn’t something you can really make money off of. You play it mainly for entertainment value, but the game is definitely growing. For me personally as a student here at North Central, I’m very interested in cyber culture. I’m currently working on a ministry to have the Christian church and cyber culture have a better relationship between each other. So yes, I see a career in Pokémon, but maybe not in a way that a lot of people would think.”
What is your favorite Pokémon?
That’s a difficult question. It’s kind of ever changing, but the one I’d say I enjoy the most would have to be Wartortle, which is the pre-evolution of Blastoise and evolves from Squirtle. I think that thing’s the coolest looking thing! And to everybody who likes Charizard…he’s not even good.