NHP Pokémon whiz on a roll

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New Hyde Park Pokémon whiz Devon Roth has done it again.

The 10-year-old is headed to the world championships of the Pokémon juniors division for the second straight year, this time competing in the video game division in Hawaii at the end of next week.

Roth, a fourth grader at the Manor Oaks School, clinched third place at the recent National Pokémon Championships held June 30 and July 1 in Indianapolis, Ind. His strong showing against elite Pokémon video game players from around the country, earned him an invitation and travel award for two to the 2012 Pokémon World Championships starting on Aug. 11. 

“This time he did it in video games. He had never tried to compete before. He just dabbled in the game,” said Christopher Roth, Devon’s father.

Last year, Devon finished eighth overall at the world championships in San Diego.

He’d been playing the video game version for years – just not competing in it as he had in the trading card version.

The top prize in this year’s world championship is a $5,000 scholarship. 

The term Pokémon, in addition to referring to the Pokémon franchise itself, collectively refers to the 649 fictional species of pocket monsters – from which the game’s name is derived –  with the release of the fifth generation video titles “Black 2” and “Pokémon White 2.” The popular video game was first released in 1996.

“He had friends who were playing both, so he decided he would play both,” the Christopher Roth said. “He still loves the card game.”

But he’s exclusively focused on the Pokémon video version for the world tourney in Hawaii.

Players of the games are designated as Pokémon trainers, and the two general goals are: to complete the Pokédex by collecting all of the available Pokémon species found in the fictional region where that game takes place, and to train a team of powerful Pokémon from those they have caught to compete against teams owned by other trainers.

Devon said the video game is easier. He said he was feeling “pretty good” about his recent performance in Indianapolis, where he only expected to finish in the top 16.

He said he’s confident about the Hawaii tourney, but he knows he’ll be facing still competition. Apart from competing he’s looking forward to connecting with his Pokémon peers form around the country.

“Most of my friends are going to worlds too,”

Roth said he keeps in tough with them by Skype. When he’s not practicing Pokémon, he plays other card games, including Vanguard.

Roth has said he had honed the math skills needed for Pokémon in his classes at the Manor Oaks School.

“I can do math in my head,” said Roth.

When he’s not competing in Hawaii, he said he’s looking forward to visiting a rain forest in Volcano National Park on one of the Hawaiian islands.

His father is making the trip with him, along with his five-year-old sister Caroline. She started competing in the Pokémon video game division this year herself this year and finished 19th in the juniors division of the nationals competition.

Reach reporter Richard Tedesco by e-mail at rtedesco@theislandnow.com or by phone at 516.307.1045 x204. Also follow us on Twitter @theislandnow1 and Facebook at facebook.com/theislandnow.

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