Earlier this year, Australia held its first Pokémon Video Game National Championships, and Ben Kilby of Melbourne emerged victorious in the Masters Division. Along with the champions and runners-up from each age division, Ben has made it to Vancouver to represent his country and give it his all! We talk with him about his road to Worlds, his time in Vancouver, and his preparations for the big competition.
Pokemon.com: What was the competition like at the Australia National Championships?
Ben: It was pretty intense. There were about 180 people in the Masters Division alone. It was the first National Championships that Australia has ever held.
Pokemon.com: You made it all the way to Australia National Champion pretty quickly then. What's your secret?
Ben: Ha, I'm not really sure. Lots of practice, really. Most of the time I practice against one of my mates who's pretty good, too.
Pokemon.com: So did he join you here in Vancouver?
Ben: No, he got knocked out in the first round in the National Championships!
Pokemon.com: That tournament was held at PAX Australia. Were you playing in front of a good audience?
Ben: Yeah. It was pretty daunting having my game up on the screen and everything. I'm hoping it helped me to prepare for the size of the crowds and noise here.
Pokemon.com: Have you been to Canada before?
Ben: Nope, this is the first time I've even been out of Australia.
Pokemon.com: Are you concerned at all about jet lag?
Ben: No, we got here Wednesday morning, so we've had some time to recover.
Pokemon.com: Have you been having fun in Vancouver before the tournament?
Ben: Yeah, we did Stanley Park already, and we went up to Grouse Mountain yesterday. There are two Masters, two Juniors, and two Seniors from Australia and we've all been hanging out as a group. It's been really cool.
Pokemon.com: How long have you been playing Pokémon?
Ben: Not too long actually. Maybe two years. I played the earlier games when I was a kid, though.
Pokemon.com: Now that you've been able to check out the tournament floor, what are your impressions?
Ben: It's a lot bigger than I expected. And the crowd is bigger. I like the giant Pikachu, too.
Pokemon.com: Are you nervous at all?
Ben: Yeah, a little bit. [laughs] I don't know what to expect other than that the quality of the competition will jump up dramatically. But I'm excited.
Pokemon.com: Have you been paying attention to what teams have been winning at other National Championships?
Ben: I've read a few things. I know that Japan's current game is quite a bit different than other places. But I haven't taken it into account on my own team.
Pokemon.com: Are you playing the same team that you used at the National Championships?
Ben: Pretty much, yeah.
Pokemon.com: Do you think you might have the advantage of being a dark horse player that the top players haven't scouted much?
Ben: I sure hope so! A couple of people know what I'm playing and have mentioned that it's a little unusual.
Congratulations, Ben on what has already been a great competitive run. Good luck in the Pokémon Video Game World Championships!