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Catch ‘Em All With The Penn State Pokemon Society

Do you often find yourself wishing you could just kick back, relax, and play some of your favorite retro games with your friends? Fortunately, we have an answer for you. The Penn State Pokemon Society (PSPS) is the only Pokemon-related club at Penn State. Since its start in Fall 2010, the Penn State Pokemon Society has grown into a well-organized and well-established club. Their mission? To bring together anyone who loves Pokemon.

Royal Downs, president of the Pokemon Society, says that the idea for the club came long before it was officially instated. “A few members of the Urban Gaming Club were sitting around and talking about how cool it would be if a Pokemon game could happen in real life,” Downs said. “Before long, this idea became what is known today as the Penn State Pokemon Challenge. This event drew in a lot of people, and the club formed around that. The Penn State Pokemon Society became an official club in 2010.” The Penn State Pokemon Challenge is now the biggest event of the year, crowning a new Champion each year.

The Pokemon Society has over 40 active members. The club holds events, such as tournaments and Pokemon trivia nights, at each of their Wednesday night meetings. Members can also participate in the Pokemon Academy, where they can learn about competitive Pokemon, and “Fakemon”, a contest to create the best Pokemon design. Most tournaments have some kind of theme, Downs says, such as using different battling styles or only using Pokemon of a certain color. Downs also mentioned the flexibility of the organization, as the officers create events based on what they think will go over well with members.

While most members mostly play the Pokemon video game, some members keep it traditional with the card game. Some even do both, fostering a fun, Poke-loving environment at Penn State.

If you take a look at the Penn State Pokemon Society’s calendar of events, you’ll see some special Friday night events called “Friday Night Fights.” Because Wednesday night tournaments are geared more towards having fun, Friday Night Fights are meant for the more competitive members to come and battle it out. Altogether, none of these battles have an end goal, other than just having a good time.

The Penn State Pokemon Society is simply based on fostering friendships among Pokemon fans of all kinds. Downs said that the club reaches out to prospective members through involvement fairs, bake sales, and hosting tournaments at the Gamer’s Arena downtown. “We’ll also be partnering with Jake’s Cards and Games downtown and holding some Trading Card Game tournaments there in the future,” said Downs.

For Downs and the rest of the PSPS members, a love for Pokemon started at a young age. “Pokemon is something that most people loved as a child,” said Downs. “For a lot of us, it’s just something that’s always held a special meaning to us throughout our lives.”

But playing the games and competing at an older age has given Downs and members of the PSPS an entirely new perspective on the game. “When I came went to a club meeting for the first time, I learned that there was an entirely new competitive aspect to the game that I had never experienced before. It was like I was discovering the whole thing all over again and I loved it,” Downs said.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Pokemon Society, events, and more, check out their website.

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About the Author

Gabriela Stevenson

Gabriela is a senior majoring in print and digital journalism and Onward State's student life editor. She is from Norristown, PA, which she normally refers to as "30 minutes outside of Philadelphia" (she looked up the exact driving time). She enjoys Broadway musicals, neck pillows, and eating cereal at night. To contact Gabriela, e-mail her at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter @GabiStevenson if you want to feel young again.


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