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08/08/2006 06:30 PM

Pokemon Mania Takes Over Bryant Park

By: NY1 News

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New York was Pokemon town Tuesday, with a giant party in Bryant Park and the country's finest Pokemon game players fighting it out for the national title. NY1’s Roger Clark was there to find out why Pokemon continues to catch on with gamers of all ages, and he filed this report.

They are the best of the best - the 64 top Pokemon video game players in the country, assembled under one tent, playing for the national title. Talk about pressure.

“We're going up against the cream of the crop, the top of all Pokemon trainers across the country, so every little move that you choose matters,” said one competitor.

The competition was just part of a giant Pokemon bash that took over Bryant Park celebrating the 10th anniversary of the craze in which players use hundreds of creatures - known as Pokemon - to battle each other in card games, video games and movies. There was even a Pokemon balloon in last years Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

There were long lines for fans waiting to download the newest characters into their games.

"I got Pikachu like him, and then the three legendary dogs, Richu, Ente and Swekum," said one participant.

“I am the proud owner of the first Picachu ever to fly," said another.

Characters like Pikachu have so much clout, Mayor Michael Bloomberg actually declared it Pokemon Day in the city.

Wrestling legend Hulk Hogan was on hand to make the announcement.

“I figured one champion with a bunch of my championship Pokemon characters - it was a good fit," said Hogan.

One great thing about Pokemon is there are so many different characters to love, and everyone seems to have a favorite. No matter which character they are into, most fans say it's the strategy of the game they really love.

And Bryant Park was full of Poke-maniacs?

“It's kind of like an international language type of thing,” said one fan. “Every fan in the world knows what Pokemon is and what they are."

“Most of my friends I know through playing Pokemon, so it's really cool," added another.

And how about a cool mom who also digs Pokemon?

“Team Rocket comes, and Pikachu will do a thunder shock, and oh, we're blasting off again, but people don't get hurt,” said the woman. “They just blast off and they land somewhere, and the next episode they’re back again."

Which makes this just another day in the spotlight for Pikachu, who hasn't let all this success give him a big head. Or has he?

- Roger Clark