It wasn’t the first time Trista Medine had been to the Pokemon Video Game Regional Championships, but there was a “first” involved for the Lafayette player.
Medine, 24, won the masters division (older teens and adults) of the competition in Arlington, Texas, becoming the first female to win in that division. She outlasted 479 other players to earn a trip to the national championships, held last weekend in Indianapolis, Ind.
“I was happy,” Medine said Tuesday by phone. “It was a single-elimination tournament, there were nine rounds, so I had to beat nine people in a row.”
This was a jump for Medine from last year’s regionals, where she just made it into the top 16.
Medine said she’s been playing Pokeman since she was a little girl. She stepped up her game a few years ago when she started playing competitively.
“I started playing a lot. I would play with my friends online,” she said.
Medine explained that Pokemon is a turn-based game involving all the characters of trading card fame.
“Each character has its own strengths and weaknesses and the way the battles for the VGC (Video Game Championships) are, each person has a team of six, and you can pick four out of those six to use at a time, and it’s where each person has two of them out on the field at a time,” she said.
“Like people have described it as being like chess almost, because it’s not like a fighting game where you’re pressing buttons at the same time, you know, to hit your opponent in time. It’s more like a strategy thing ? It gets really complicated.
“It’s a lot of work. It’s more like a card game or a board game in the way that it’s played than like a fighting game. I think that’s one thing that some people don’t understand because they just think of video games as like you running around and hitting each other,” she said.
“It’s really a strategic game, but there’s also luck-based elements.”
At nationals, Medine won her first three matches before losing the next four. This ranked her 30-something, as opposed to last year, when she finished 20th.
“At the national level, everybody is so good that one little mistake or bad luck can just end it,” she said. “But I was happy I got to see my friends from other states.”
Medine said she knew everyone she played against in Indiana from past national championships.
Medine, who recently graduated from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette with a degree in visual arts, said she plans to continue competing.
“As long as they have them (the tournaments),” she said.