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Inside the Secret World of Competitive Pokémon



Nineteen-year-old Giancarlo Parimango, like many other millennials, started playing Pokémon at the age of 7, when his cousin let him play his copy of Pokémon Gold.

But Parimango wasn’t supposed to enjoy the experience. His cousin passed off the typically boring part of the game, which involved repeatedly running through the 8-bit grass to battle wild Pokémon for experience points. Even so, he dutifully followed his cousin’s directions.

After a couple of hours of leveling, Parimango, distracted by the colorful, animated sprites and pleasant music, ended up defeating a gym leader (a Pokémon trainer who acts as a boss in the game) whom his cousin couldn’t beat. He defeated the next gym leader, and the next one and so on, until he had progressed through the rest of the game’s storyline. Read more…

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