UNIVERSITY PARK — For 11-year-old Lucas Monroe, it’s not intimidating to play Pokemon against a group of college students in the Penn State Pokemon Society.
In fact, Lucas said the group has taken him under its wing and helped build new strategies to win.
With more than five years’ experience playing the game, Lucas said it has helped him place in numerous Pokemon competitions across the country and get his latest invite to the Pokemon World Championships in Vancouver next month.
“I started when I was 5 years old with the trading card game and got really into it, and now I play the video game,” Lucas said. “I’ve really enjoyed it and built a good team.”
Pokemon is a role-playing game with the use of strategy by completing events and battling opponents.
The Pokemon World Championships feature top Pokémon trading card game and video game players from around the world. During the annual tournament, the players compete for the title of Pokemon World Champion.
And that’s his goal.
“I want to do really well and win,” Lucas said. “I play a lot of think I have a pretty good chance.”
This year, Lucas is one of 12 kids in North America who have earned an invitation to the world championship games held Aug. 9-11. Lucas will be in the junior division, while there is also a seniors and masters division that includes one of his mentors, Alex Valente — president of the Penn State Pokemon Society.
There are about 40 competitors from around the world in his division.
“It’s really exciting. I think I’m looking forward to seeing new friends and starting new strategies,” Lucas said.
His father, Burt Monroe, said in April, Lucas won the New England Regional Championships in Boston, which earned him a trip to Nationals in Indianapolis earlier this month.
Making quarterfinals at Nationals this year, Monroe said, was enough for Lucas to get an invite to the world championships.
“As a parent it’s been neat to watch him. This isn’t something I pushed him into. He just found it was his niche and it’s something to see your kid succeed at something he really enjoys,” Monroe said. “It took a lot for him to lose for a while and find what he needed to do to win. I think he showed a lot of determination.”
Britney Milazzo can be reached at 231-4648. Follow her on Twitter @M11azzo.