Creswell Pokémon Trainers to compete in world championships

Asher Campbell watches his brother Gracen starting a Pokémon game with Andrew Zavala. Asher describes himself as, “Coach and brother. Right now, more coach than brother." (Photo by Andrea Hummel)

CRESWELL, Ore. - The two players start the game with a fist bump. “Good luck, have fun,” they say in unison, and Asher, 18, and Gracen Campbell, 9, start the demonstration of Pokémon play. This complex game Is played with two 60-card decks, one per player, and involves character cards and attribute cards which can be combined to create super characters. 

Pokémon is an all ages game that involves strategy, math, and a high degree of focus as the 50-minute game progresses. Players, also known as Trainers, gather to battle between an assortment of characters, pushing each other to the limit, in fun spirited competition.

The two boys playing are sons of Daniel Campbell, owner of Elite Game Stop in Creswell, a state-of-the-art game center. A game shop wasn’t what Daniel Campbell had in mind originally. 

At first, Campbell was working with a party trailer, one he could hire out for birthday parties and other events. Then, the location on South Front Street in Creswell opened up and Campbell saw it as a great, total electronic game center, perfect for after school play and for parties. 

Since the shop's opening, Elite Game Stop's popularity and appeal have reached way beyond Creswell.

“I was looking for a place to play and to get Pokémon supplies,” commented Andrew Zavala, a graduate student at U of O. “The Eugene scene was pretty lackluster, so I started looking further out, in other communities. I was delighted when I found this place in Creswell.”

Zavala would be a good judge of Pokémon quality because he was the 2014 Pokémon Champion in Arizona and will be traveling to Yokohama, Japan, in August for the 2023 World Championship games. He will be competing in the Master Division, 17 and up and Gracen Campbell, 9, will be competing in the Junior Division, 6-12. 

Gracen placed in the top 8 in a Fresno tournament, earning his place in the world championship games, where only 200 Pokémon players in North America are selected this year. It's also the first ever time a Pokémon championship has come to Asia, it's been hosted before in London, Canada, and the U.S.

The side benefits of playing Pokémon are many. The development of math skills, focus and necessary concentration transfer to academic areas. Gracen is a student at ACE Charter School in Cottage Grove and is currently performing two years above grade level in math. 

Zavala is pursuing his PhD in neuropsychology and sees a great benefit to his studies from his hobby. Comparable to chess in difficulty, the game inspires real commitment and passion.

Daniel Campbell agrees with this. “Frankly,” he says, “I’ve never met a dumb competitive Pokémon player.”

Trading cards with other players is always a major draw of the game, with some of the most sought after and valuable cards reaching price tags upwards of a million dollars or more, per card. Approved vendors will be on-site.

Trainers chosen to attend the event and paying spectators with event badges are expected to enjoy many activities inside the exhibition hall, including playing side events for prizes, meeting Pikachu, and watching the matches on the main stage.

Anyone can tune in to watch exciting matches live, August 11–13, 2023, on,,, and, where expert commentators will help you follow along with the action in each game.

The 2023 Pokémon World Championships will take place at the PACIFICO Yokohama Convention Center in Yokohama, Japan, from Friday, August 11, 2023, through Sunday, August 13, 2023. 

For additional information on the event, please visit: