The event that started it all
Returning Saturday, March 30th
What is the Penn State Pokémon Challenge?
Every semester, our club hosts a FREE 2-day weekend event called the Penn State Pokemon Challenge (PSPC). This event is meant to mirror the mechanics of the Pokemon games: earn badges, go on side quests, and challenge the Elite 4.
On Saturday, 8 or 9 gym leaders (or equivalents) are placed around campus. Their teams are usually mono-typed singles teams, but theme teams, doubles battles, triples battles, and rotation battles have been known to make an appearance. Challengers have between 8 and 9 hours to roam around campus, complete side quests, challenge the gym leaders, and earn badges. Those that obtain 7 or more badges earn the right to challenge the Elite 4 on the second day of the event. A more detailed rule set can be found under the PSPC Rules page under the Pokemon Challenge tab at the top.
On Sunday, the worthy challengers battle through the Elite 4. A challenger must defeat all four Elite 4 members consecutively to be able to battle the Champion. If the Champion is defeated, then a new Champion is crowned. The winner of the event earns the right to be the Champion during the following semester’s event AND get their name on the “Hall of Fame” plaque.
Meet Our Gym Leaders and Elite Four!
GYM LEADER: ALEX ZWIAZEK
In anticipation for the Alumni filled Pokemon Challenge at the end of March, I was asked to write a little blurb about myself, Alex Zwiazek.
I, Alex Zwiazek, come from New Jersey where I grew up loving two things, comics and Nintendo. I, Alex Zwiazek, was in Fourth Grade when I saved up enough allowance to buy myself a Gameboy and a copy of Pokemon Blue, and I, Alex Zwiazek, have been addicted to Pokemon ever since. In my Junior year at Penn State, it was my conversation about how cool it would be to be an actual gym leader that sparked the idea to create the Penn State Pokemon Challenge. The success from the event is what led to myself, Alex Zwiazek, and a few of my friends to create the Penn State Pokemon Society the next year, of which I, Alex Zwiazek, was President. (I was instructed to mention any positions I, Alex Zwiazek, held in the club, plus I’m really proud of it)
Quick List of other fun facts: My favorite Pokemon is Infernape, though I also have a major soft spot for Gliscor and Sableye. My first VGC I ever entered was in 2006. I don’t really play as competitively as I used to, because I’ve been focusing mainly on completing a Shiny Living Dex, of which, I think, I have over 500 different shiny’s. I now work in New York City as an Assistant Editor for some HGTV shows (Beachfront Bargain Hunt/Lakefront Bargain Hunt) I have a pretty serious Pokemon Plushie collection, as well as every main line game in english and a decent amount in Japanese. I own every comic Deadpool has ever been in, and totally loved him before he was cool. I main Pichu in Smash Ultimate, just like I did in Melee… but now to much better results!
Oh, and I, Alex Zwiazek, still have my original Blaziken in my main game that I got the day Ruby/Sapphire came out. He’s rash, has no hidden ability… but he’s over 16 years old and I think that’s neat. (I just think it’d be fun to beat someone in a battle with him one day and be like, “This Pokemon is older than you are!” and then I’d cry)
Anyway, great introducing myself, Alex Zwiazek, to you all and I, Alex Zwiazek, look forward to meeting you all in person on March 30th!!!
Alola! I’m Steve Engblom, better known as Steve Dos, and I’ve been
around in the club for almost 6 years now. I graduated with my
bachelor’s in Meteorology back in 2015, and since I work in town I’ve
been able to stick around and see the club grow first-hand to what it
is today. Despite joining later into my senior year, I never got the
chance to run for anything, but have enjoyed my time spent with the
club through tournament trips, PSPC events as well as weekly
meetings. My favorite type is Water (the best type!) with Ludicolo
being my spirit pokemon until 2016’s Golisopod gave it a run for its
money. I hope to see some new faces this time around, and I await
your challenge come PSPC weekend!
GYM LEADER: JENNY MARTIN
Jenny Martin graduated from Penn State in December 2017 with a degree in chemical engineering. She currently works in environmental consulting.
Jenny was only able to be part of the Pokemon Society for a year and a half but considers her time with the club to be some of the best during her studies at Penn State. Some of her favorite events included PSPC, trips to regionals, and, of course, trivia meetings.
Ask any of her friends and they’ll be able to tell you – Jenny’s favorite Pokemon is definitely Wooper. You can probably get on her good side by talking about him, but do you want to risk a long monologue about everyone’s favorite armless axolotl? You decide…
In addition to bios, some will include information regarding the event. In this case, we have a preview of the shirts for the event. If you saw an image of them earlier, they have changed ever so slightly so be sure to take a look. The cost is $17 and we will have a limited number available for purchase at the event. If you pre-registered and said you wanted a shirt, the cost is $12 and we will have your shirt in your selected size ready for you the morning of the 30th.
GYM LEADER: AJ RIVERA
Hello PSPS Trainers!!!
My name is Alberto Joseph Rivera Jr if you want to be super official
about it, but AJ for short. I’ve been playing Pokemon since OG
Pokemon, I’ve been playing competitive stuff since junior year at
Penn State. I was just a member of the club during my time at Penn
State. I was friend with all of the founding members of the club.
Favorite pokemon include mawile, Tyranitar, Hippowdon,
Garchomp, Snorlax, and Mudsdale. Big and slow is the way to go bois
;), but i look forward to meeting and battling all of you trainers, see
you guys soon.
GYM LEADER: NICK SEMAN
My name is Nicholas Seman. My favorite Pokémon are Dragonite, Alola Ninetales, and Chandelure. I graduated with a degree in Music Performance with a specialty in clarinet. I began Pokémon Society as a very quirky freshman in 2012 to a very adamant President of the club by my second senior year in 2017. In that time I also held the positions of Penn State Pokémon Challenge Head, and Vice President. I’m a pretty well rounded Pokémon player being proficient in the Trading Card Game, all aspects of the video game, and Pokken Tournament. I would say I was most known for my stubborn nature to use Hail based teams in almost every team I made, including that of my signature VGC team, “Hail to the Trick Room,” a control based team with a focus on weather control using Hail and speed control using Trick Room. I’d also say by the end of my time at Penn State I also got pretty known for my Chandelure skills in Pokken Tournament. Some of favorite memories of Pokémon Society include going to Regional and National competitions as a club, and being able to play along side so many of the different and fluctuating friends I made all throughout Pokémon Society, and still being able to call any and all of them some of the best friends I have had today.
ELITE FOUR: ROYAL DOWNS
My name is Royal Downs. I first joined the Penn State Pokemon Society in November of 2011. My first club meeting was also my first taste of competitive battling, and even though I was thoroughly defeated, I decided to get better and keep coming back. I attended just about every club meeting, including the Intercollegiate Pokemon League competitions on Sundays. As I became more involved with the club, I decided that I wanted to become an officer. I ran for the positions of Tournament head, Secretary, and Vice President before being elected as Vice President in Spring 2014. I was VP for one semester and stepped up to President when Andres Morales stepped down, and I was president of the club from Fall 2014 through Fall 2015 when I graduated. I first participated in PSPC in Spring 2012 as a challenger. I also challenged in Fall 2012, and first became a gym leader/elite 4 in Spring of 2013. Since then I challenged in the fall semesters and did Elite 4 in the spring semesters. My first and only PSPC championship was in the Fall of 2015. My 3 favorite Pokemon are Bisharp, Greninja, and Yveltal. My favorite gym leaders are Sabrina, Blue, and Clair.
ALSO, be sure to check out the PSPC Banner on the Osmond Building in front of the HUB.
ELITE FOUR: ANDRES MORALES
(Check out one of the gym badges for this semester to the right!!)
Hi I’m Andres. Charizard is my favorite Pokémon. I was the best and I don’t think any of you can beat me. See you on March 31st.
…Oh apparently I have to put something more substantial:
In 1991 I was born of flame. They called me Andres. Depending on the translation my name means hero, warrior, or courageous. My love for adventure and competition drove me to being the ultimate Nintendo nerd. This included Pokémon as a deep passion of course. During my first week at Penn State my roommate told me about a Pokémon club flier he found in the library. This was destiny.
My excitement and anticipation for a legitimate Pokémon club was only exceeded by a group of people who I consider to be some of the coolest and most interesting individuals I have ever met. There are so many cool things I could talk about, but in the interest of time, lets just say my 4 year club experience was the stuff dreams are made of.
I was both nominated and elected Vice President at the end of freshmen year. Personally I think the greater accomplishment was my first PSPC win for that year, but Alex told me to talk about stuff I did for the club. We did a lot, and working with the officers for the next 3 years allowed for so many wonderful ideas. Funded VGC trips, a myriad of tournaments, nerd parties, Sunday morning intercollegiate battles, bake sales, Pokémon giveaways, shirts, regular officer meetings, PSPC, an ACTUAL OFFICE, the list goes on.
I remember when you guys came together and funded a VGC worlds trip to Vancouver, Canada for Alex and I. We did our best to represent the club and we had a bloody good time. Thank you for that. Nowadays I am a part-time Nintendo Content Creator aspiring to be a full-time one. I think back fondly to my time with the club. It has always been magical even when I come back to visit. I’m coming back again for this PSPC and I don’t plan on letting any of you win this time. I look forward to you all coming at me with everything you got. You’re gonna need it.
ELITE FOUR: ALEX VALENTE
President- Fall 2012 to Fall 2013
IPL Head- Fall 2011 to Fall 2012
Founded the Intercollegiate Pokémon League
Secured the club’s first UPAC funding for Regionals
Started Friday Night Fights
Secured the club’s first office space in the HUB
Started fundraising by selling PSPS bracelets
I first became involved with the club during the Fall 2010 PSPC (then called LARP), which was the second event of it’s kind. I managed to accrue 7 badges alongside my newly met friend, Andres Morales. It was the first time I felt like I belonged in a community at Penn State amid a very turbulent and trying freshmen year. I kept attending the then biweekly meetings in Chambers building, doing very well in the competitive tournaments. At that time those club meetings and tournaments felt like my only tether to enjoyment in life.
I saw we had a vibrant community of very talented battlers and I thought such a community must exist at other colleges. After a year of sending out emails and phone calls, I managed to find five other similar clubs at colleges across the country. We assembled into the Intercollegiate Pokémon League. We had battles every weekend, first on the DS wireless then on PO or showdown. It was a great way to challenge ourselves competitively and find more friends with similar interests. I still remain friends with many of those initial contacts. Unfortunately, the league fizzled out of existence due to poor communication. Fortunately, my personal passion for competition and organization gave me the confidence to run for club president the following year.
I always had big ideas for the club; of course with help from my Vice President, Andres who has the biggest ideas of anyone I’ve ever met. Implementing these ideas and expanding upon them never felt like a chore or a burden. It was something I was excited to do every day. I started looking into how the club could benefit from a big institution like Penn State. So naturally this lead to improvements like office space, paid trips to regionals, advertising in the HUB, and the introduction an absolutely outstanding club adviser.
I graduated in December 2013 looking back on an amazing college experience thanks in very large part to the Penn State Pokémon Society. The club introduced me to so many lifelong friends. Not only from club meetings, but also from other colleges through the IPL and from across the competitive community through Regional, National, and Worlds trips. I can never be thankful enough for Burt Monroe rallying club members to pitch in for a paid trip to Vancouver for 2013 World’s for Andres and me. I never think of myself as anyone special so seeing club members donate real money to my ambitious aspiration was just an unreal and truly humbling experience. After finishing top 8 at 2013 US Nationals and being just one win away from a World’s invite, actually being able to go to the World competition was indescribably incredible.
It’s amazing what people can do for each other around a common interest. Everyone struggles in life until they find somewhere to belong. We all have greatness in us, we just have to learn how to unleash it. As a magnificent being once said, “The circumstances of one’s birth are irrelevant. It is what you do with the gift of life that determines who you are”. This club may just seem like a cool place to hang out and play video games, but the underlying relationships forming will shape your life in ways you don’t even know.
ELITE FOUR: ???
Hello, It is I, the best around. Nobody is capable of knocking me down. I was the greatest President of this club to date, and no one is able to argue against this well known fact. No one really remembers when I was the vice-president, including myself. I have been a part of this club for so long, that I do not even remember when I first joined. Throughout my many adventures in the club, I remember standing out in the coldy rain to try and raise stacks on stacks of money for the club. Good times, good times. Where was I, that’s right myself and my involvement in the Pokemon Society. I was the greatest PSPC Champion to date. I am on the superior plaque out of the two that exist. I have also been a member of the Elite 4 multiple times in the past and I have always performed better than the other members. I remember this one battle that I had against a good friend of mine. It was a really close match and then he got a crit that; that’s not what this bio is about. Anyways, I look forward to seeing everyone on Sunday, and wish you all the best of luck. You will need it.
PSPC SPRING 2019 CHAMPION
(comb o o)
Hall of Fame