Local player takes fifth at Pokémon nationals

July 23, 2015

Pokémon player Stefan Smigoc, of Issaquah, earned a top spot at the U.S. National Championships July 3-5 in Indianapolis.

Smigoc, 15, clinched fifth in the video game Senior Division. Along with the top finish, Smigoc also earned championship points that will count toward a potential invite to the 2015 Pokémon World Championships Aug. 21-23 in Boston.

Read more

Bookmark and Share

10-year-old deals a winning game of Pokémon

June 15, 2010

Connor Owens cuts and shuffles a deck of Pokémon cards before starting a game against an opponent. By Greg Farrar

With nimble manipulation, Connor Owens’ hands quickly slice the cards next to one another as he shuffles. His ability mimics that of the best Las Vegas dealer. His calm, cool appearance is not dissimilar from the best Texas Hold’em players on the circuit as he keeps his steely eyes locked on his opponent.

But Connor is only 10, and this game is for the pride in proving he can school his father, Dave Owens.

“He can beat me so easily,” Dave said. “There was a time I could keep up, but now I can’t.”

In just a few years, Connor has gone from collecting the images on his Pokémon cards based on what character looks coolest to being one of the best Pokémon card players in the Pacific Northwest.

Since March, Connor has conquered the state of Oregon, taking third place at the state tournament March 13, and the Pacific Northwest Region, taking fourth at the April 17 tournament.

“I just thought, ‘Wow!’” Connor said.

“He pretty much shocked himself,” his mother Deneall Owens said. “He came up to me and said, ‘I can’t believe I won.’” Read more

Bookmark and Share

Pokémon frenzy is in its second year

May 25, 2010

By Max Smith-Holmes

Physics students are usually known more for their brains than their video game prowess. For Skyline High School’s International Baccalaureate physics students, however, the latter may be the more valued trait.

Each spring, Skyline’s IB physics classes take a field trip to the Silverwood theme park in Idaho. Last year, the annual trip adopted a new tradition: a Pokémon video game frenzy brought about by usual school boredom.

Then senior Tyler Ninomura came up with the idea to bring Game Boy video game systems into physics class on days when there was free time. The students used cables to link their systems together and battle each other one on one.

The activity grew in popularity and eventually became an organized tournament for the bus rides to Silverwood. Read more

Bookmark and Share

How to embrace your Facebook addiction

February 23, 2010

By Tiffany Xu

Facebook addictions are difficult to cure. Unless you’re about to resort to services such as Web 2.0 Suicide Machine (hand over your account information, say a few last words and watch your virtual profiles be erased within an hour), it’s time to fully embrace social networking.

Here are five tips for how to put your Facebook to better use. Who knows, they might temporarily alleviate your feelings of guilt and inadequacy as well. Read more

Bookmark and Share

Rotary Club honors students of the month for December

January 12, 2010

The Rotary Club of Issaquah recently honored the following seniors for its students of the month for December. Read more

Bookmark and Share

Video games come to life with new program Sword Fit

December 1, 2008

William Johns, Sword Fit founder, carefully watches the students’ techniques during a class designed to bring their video game fantasies to life through physical fitness and safety. Photo by Chantelle Lusebrink William Johns, Sword Fit founder, carefully watches the students’ techniques during a class designed to bring their video game fantasies to life through physical fitness and safety. Photo by Chantelle Lusebrink

Jedi light sabers and swashbuckling adventures in the Caribbean are just one of many things keeping children inside and glued to the television.

But how do you get your child off the couch, detached from the controller and back to reality? Bring the fantasy to life, according to William Johns, a certified instructor and master of sword and martial arts.

His new program, Sword Fit, brings the excitement of sword fighting into reality and gets children moving.

After seeing increasing obesity rates among children in the news, on television and in his classrooms, Johns, a former New York state public school teacher, started the program when he moved to Issaquah.

“I was tired of seeing kids out of shape,” he said. “So, I started a nonprofit designed to increase their physical fitness in a fun way that they understood.” Read more

Bookmark and Share