You’re my best friend, in a world we must defend.

Cast your mind back to a much simpler time where the toughest decision you’d ever make is deciding between bringing your Bulbasaur or your Arbok to battle in your imaginary arena with a best friend. Pokemon was a phenomenon that captured the minds and hearts of a generation and this weekend, you’ve got the chance to reminisce. At the Exhibition Centre this weekend, Pokemon heaven will ensure as part of the 20th anniversary celebrations. The Pokemon UK National Championships will be taking place in Liverpool from May 14-15th and you have permission to lose your mind and root your old cards out the loft.

The UK championships are heavily focused on competition, and this year for the first time in the history of the event, a Pokkén (arcade game) Tournament will feature as a competitive game alongside the Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire tournament and the Pokémon Trading Card Game tournament. Over two decades, Pokémon has been much more than a phase in people’s lives. There have been video games, a TV series, films, music soundtracks and more.

Trainers from around the world have been preparing all year to show off their skills and this year is shaping up to be the biggest national championships ever. Trading card players will check in from 8am-9am on Saturday, followed by video game players from 9am-10am. There will then be rounds of competition and other side events throughout the morning and afternoon. On Sunday there will be top cut matches in both categories from 9am, plus side events from 9am-5pm.

If you’re like us and just there for the nostalgia and for a laugh, entry is completely free to watch the tournaments. Dust off your best Ash Ketchum outfit, shine your Pokeballs and head down this weekend.

Special thanks to Bev Goodwin for the featured image.