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Spend Pokémon Day playing Pokkén Tournament ahead of launch

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Prove your skills in an early access competition

Later this month, Nintendo will give Pokémon fans a chance to check out the upcoming Pokkén Tournament ahead of its March release as they compete for a spot in this year's Pokémon World Championships. The Pokkén Tournament Early Access Competition will be held in GameStop stores nationwide on Feb. 27 — also known as Pokémon's 20th birthday — with two winners moving onto the larger Pokémon event.

Here's the full list of GameStop locations where players can check out the game and participate in the competition, according to a press release:

  • Preston Road, Plano, TX
  • Chamblee Tucker Road, Chamblee, GA
  • Barranca Parkway, Irvine, CA
  • S. John Young Parkway, Orlando, FL
  • W. Diversey Ave., Chicago, IL
  • Bellevue Square, Bellevue, WA
  • E. 14th St. - Union Square, New York, NY
  • Rivermark Plaza, Santa Clara, CA

The regional event will be open to the public with entrants accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Winners of each of the Pokémon Day qualifiers will go on to compete in the Pokkén Tournament Early Access Competition finals. That showdown takes place in the revamped Nintendo NY store on March 17, a day before the Wii U game's March 18 release.

The top Pokkén Tournament player in each age bracket (under-16 and over-16) will win a Wii U system and go on to be trained by a professional fighting gamer in preparation for the National Championships. Success in that event, which runs July 1-3 in Columbus, Ohio will move players onto the 2016 World Championships. The annual competition will take place in San Francisco later this year.

Nintendo also released a new trailer for the game coinciding with the announcement of the competition. You can take a new look at the one-on-one fighting game above.

The Pokkén Tournament series is just the latest in a slew of anniversary happenings scheduled on and around Pokémon's big birthday later this month. Nintendo is re-releasing the original Game Boy games for Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console on Pokémon Day. The company will also release a variety of legendary Pokémon for the 3DS games in-stores and over its download distribution service throughout the year, among numerous other plans.

Take a look at Pokkén Tournament — which we first played last fall in the arcade — in action in advance of both the competition and its March 18 release.