All right Pokemaniacs, 2016 is going to get crowded with all manner of Pokemon goodness, as it should be. Today, the Pokemon Company announced their plans for celebrating the iconic franchise’s 20th anniversary and there’s a lot to be excited about. Everything kicks off next month with the re-launch of the original Red and Blue games on the 3DS eShop, and it expands from there:
Pokémon is thrilled to announce that 2016 will be a year-long celebration of the past, present, and future of the 20-year-old brand. First introduced in Japan in 1996 with the video games Pokémon Red and Pokémon Green for the Game Boy system, Pokémon has delighted fans of all ages around the world for two decades. With more than 275 million video games sold worldwide, 21.5 billion TCG cards shipped to 74 countries, and an animated series spanning 18 seasons, Pokémon is one of the most successful entertainment brands in the world.
To kick-start the celebration, The Pokémon Company International announced today that it will air a new ad during Super Bowl 50 on Sunday, February 7, which will encourage fans to Train On. In that spirit, fans are encouraged to share their favorite Pokémon memories on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube using the hashtag #Pokemon20. On Pokémon Day, February 27, fans can join in on the fun at special events at participating retail locations across the country. More details can be found at Pokemon.com/20. Fans visiting the site throughout the year will find information about monthly Mythical Pokémon distributions, retail events, special products, messages from some of Pokémon’s biggest fans, and the upcoming Pokémon Photo Booth app.
In addition to all of these great ways to celebrate 20 years of Pokémon, there is much more to come in 2016. This spring, Pokkén Tournament (Pokemon.com/PokkenTournament) for the Wii U console will bring Pokémon to life in a way never seen before: Pokémon battle in direct response to the player’s actions. Pokémon GO (Pokemon.com/GO), a ground-breaking mobile game that will encourage fans to search far and wide in the real world to discover Pokémon, launches later this year. To coincide with Pokémon Day on February 27, Nintendo will also make some of their best-selling Pokémon amiibo available again, at select retailers only. Fans should be on the lookout for Charizard, Jigglypuff, Greninja, and Lucario to join Pikachu at stores nationwide.
In a fitting tribute to where it all began, Pokémon Red Version, Pokémon Blue Version, and Pokémon Yellow Version will be released as digital downloads on Nintendo eShop for the Nintendo 3DS family of systems on February 27. Pokémon Red Version and Pokémon Blue Version will also be included in a New Nintendo 3DS bundle. The New Nintendo 3DS Pokémon 20th Anniversary bundle will come with Pokémon Red Version and Pokémon Blue Version pre-installed, two unique cover plates featuring artwork from the original Pokémon Red Version and Pokémon Blue Version game boxes and the Pokémon 20th logo, and a download code for an exclusive Nintendo 3DS Pokémon HOME Menu theme. The commemorative New Nintendo 3DS bundle will be available on February 27 at retail locations.
The celebration continues with special retail events. Four Mythical Pokémon video game character distribution events will take place at participating GameStop locations throughout 2016, with one being distributed each quarter. Fans will need to have Pokémon Omega Ruby, Pokémon Alpha Sapphire, Pokémon X, or Pokémon Y, and a system from the Nintendo 3DS family to receive Mew, Darkrai, Arceus, and Genesect.
Frankly speaking, I’m kind of bummed that I just bought my New Nintendo 3DS, as I’d much rather have these Pokemon versions they just announced. Alas, such is the way of things. More than anything, I’m looking forward to getting my hands on some of those legendary giveaways in the games. Hopefully, the end of the year will be capped off with a new Pokemon title on the 3DS (or even Wii U, but I’m not holding my breath for it) for all of us to play and enjoy.
My biggest concern now, is that I have to buy THREE versions of everything, as my boys will surely want to get in on it all too. What do you guys think of these upcoming anniversary celebrations? Will you be participating in any of them? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!