Pokemon Celebrates 20th Anniversary With New Releases

Pokemon is one of the most popular franchises on Earth. Whether you’ve watched the TV show, traded cards on the playground or just played the video games, chances are you were a Pokemon fan at one time in your youth. Even though it feels as if just yesterday we were young and watching the first series of Pokemon, the popular franchise is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and has a lot of surprises in store for new and old fans alike.

Starting big

Although its anniversary date is on February 27 (the launch day of the first Pokemon games, Red and Green(aka Blue) in Japan), Nintendo has big plans for its beloved franchise this year, and its celebration will start on February 8, with a commercial on the half-time ad showings of Super Bowl 50. The ad is already out on YouTube and does not promote any particular product, but instead, it will serve to bring new fans to the franchise.

You can watch the Pokemon Super Bowl ad here:

Pokemon GO!

Without a doubt, this year’s most important Pokemon release will be the Pokemon GO game for iOS and Android, as it is Nintendo’s latest try of drawing new fans to the franchise. Pokemon GO will be an augmented-reality game, which means that players will have to travel and use their smartphones in order to catch and battle Pokemon. Players will also have the ability to battle against each other, and trade Pokemon with their friends. Although the app will be free, the game will feature in-app-purchases, and the game will be released alongside a small, wearable device called “Pokemon GO Plus”, which will let players know when a Pokemon is near.

The Pokemon GO Plus device will let players know when a Pokemon is nearby.

3DS anniversary plans

Nintendo also has plans to release special editions of their handheld consoles in 2016. One console that will get the anniversary treatment is the cheap Nintendo 2DS, which is a lite version of the Nintendo 3DS. The 2DS will be released in four special anniversary packages, in Pokemon-themed colours: blue, red, green and yellow. This means that those who buy a red Nintendo 2DS, will find Pokemon Red pre-installed on their console, and those who choose a green 2DS will get Pokemon Green.

The latest iteration of the 3DS, the “New Nintendo 3DS”, will also get an anniversary bundle. The handheld will come with two cover plates, one depicting the cover art of Pokemon Red, and the other the cover art of Pokemon Blue. Both games will also be pre-installed on the console.

If you already own a 3DS console, then don’t worry: Nintendo has recently released a trailer for a new title for the 3DS, officially called “Detective Pikachu: Birth of a New Duo”, which will release in Japan on February 3. The game will have Pikachu solving cases with his sidekick, and will most likely be reminiscent of the Ace Attorney and Professor Layton games. It is unknown if the game will be released outside Japan, but if it will, fans already have a petition with 20,000 signatures asking for Danny DeVito to voice Pikachu.

Here is the trailer for Detective Pikachu: Birth of a New Duo:

Pokken Tournament

Nintendo hasn’t forgotten about their home console, the Wii U either. This is why they are launching Pokken Tournament: an arcade Pokemon fighting game on their console. Although the game has already been available since July in Japanese arcades, the retail version will be launched worldwide on March 18. The game has two players choosing from one of the 16 Pokemon available and fighting it out in an arena. Nintendo’s plans for the game was to have it focused on action, rather than tactics, so that both hardcore fighting fans and new, casual players can enjoy the game.