It’s hard to believe, but Pokémon Red and Blue were released in Japan two decades ago. Nintendo and the Pokémon Company International announced plans to celebrate the long-running franchise with new Nintendo 3DS bundles featuring the original Gameboy titles along with Super Bowl promotions and more.
A Pokémon Day celebration has been set for February 27 with special events taking place at select retailers around the United States and other countries. Details on the exact when and where will be shared on the Pokémon 20th Anniversary website.
On the same day, Pokémon Red Version, Pokémon Blue Version, and Pokémon Yellow Version will all be released as digital downloads on the Nintendo eShop for the Nintendo 3DS. Note that these are faithful releases to the original Pokémon titles released to the Gameboy, so do not expect a graphical upgrade or remaster. However, they will use the Nintendo 3DS wireless capabilities to replace the link cable used with the originals.
Additionally, an all-new New Nintendo 3DS bundle will be released with Pokémon Red Version and Pokémon Blue Version pre-installed. The bundle will also include two unique cover plates featuring artwork from both game covers, plus a Pokémon 20th anniversary logo and an exclusive Nintendo 3DS Pokémon HOME Menu theme.
A price for the Pokémon New Nintendo 3DS bundle has not been announced yet. An Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer bundle retails for $219.99, so expect the Pokémon price to be in a similar range.
The Pokémon celebration also kicks off a new Mythical Pokémon monthly distribution event that will run through 2016. Participating GameStop location will allow owners of a Nintendo 3DS and Pokémon Omega Ruby, Pokémon Alpha Sapphire, Pokémon X, or Pokémon Y to download the Mythical characters.
The distribution event will launch on February 1 with Mythical Mew available until February 24. This will be followed by Celebi, Jirachi, Darkrai, Manaphy, Shaymin, Arceus, Victini, Keldeo, Genesect, and Meloetta in each of the following months with the same date range between the first of the month and the 24th.
The Pokémon Company International plans to go even bigger with the 20th anniversary celebration with a surprising Super Bowl ad buy. The company 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.”
— Pokémon (@Pokemon) January 12, 2016
Meanwhile, all of the previous Pokémon movies will also receive a big push. All 12 full-length films will be made available on iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon video distribution services. This includes digitally remastered releases of Pokémon: The First Movie, Pokémon the Movie 2000, and Pokémon 3: The Movie.
Additionally, those with the Pokémon TV app on the Roku, Chromecast, and Amazon Fire devices will have rotate in each of the feature films every month. They can also be watched via the Pokémon website.
Pokémon has had an undeniably successful run as a video game for Nintendo handheld systems, an animated series, trading card game, and more. The 20th-anniversary press release touts more than 275 million games sold worldwide, 21.5 billion TCG cards shipped to 74 countries, and an animated series spanning 18 seasons.
Are you still a Pokémon fan? What do you think of the 20th anniversary celebration with the different activities and promotions? Sound off in the comments below.
[Image via Pokémon Company International]