Pokémon Celebrates 20 Years with Pokémon Day & #Pokémon20!

On February 27th, 1996, the first Pokémon games launched. Pokémon Red and Pokémon Green hit the Japanese market like a super-effective showdown. Today Nintendo celebrates the 20th anniversary with its many millions of fans. Join me in celebrating #Pokémon20 with our many friends around the world.

For many of us, Pokémon started as a childhood obsession in 1998, when it was released in North America. It was (almost) my first real geekdom. Sure I’ve sunk my teeth into many a passion, but Pokémon will always have a spot deep and strong in my heart (admittedly mixed up with some serious Power Ranger addiction, but that’s not for today). The first time I held a Pokémon card in hand, the first time I repeatedly smashed that “A” button, sure it would help me catch a Rattata, those moments are in my core identity as a geek.

Proud owner of too many Red things, but particularly in love with Charizard in all forms. Image: Rory Bristol
Proud owner of too many Red things, but particularly in love with Charizard in all forms.
Image: Rory Bristol

Now, 18 years later, I peruse my (shamefully large) collection of trading cards, and play every Pokémon game I can get my hands on. From Pokémon Picross (3DS) to Pokémon Snap (N64), any chance to look at my oldest friends brings me joy. As I think about it, I’m amazed at myself. I’ve loved Pokémon so long, my childhood friend is an adult. #GrowingUp

Image: The Pokemon Company
Image: The Pokemon Company

To celebrate the anniversary, Nintendo has really made a splash (and not the Magikarp kind). Yesterday, the collectible balls hit the wall as Nintendo announced a new generation of Pokémon: Pokémon Sun/Pokémon Moon. It won’t be available until Holiday 2016, but you can already pre-order it on Amazon. This new edition will be available to play in English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, Korean, Japanese, and both Traditional and Simplified Chinese, more languages than any other Pokémon game to date.

If you can’t wait until December to get some new Pokémon digital content, check out Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow, re-released on the 3DS as digital content. Thanks to an update, the Pokemon Bank can upload your Red, Blue, and Yellow teammates to your brand new copy of Pokémon Sun or Pokémon Moon, too! Each version is only $10.00, so it’s easy enough to get the 8-bit experience for the whole family.

Starting at 10:00 a.m. (PST) today, you can tune in to Twitch.tv/pokemon and watch the Pokémon team play, talk, and entertain you. Then, beginning at 6:00 p.m. (PST) a 24-hour marathon of Pokémon movies, specials, and favorite episode will begin, and last until 6:00 p.m. Sunday night.

Nintendo has set up a website specifically for the anniversary event, called Pokémon20. It will run with features all year, including Mythical Pokémon downloads, exclusive products, and an epic timeline which allows you to follow the footsteps of Pokémon as it took over the world and the hearts of children and the young at heart. Keep an eye on it to get free stuff all year!

Image: Rory Bristol made with the Pokemon Photo booth iOS app.
Image: Rory Bristol made with the Pokémon Photo booth iOS app.

Finally, to show your Poké-pride, download Pokémon Photo Booth, available both in the App Store and on Google Play, to fancy up your profile pic, like mine above. I used the 8-bit filter, but there are many to choose from. Enjoy the celebration folks, and don’t forget to check out Pokémon20.com to get your Mythical Pokémon download schedule!

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Rory is a newly appointed stepparent to two awesome geeklings. He also writes for mental health awareness at Terminally Intelligent.