Today, February 27, is Pokémon Day, an annual celebration of the long-lived multimedia property. More importantly, this is Pokémon’s 25th anniversary, marking two and a half decades since the original Pokémon Red and Green versions arrived on the Game Boy in Japan. (We wouldn’t receive our own Red and Blue cartridges here stateside until two and a half years later.)
Unlike 2016’s 20th-anniversary festivities, which started early and stayed late, this year’s landmark quarter-century observation had been a relatively sedate affair, with the biggest news being last month’s reveal of an updated take on the classic on-rails photography shooter, New Pokémon Snap, and the follow-up that rapper Post Malone would headline today’s virtual concert.
As interesting as those two developments were—I mean, what kind of people wouldn’t want to hear Post Malone cover Hootie and the Blowfish’s 1995 frat party classic “Only Wanna Be With You?” (It’s me. I’m that kind of people.)—they were summarily overshadowed by yesterday’s last-minute Pokémon Presents, a special Poké-centric take on Nintendo’s regular Nintendo Direct video presentations.
Not only did we get a better look at New Pokémon Snap, wherein the best pics from our exciting photographic exploration of the Lental Region can be edited and shared online, but there was no mention of a certain tattoo-faced vocalist! (I kid, Post Malone! I kid!)
Seriously, though, the big news was the announcement of not one but two new Pokémon video game titles coming to the Nintendo Switch in late 2021 and 2022.
First up are the long-rumored remakes of Game Freak’s early-2000s Nintendo DS releases, Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. This return to the Sinnoh Region is not being handled in-house by the storied developer, but instead by ILCA, Inc. And, while the scale and scope of the originals will arrive more or less unchanged, look out for multiple modern gameplay tweaks and a delightfully chibi visual style that is (almost unsettlingly) evocative of old-school Pokémon games.
Speaking of the days of old, next year will see a unique take on Pokémon lore with the release of Pokémon Legends Arceus. Set in an ancient Japanese reinterpretation of Sinnoh where wild Pokémon wander the wilderness and swim the seas, it looks to put a genuinely fresh spin on the well-worn path of the Pokémon Master. While much has already been made about its gauzy graphical finish, traditional woodcut aesthetic, and the role of the titular Mythical Arceus, I’m all about that funky, manually-latched Poké Ball!
Whether you’re planning to spend this Pokémon Day checking out the Post Malone concert, revisiting your family’s favorite games with your geeklings, or exploring some Pokémon-inspired culinary experimentation and classic manga (like my pal the Evil Genius Mom), here’s wishing you and yours an exceptional weekend and 25 more glorious years to the team at The Pokémon Company International!
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