2016 marks the twentieth year of Pokemon, a massive series of games, cartoons, trading cards and more created by Nintendo. Pokemon Company International is celebrating not just on the official anniversary date, but throughout the entire year with special giveaways, promotions and throwbacks.
Many members of our generation grew up either catching, training and battling with Pokemon or watching Ash Ketchum attempt to catch ‘em all and be the very best, like no one ever was. We fell in love with our starter Pokemon and learned the Team Rocket motto by heart.
For many, Pokemon is a hallmark of childhood nostalgia. For others, Pokemon is an ongoing adventure with new games being released almost every year.
On February 27, 1996, Nintendo released two games in Japan: Pocket Monsters Red and Green versions. Over the following years, those games were released in North America and then all over the country under the title Pokemon. The original games were followed by 22 more main-series games, spanning 6 different gaming systems from the Game Boy to the Nintendo 3DS.
Although the Pokemon Company aims to engage a new, young audience, they clearly haven’t forgotten their original fans.
To commemorate the 20th anniversary, Nintendo re-released the original Red, Blue and Yellow games for the Nintendo 3DS. The games have been completely preserved, so that playing them now encapsulates much of the essence of what it was like to play them 20 years ago.
In these games, fans of the series can relive the excitement of choosing between Charmander, Squirtle and Bulbasaur and traveling throughout Kanto, battling Gym Leaders and thwarting the evil Team Rocket.
The only downside to the re-release is that downloading and playing the games requires a 3DS, making them less accessible to those who don’t already own the console.
Joseph Blissett, a senior theology major, is a self-described old-school Pokemon fan who started with Crystal version on the Game Boy Color before moving on to Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald. Blissett enjoyed playing the games, and he believes the reason why had to do with the feeling it gave him.
“I think it’s the same reason why people like Skyrim and Fallout and games like that now. They give you a sense of adventure. It was this huge world that you could go explore,” Blissett said.
In addition to games, Pokemon had an animated children’s television show. The original season of the show ran from 1998 to 1999; reruns ran for much longer. At this point, the show is in its 19th season.
However, most people in our generation are mainly familiar with the first season of the show, starring the famous trio of Ash, Misty and Brock. For Pokemon fans interested in re-watching the start of the show, the first season of Pokemon is available to stream on Netflix.
Throughout the year, Nintendo will be hosting various giveaways of legendary Pokemon that are not legally obtainable in-game. Current fans of the series will have the opportunity to legally acquire these Pokemon and say they’ve caught ‘em all.
Many fans are also excited for the upcoming release of Pokemon GO, an augmented reality game for mobile phones. Not many details are known so far about it, and there is no official release date yet.