Nintendo Celebrates 20th Anniversary of Pokémon

Pokémon characters Pikachu and Ash. PHOTO CREDIT: FANPOP.COM
Pokémon characters Pikachu and Ash. PHOTO CREDIT: FANPOP.COM

By Jeremiah Rivera

In celebration of their 20th anniversary, Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow versions were re-released as digital downloads on the Nintendo eShop for the Nintendo 3DS family of systems allowing a new generation of fans were able to get the opportunity to experience the original Pokémon games.

The Pokémon Company International has held a lot of fun engagements for the game, which made its debut in the United States in 1996.

“With classic graphics and timeless gameplay,” Nintendo said in a statement to GameSpot. “These versions of the original Pokémon adventure are proving to be a popular way for fans to celebrate the anniversary of the series.”

Originally known as Pocket Monsters, the franchise took Japan by storm. Pocket Monsters was created by Satoshi Tajiri and with the help of Gamefreak, the original pair of video games (Red and Green versions) were created.

“Every game is basically the same formula but something about it just makes it fun for me,” said Chris Tineo, a GameStop employee. “The goal of catching every single Pokémon gets more challenging with each new game.”

Tineo went on to say that he purchased the Pokémon 20th anniversary 3DS which came with Pokémon Blue and Red already installed. Pokémon Yellow was the first game he ever purchased from the franchise, so he was ecstatic to finally be able to play the original games he was unable to enjoy during its original release.

Debuting for Nintendo’s original Gameboy handheld system in 1995, the franchise centers around fictional creatures called “Pokémon” in which humans known as Pokémon Trainers (the player), catch and train monsters and battle other trainers to compete to become champion.

“I think Pokémon has been so successful because it stays true to RPG (Role Playing Game) elements,” said Brienne Kenlock, a student at York College. “Pokémon experiments with new elements each generation to see what works and what doesn’t.”

Kenlock went on to say that the variety of creatures and battle tactics the player can use to improve their monsters help create an experience of a virtual adventurer.

Pokémon fans have been able to be featured on Pokémon’s official website in celebration of the 20th anniversary. Using the hashtag #Pokemon20 fans are able to share their favorite Pokémon moments via social media sites like Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. According to their official site, Pokémon would choose their favorite submissions and send mysterious prizes to a selected few.

“At the end of the day I’m just happy I found #Pokemon20 and my 3DS,” said Pokémon fan, Corbyn Burik, in a tweet.

Nintendo World located on Rockefeller Plaza in New York, also took part in celebrating the anniversary.

“Whether you are a veteran or a newcomer, everyone was invited to ‘Pokémon Day’ here at the store” said Rachel Pardoe, a team member at Nintendo World. “We held a Pokémon Tournament at the end of February called Kanto Classic Online where players were only able to use the original 151 Pokémon.”

Not only did Nintendo bring back the old Gameboy games for their latest handheld system, but they also upgraded them. The re-released games were brought up to today’s standards of portable gaming. The use of a Gameboy link cable to play against other players is no longer required. For the first time in the history of the original Pokémon games, players are now able to connect wirelessly via the internet battle against or trade with players worldwide.

Since the launch of the 20th anniversary Pokémon Nintendo 2DS device before the beginning of Spring, Nintendo plans on continuing the festivities with the first ever Pokémon fighting game.

Developed by Bandai Namco, Nintendo’s Pokken Tournament is a fighting game that combines Bandi Namco’s Tekken series with characters from the Pokémon franchise.

Fans of the franchise got the opportunity to play Pokken Tournament at Nintendo World on Rockefeller when the game premiered on March 18th.

The Pokken Tournament and the Pokémon themed Nintendo 2DS devices are Nintendo’s prime showcases of them acknowledging one of their most lucrative and successful franchises. The classic Pokémon 3DS re-release continues to shatter eShop sale records according to IGN news.

The re-release of Blue, Red, and Yellow versions and the release of Pokken Tournament would not be the main events of the anniversary.

“There’s lots of stuff planned for the 2016 year but nothing I can talk about now” said the Pokémon Company International’s Director of Consumer Marketing J.C. Smith.

York College students are speculating what other surprises Nintendo could possibly produce to acknowledge this franchise.

“I heard their coming out with a Pokémon game for mobile devices so that could possibly be the next surprise Smith is referring to,” said Leroy Marda,19, an Art History major at York College.

The latest surprise in the anniversary celebration is the announcement of new additions to the Pokémon franchise. Pokémon Sun and Moon are the newest additions, which has sold more than 275 million video games since its debut. The game will introduce a new storyline and feature brand new Pokémon for players to capture but, some Pokémon fanatics would like to see fan favorite characters return to the new generation.

“I’ve been playing Pokémon since I was kid,” said Christopher Rodriguez, a Studio Art major at York College. “I really want them to bring back the legendary dogs for the new games and have an event based on Mew since he is one of the rarest legendary Pokémon.”

Nintendo is constantly amazed by Pokémon fans and inspired by their support.

“Their support has been a key reason for why we’re able to celebrate 20 years,” said Ashton Shurson, a media associate for Nintendo. “We’ve reached a point that our original fans are passing down their love for Pokémon to their children, now Pokémon fanatics span multiple generations.”

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