It’s Pokémon Day, and both Nintendo and The Pokémon Company International have a lot to celebrate.
On February 27, 1996 the first Pokémon games launched in Japan—21 years later the franchise is still a source of entertainment and camaraderie for fans both young and old alike. This year’s anniversary celebrations extend across the Pokémon universe from games to TV and of course, plenty of nostalgia to go around.
Using the hashtag #PokemonDay, fans are invited to share their favorite moments with the franchise to be included in a photo gallery on Pokemon.com. An all-day Twitch stream will replay memorable matches from the Pokémon trading card game, video games, and Pokkén Tournament from the past several years. The promotions continue on the official web store with the debut of a new Gallery Figures collection designed especially for the Pokémon Center.
For those playing the games, there are several promotions to keep trainers on their toes. Wild Pikachu characters in Pokémon GO will be wearing a party hat from February 26 to March 6 and any Pikachu caught during that time will get to keep its festive look.
Those playing Pokémon Sun and Moon can visit a participating GameStop location through March 5 to receive a free Bottle Cap—unlocking an in-game strength boost for a single Pokémon. Also on Nintendo 3DS, the puzzle game Pokémon Shuffle is offering special promotions as part of the celebrations.
Of course, it’s hard to imagine the “pocket monster” phenomenon without the trading-card game. The Pokémon Trading Card Game Online started its festivities early with extra Trainer Tokens available on the Bonus Wheel for the entire week leading up to Pokémon Day. Players logging onto the site on Pokémon Day will also receive an “extra-special” daily bonus.
For a limited time starting Monday, Pokémon TV will be hosting a marathon featuring full-length animated movies and TV shows online and through the official Pokémon TV app.
It’s no secret that last summer, the whole world caught the “training” bug and Pokémon GO became the most successful mobile launch in history. Not only did Pokémon GO capture the imaginations of consumers everywhere, but of other developers and brands, too—demonstrating the profound possibilities for augmented reality. That hype fueled tremendous success for Pokémon Sun and Moon, resulting in launch day sales exceeding 10 million units. This was a 150 percent increase from the last Pokémon games (Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire in 2014), making them the best-selling titles in Nintendo 3DS history.
Nintendo 2DS and 3DS consoles saw a boost in sales as fans dove into the Pokémon games for the first time, or relived some of their favorite titles. Nintendo even launched a limited-edition Pikachu Yellow Edition New Nintendo 3DS XL to further entice fans to the platform.
Happy Birthday, Pikachu! You’re now old enough to drink!