How Nintendo handled the Pokemon 20th Anniversary – a retrospective

How Nintendo managed and progressed their Pokemon games on their 20th anniversary represents a significant trend in culture to look back over. This short post is a summary of what Nintendo did for Pokemon’s 20th Anniversary year.

Released a rare Pokemon each month through card distribution, or online

Legendary Pokemon usually come in sets of three, but there is always one rare, unique legendary – Mew, Celebi, Jirachi, Deoxys, Manaphy, Phione, and Darkrai for example. Releasing one of these unique legendary Pokemon each month kept the gamer and collector fanbase engaged throughout the year.

The rarest Pokemon were always at the front of the community’s collective mind, particularly on social media. Pokemon trainers tweeted out reminders of when new Pokemon were available, and when new plushies and merchandise were on sale. When legendary Pokemon were available through a code printed on a GameStop or EB Games distribution card, gamers shared their extra cards through social media.

Re-released the three original Pokemon games, and linking these games to the most recent titles

Just as the Pokemon 20th anniversary started, Nintendo re-released Pokemon Red, Pokemon Blue, and Pokemon Yellow for the Nintendo 3DS virtual console. The release came with the announcement that the older games would link to the most recent.

Just before the end of the 20th anniversary year, the Pokemon Bank link between the oldest and newest games went live. Nintendo kept a key promise to the fanbase.

Released PokemonGO, after a strong trailer and marketing plan – the effects of which were unprecedented.

From my point of view, PokemonGO was significant, bringing Pokemon back to the levels of phenomenal popularity not seen since the mid to late 1990’s. One of the best outcomes?Many gamers  reported leaving their house, meeting people, and making new friends through the app’s outdoor gameplay.

Looking back over the past year, Nintendo has celebrated the impact their Pokemon games have had on gaming culture and the history of gaming and animation, artwork and world culture. They made several promises, and kept them.

One more legendary Pokemon distribution  event continues for another few days. The rare Pokemon Magearna is still available to download from the American Pokemon website, and from Australian website Pokemon Australia.


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