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The Pokémon series celebrates its 20th birthday with a week of announcements, events and software releases.

Reissue, repackage.

pokemon-red-3dsThe festivities include a trip back in time to 1996 as Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow come to the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console.

They are pixel-perfect ports of the original releases, with one welcome addition. Whereas battles and trading in the Game Boy originals required the use of a link cable, the Virtual Console editions have been upgraded to use the wireless communication functions of the 3DS. It’s an extremely welcome change that means the games can be played just as they were twenty years ago.

It’s also worth noting that the back-lit screen of the 3DS means they can be played indoors without the need of lamp. Modern life is truly wonderful sometimes.

Pokémon Photo Booth

Another software release arrived this week with an addition to the growing range of Pokémon smart phone apps. Pokémon Photo Booth lets you augment your photos with a range of captions in the style of classic Pokémon games. All the old faves are included:

  • _____ wants to battle
  • A wild _____ appears!
  • ______ is evolving!
  • ______ used _____. It was super effective!
  • ______ used _____. It was not very effective!
  • _____, I choose you!

It’s a well designed app and you can share your pics via social media too.

Pokémon Photo Booth

Pokémon Photo Booth is available on the iTunes store for iPhone and iPad now and will be coming to Android devices soon.

Nintendo Direct

Tomorrow sees the broadcast of a new, Pokémon-focused, Nintendo Direct. Unfortunately its big announcement has already been outed by an eagle-eyed Neogaf member who uncovered two new Pokémon logos in the European Union Trademark Database. In addition, two URLs that redirect to the main Pokémon website have been found.

The new games – which will come to Nintendo 3DS – appear to be called Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon. If nothing else this indicates a widening of scope for the series. They are certainly better names than our predictions of Pokémon Salt and Pepper.

Pokémon Sun & Pokémon Moon

Although it’s fantastic that new Pokémon games are on the way, it’s a shame the secret couldn’t have been kept for another 24 hours. Hopefully there will be at least one more surprise and if we could have a birthday wish come true, it would be for Pokémon Snap 2 to be announced for Wii U.

Pokémon Day

And finally, February 27th sees a range of special Pokémon events taking place around the world. In the US there are promotions at Toys“R”Us, GameStop and at the Nintendo Store in New York. You can find out more at the Pokémon 20 website.

So there you go, lots to enjoy. Happy Birthday, Pokémon.

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