Nintendo is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the global phenomenon that is "Pokemon" in grand style. Plans include a Super Bowl 50 ad, two new games, updated "Pokemon Red Version," "Pokemon Blue Version" and "Pokemon Yellow Version," and a special Nintendo 3DS bundle. Get ready for a full-on pocket monster invasion.
"Pokemon Red/Blue" introduced the world to Ash Ketchum, Pikachu, Squirtle, Charizard and Bulbasaur and the 151 original pocket monsters on February 27, 1996. The game was an instant hit that spawned every possible tie-in from an animated series to a hugely popular collectible card game to clothes to food. "Pokemon" was, and continues to be, a license to print money for Nintendo. To date "Pokemon" games have sold more than 275 million units, there are 21.5 billion "Pokemon" cards in 74 countries and the animated series is in its 18th season. The latest entry in the game series, "Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire," sold 10.69 million units as of September 30, 2015.
The "Pokemon" Super Bowl 50 commercial kicks off the anniversary festivities. Nintendo could spend up to $5 million for a 30-second ad on February 7. Following Super Bowl 50 will be "Pokemon Day" marking the 20th anniversary of the release of the first two games in the series. A Nintendo 3DS "Pokemon" 20th Anniversary bundle will include "Red" and "Blue" along with new face plates for the handheld console.
Beyond nostalgia, Nintendo will be releasing new "Pokemon" games in 2016. "Pokken Tournament" is among the few announced Wii U games to be released in 2016. "Pokken Tournament" is a bit of a departure for the franchise with players directly controlling the action in the arcade fighting game. Previously, only a handful of characters — such as Jigglypuff, Pikachu, Mewtwo and Lucario — were available in the "Super Smash Bros." series. "Pokemon GO" will be released on mobile devices tasks players with catching Pokemon in the real world.