Pokémon Has A Lot Planned For Its 20th Birthday

Will Pokémon Z take part in the celebrations?

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The games that hatched the Pokémon phenomena worldwide, Pokémon Red and Blue, were initially released 20 years ago in February 1996 for the original Game Boy portable system. To celebrate, Nintendo announced today it will be making a commemorative new 3DS system with custom Charizard and Blastoise swappable cover plates. The bundle also includes copies of both games–Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue–and an exclusive home screen theme.

Nintendo first announced plans for the upcoming Pokémon 3DS bundle during its latest Nintendo Direct event. Along with announcing Cloud’s appearance in Super Smash Bros, the gaming giant introduced plans to provide Poké-fans with all the hype they’d need to gear up for the re-release of Pokémon Red, Blue and Yellow on the Nintendo eShop.

Now that the regular-size 3DS has made its way west, the faceplate craze can finally take root. What better way to remind people that swapping themes to their liking is still an option than with one of the gaming company’s most popular properties ever?

Along with the New 3DS bundle, fans of the 2DS can look forward to hardware themes belonging to each version: Red, Blue and even Pokémon Yellow. Fans can also look forward to a Super Bowl ad during the month of Pokémon festivities.

Pokémon fans have a lot to look forward to next month to celebrate the game’s 20th anniversary. In addition to the first games on Game Boy coming to 3DS, the newest Pokémon game, Pokkén Tournament, coming to Wii U. Characters like Lucario, Machamp and–of course–Pikachu are set to brawl it out in the arcade game-turned-Wii U title in Q2 of this year. And with a new character coming to the ring, the Pokémon version of Tekken will be sure to impress fans of fighting games and pocket monsters alike.

In addition, owners of the current Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire games can look forward to distributions of rare monsters in the coming months–starting in February, according to Serebii. The event distribution of rare Pokémon include Mew, Celebi, Jirachi, Manaphy, Darkrai and more. Even the god Pokémon Arceus is up for grabs.

Nintendo isn’t just cashing-in on nostalgia, however. The company is using the popularity of its Pokémon franchise to enter new arenas: Pokémon Go will be an upcoming augmented reality game that lets players try and catch the pocket monsters in the real world with an accessory, and Pokémon Shuffle is Nintendo’s first-ever smartphone game — though both were announced well before the 20th anniversary editions.

But there’s still no word on Pokémon Z. With all the coming Pokémon announcements to look forward to, one of them is not the Zygarde game (expected to come as an updated version of the gen 6 games, X and Y). Since the release of Pokémon Yellow, fans have held high hopes for the “third game” that releases later on to match the initial two. With a Pokémon Z release rounding out the introduction of 3D graphics with the X and Y games in 2013, some expect the game to come this year. But no mention of a new game has many fans on edge. Let’s hope that Super Bowl ad brings something big.