What started in 1996 as a video game about collectable "pocket monsters" has grown into so much more.
This year, Pokémon celebrates its 25th anniversary, and in addition to enlisting the help of pop singer Katy Perry to celebrate, the creators behind the popular franchise are holding virtual events and releasing new games and special merchandise to celebrate.
If you've got Pokémon fans in your household, check out our list of everything we know so far about the anniversary celebration. Rest assured that 2021 will be a Poké-filled year, and when it comes to these special happenings, you and your family will want to catch 'em all.
New video games
On Feb. 26, Pokémon announced that it plans to release three new Nintendo Switch video games. The games Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl are set to launch in late 2021, and Pokémon Legends: Arceus will launch in early 2022. All three releases will center around Pokémon found in the Sinnoh region of the game.
In addition to Katy Perry, Pokémon will team up with Universal Music Group to work with a variety of musicians to create special Pokémon-themed music, which will be released throughout the year. Pokémon announced its collaboration with Katy Perry in January, saying that details about her participation and the other artists in the lineup will be announced at a later time.
Virtual concert featuring Post Malone
Feb. 27 is Pokémon Day, the franchise's official birthday, so Pokémon is teaming up with musician Post Malone to celebrate with a virtual concert. The event will be free to view on Pokémon's YouTube and Twitch channels, and more details about upcoming P25 Music events will be announced at the end of the concert.
Exclusive in-game Pikachu
On Feb. 25, Pokémon distributed a password to allow players of the "Pokémon Sword" and "Pokémon Shield" video games to add a special Pikachu to their game play. Because this year is a year of music, the character will know a special "sing" move, which it ordinarily cannot learn within the game.
Music-themed animated episodes
On Feb. 27, Poké-fans also will be able to watch a special selection of curated music-themed episodes of the Pokémon animated series on the Pokémon TV website.
Pokémon Happy Meals
For a limited time, McDonald's Happy Meals will come with a booster pack of Pokémon trading cards. The cards all feature the Pokémon 25 logo and and highlight some of the original Pokémon, including Pikachu.
Live-action celebration video
In a YouTube video created just for the special anniversary, a Poké Ball zooms past Pokémon, trading cards, plush characters, video game clips and more. It's Pokémon's special way to summarize all the milestones from its 25 years as a franchise, and it's a fun walk down memory lane for fans.
25th anniversary-themed products
To kick off the celebration, Pokémon announced a collaboration with Bear Walker skateboards in January. Fans of the franchise can purchase limited-edition skateboards, and should be on the lookout for plenty more themed merchandise coming to Pokémon Center in 2021.
New trading cards
The Pokémon Trading Card Game will be getting special 25th anniversary edition cards added to the mix later in 2021. In the meantime, oversized trading cards featuring Pikachu and many more Pokémon will be available starting Feb. 26.
Special merchandise and collaborations
Throughout the year, Pokémon has teased that it will announce collaborations with Build-A-Bear Workshop and other brands for special promotions and merchandise.
Pokémon Go: Kanto event
To help celebrate, the mobile game Pokémon Go, which also celebrates its fifth anniversary this year, held a special event within the augmented reality game on Feb. 20. Game developer Niantic says the event, which is an extra purchase within the app, will take Pokémon trainers back to the early days of the Pokémon franchise by making the first 150 Pokémon originally found in the Kanto region of the game available to catch. A Kanto-themed "raid day" also is scheduled for Feb. 28.
At any time during the celebratory year, parents can visit the Pokémon 25th Anniversary website for the most current updates on events and collaborations.
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