It's Officially the Pokemon Franchise's Birthday

The clock has struck midnight in Japan, meaning that it's now the 24th anniversary of the Pokemon franchise. On February 27th, 1996, Game Freak, Nintendo, and Creatures Inc. released Pokemon Red and Pokemon Green, the first two games in what would eventually become one of the largest video game franchises in history. The unique RPGs were built around capturing, training, and battling 150 strange monsters called Pokemon, which lived in an alternate world strongly influenced by the Kanto region of Japan. Not only did the games have a unique social aspect to them (as you could trade and battle with other players), it was also one of the first RPGs to tap into a collector's mentality that caused players to come back to the games even after they defeated their main objectives.

By the time the Pokemon games had made their way to the United States two years later, the Pokemon franchise was already a hit in Japan. The syndicated release of the Pokemon anime ensured that the games were equally successful in the United States and led to a wave of "Poke Mania" culminating in the theatrical release of several Pokemonmovies. Although "Poke Mania" eventually cooled, Pokemon never really left the worldwide pop culture consciousness, as evidenced by the unparalled success of Pokemon Go in 2016.

Between eight generations of games, a long-running anime series, and countless spinoffs and toys, the Pokemon franchise is one of the world's most successful franchises. While some complain that the main Pokemon games are formulaic, they continue to draw in new fans and keep old fans engaged with the addition of new Pokemon, new mechanics, and new surprises every year.

To celebrate the anniversary of the franchise, the Pokemon Company celebrates Pokemon Day, with festivities starting on the 27th in the United States. Not only will we get a worldwide release of the latest Pokemon movie (a CGI remake of Mewtwo Strikes Back) on Netflix, we'll also get a look at a new Mythical Pokemon and other surprises across a spectrum of games and other parts of the franchise.

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