In the years you spent growing up, Pokémon just kept happening in the background. Now in its 20th year, the cutesy monster franchise from Nintendo is stronger than before thanks in part to Pokémon Go, the smartphone phenomenon bringing augmented reality to the mainstream by convincing people they’re actually catching Bulbasaurs. Which partly why it’s really the best time to get back into the franchise.
But it’s not just Pokémon Go that’s kept the franchise from being a flash-in-the -pan ‘90s fad. An ongoing anime, new video games, the continuing production of its trading cards, and other pieces of Poké-media are ripe for a revisit by nostalgia-obsessed individuals seeking a reprieve from the harsh realities of rent, insurance, and meeting your significant other’s parents.
If Pokémon Go has you Pokémon Go-ing Nuts Again (what’s up, Hillary Clinton), here are a few great things to check out during the franchise’s 20th anniversary celebrations.
Not too long before Pokémon Go, Nintendo unleashed Pokkén Tournament for the Wii U. It’s a legit fighting game where you control Pokémon one-on-one from the developers behind Tekken. Hence, you know, Pokkén.
Catching Pokémon might be the majority of the fun in Pokémon Go, but strangely absent is an engaging combat system. A bunch of swipes and taps just can’t match up to the strategy and tension of a real battle — thankfully, Pokkén Tournament delivers on that in spades.
2016 Pokémon World Championships
If you happen to be in the Bay Area, the 2016 Pokémon World Championships is headed your way. Competitors from all over the world, including Italy, Germany, South Africa, and Asia Pacific will descend in San Francisco for a weekend in August. While you had fun buying and trading Pokémon, these pros have dedicated a significant chunk of their lives to learning the best strategies for the game, and their efforts pay off in the annual games.
There’s a tournament for both the trading card game and the actual video games, with the latest generation of games being the basis for the latter. You’re pretty much out of luck if you’re just now looking to compete, but there’s always attending in prep for next year, right?
A Mythical Pokémon Every Month!
It’s already July, so you’ve missed out on Mew — who was given out back in February — but Nintendo has been distributing legit Mythical Pokémon for the latest handheld games every month. You can check out a list of the include pocket monsters here.
New Pokémon games: Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon!
If you feel Pokémon Go is severely lacking in all the things you missed in the original Pokémon games — like fishing and stuff — then you’re in luck. Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon, the latest duo of games in the franchise sporting the newest generation of Pokémon is releasing later this year for the Nintendo 3DS. It may have been years since you played a real Pokémon game, or this may be your very first one, but these games are always welcoming for all ages.