Game Freak’s beloved Pokémon franchise has been played by hundreds of millions of fans young and old. Despite the core formula largely staying the same, Pokémon has continued to evolve with each new generation, consistently attracting new players long after Game Freak thought their run would come to an end. As we look ahead to Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee!, it’s also a great time to look back on this historic series.

Today marks the 20th anniversary of Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue debuting in North America. Pokémon debuted in Japan two years earlier, but once it became available in the West it transformed into an unstoppable cultural phenomenon. Between the core and spin-off games, TV shows and movies, card games, plush dolls, and so much more, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone alive today that doesn’t know about Pokémon.

When combined with the Japanese exclusive Green and the updated Yellow, the first generation of Pokémon games would go on to sell nearly 60 million total copies. The series as a whole has sold nearly 300 million games, and that’s not including the 800 million people that downloaded Pokémon GO as a free game.

It’s been a wild and fun ride for the last 20 years, and hopefully it continues for another 20. The next stop on this monster-catching tour brings the series right back to where it started, with Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! returning to Kanto for an HD re-imagining of the first Pokémon adventure.

Ben Lamoreux

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