Tens of thousands of viewers watch a Twitch marathon of episodes from the Pokemon television series and feature-length movies, as the franchise continues its 20th anniversary celebrations.
If there was any need for confirmation on just how popular Pokemon is, twenty years after its initial release, we got it this weekend. A huge crowd flocked to Twitch in order to take in a 24-hour marathon celebrating the franchise’s recent anniversary.
Interviews with people who worked on the games were joined by episodes from the Japanese animated series and several of the feature-length movies that have been released over the past two decades. At its peak, more than 70,000 viewers assembled to take in the stream and react in its lively chat.
The event is one of many promotional efforts to mark the 20th birthday of the Pokemon series, which was officially celebrated on Saturday. Last week saw the original generation of games for the Game Boy released to the Nintendo 3DS via its Virtual Console functionality.
The original trio of Red, Blue and Yellow are still looked back upon fondly by a legion of Pokemon fans. The 3DS release is largely unchanged from their Western launch in 1998, but the downloadable version do allow for wireless local trading and battling, thanks to the abilities offered up by modern hardware.
While Pokemon anniversary celebrations have largely revolved around nostalgia for the series’ early days, the occasion has also been used to make a major announcement regarding its future. Pokemon Sun and Moon were unveiled in a Nintendo Direct broadcast that aired on Friday morning, much to the delight of the series’ most ardent fans.
Despite the fact that the surprise was spoiled somewhat by a leak that circulated on Thursday, response to the new generation has been broadly positive. However, there is some trepidation among the series’ fanbase that sticking with the 3DS rather than waiting for its successor might be a mistake.
Of course, it has to be said that we don’t really know all that much about what Sun and Moon are set to offer. The announcement was light on any real detail about what to expect — although it did reveal that players will be able to transfer Pokemon from the downloadable versions of Red, Blue and Yellow to the new games when they’re released.
Nintendo has plenty of challenges on the way in the coming years, but the strength of its most potent franchises will surely help weather the storm. In the case of Pokemon, it certainly seems like there’s signs of its massive popularity slowing down.
Pokemon Red, Blue and Yellow are available now for Nintendo 3DS.