On February 27, 2016, Nintendo and Pokémon Company International are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the classic video and trading card game by re-releasing a base set that includes 60 of the original 102 cards. Coinciding with this release and anniversary ‘celebration’, currently only scheduled for Japan, are other limited edition items, including the original games and Pokémon-themed 2DS handhelds.
According to the company, the limited edition set will feature the original character art and designs for the cards – you’ll get exactly the same cards as you would have 20 years ago. The 60-card set will come complete with a player’s rule book and a coin maker. It will cost ¥1,300 ($10.78 USD), and it appears that each set will include different cards from the 102 originals released in 1996.
In addition to the base set, fans can also snag classic sleeves and a playmat, as well as the original GameBoy games Pokémon Red, Pokémon Blue, Pokémon Green, and Pokémon Yellow (The Special Pikachu Edition), all of which will work with Nintendo’s 3DS. The playmat will go for ¥5,000 ($41.46 USD), while the sleeves will cost ¥715 ($5.93 USD). So far, pricing for the 3DS downloads isn’t available.
On top of all of all of this, Japanese fans can also grab a 2DS handheld themed after the games and pre-installed with the coordinating color game (i.e., the red 2DS will come pre-installed with Pokémon Red). The handhelds will also come with original stickers (feelin’ the 90’s vibe yet?), a map, and a download code for Pokémon Mew that works with 2013’s Pokémon X and Pokémon Y, as well as 2014’s Pokémon Omega Ruby and Pokémon Alpha Sapphire, all for ¥9,980 ($82.75 USD).
Each of these special edition purchases can be made throughout Japan, including Toys R Us, Amazon Japan, and Tsutaya. Of course, the Pokémon stores will also carry everything – and will be the only place to obtain the limited edition Blue 2DS set.
The 2016 date is the 20th anniversary for Japan, but not the rest of the world (at least technically) – North America and the UK didn’t see the release of the trading card game until early 1999. There is a chance the company will make the limited edition products available to these areas shortly after the Japanese release; however, they may also wait until 2019 or keep the products strictly to Japan (although the items will likely make their way to eBay). Around the world, users will be able to snag Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow as a download for their 3DS at the Nintendo eShop; so far, it looks like Green will only be available in Japan.
Whether or not the release will spread outside of Japan is still up in the air, but either way, Pokémon is going to have one heck of a year in 2016 with the mobile augmented reality Pokémon Go and the upcoming Pokken Tournament for Wii U. We’ll update if any information is changed regarding the anniversary release, including if the US and UK will see their own anniversary specials – so stay tuned!
Note – All Yen costs converted to USD are based on current exchange rates as of December 30, 2015.