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Reader Discussion: What Got You Into Pokémon?

The Pokémon brand turns 20 years old this month. While that makes me feel extremely old (I'm feeling super nostalgic just looking at the Red and Blue boxarts), that also made me realize that in those 20 years, there have been a ton of potential points of entry for fans of the series.

For me, the anime and the original run of the Trading Card Game threw their hooks in before the games did. Once I was way into those, I asked for a Game Boy Color for Christmas and began reading the manga. After I got my Game Boy Color and copy of Red, all bets were off. I fell head-first into Pokémania. After Red and Blue, however, I kind of fell out of love as more creatures were introduced and I couldn't keep up. I enjoyed playing LeafGreen and FireRed, but my love was truly rekindled with X and Y, and now I'm excited to replay Red and Blue on my 3DS when they release later this month.

How did you get into the series? Was it one of the games, or did you have a roundabout introduction like I did? Let us know your Pokémon story in the comments below!

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Get Mythical Pokémon Mew Starting Today At GameStop

In celebration of Pokémon’s 20th anniversary, you’ll be able to get some mythical pocket monsters throughout the year. The first is available starting today.

In order to get your hands on a Level 100 Mew, you can get a code card from GameStop (Disclosure: GameStop is Game Informer’s parent company). You’ll be able to add it to Pokémon X, Y, Omega Ruby, Alpha Sapphire.

later this year, you’ll be able to get Darkrai, Arceus, and Genesect. For more on Pokémon’s 20th Anniversary, check out our previous coverage

For those looking for a trip down memory lane, Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow are due out for 3DS via the eShop on February 27.

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Mario Kart And Pokémon Retain Dominance On Best-Selling Wii U, 3DS Lists

With the release of its third-quarter financial report today, Nintendo has also updated its list of best-selling Wii U and 3DS software. While the lists didn't shift greatly, there are some up-and-comers that Nintendo may eye for franchise potential.

We’ve included all the relevant information, including change in sales and placement on the top-selling list. We’ve also recalculated attach rate based on new software and hardware sales numbers. When last we reported, figures were based on sales as of September 30, 2015. Total Wii U sales now sit at 12.6 million, up 1.87 million for the quarter.

  1. Mario Kart 8 (Last ranking: 1)
    • 7.24 million (+1.37 million)
    • 57.5 percent attach (+2.8 percent)
  2. New Super Mario Bros. U (Last ranking: 3)
    • 5.08 million (+200,000)
    • 40.3 percent attach (-9.7 percent)
  3. Nintendo Land (Last ranking: 2)
    • 5.02 million (+20,000)
    • 39.8 percent attach (-6.7 percent)
  4. Super Mario 3D World (Last ranking: 4)
    • 4.63 million (+160,000)
    • 36.7 percent attach (-6.2 percent)
  5. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (Last ranking: 5)
    • 4.61 million (+200,000)
    • 36.6 percent attach (-1 percent)
  6. Splatoon (Last ranking: 6)
    • 4.06 million (+1.64 million)
    • 32.2 percent (+9.6 percent)
  7. Super Mario Maker (Last ranking: 8)
    • 3.34 million (+1.46 million)
    • 26.5 percent (+9 percent) 
  8. New Super Luigi U (Last ranking: 7)
    • 2.42 million (+150,000)
    • 19.2 percent (-2 percent)
  9. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD (Last ranking: 7)
    • 1.69 million (+70,000)
    • 13.4 percent attach (-1.7 percent)
  10. Mario Party 10 (New Entry)
    • 1.65 million
    • 13.1 percent

The updated sales figures put a fine point on how important the holiday quarter is to publishers and platform holders. Mario Kart 8’s gains continue to mount, as it remains a blend of recognizable and accessible.

Splatoon and Super Mario Maker continue their climb. With both still relatively recent releases, we can expect that sales will continue to mount for both. It wouldn’t surprise us to see Super Mario Maker overtake the colorful shooter next quarter.

The drop in attach rates for six titles are normal. The Wii U has had excessively high attach rates due to a lack of competition from third-party titles. We expect acquisitions to spread out as more people purchase consoles. Platform-wide attach rate remains high at more than six games per console sold.

Finally, Wii Party U dropped off the list this quarter. It was replaced by another family-friendly title. Mario Party 10 steps up to fill the gap.

3DS hardware and software sales have also been updated. Handheld sales sit at 57.94 million across all 3DS and 2DS models, up 3.6 million since the September 30 update.

  1. Pokémon X & Y (Last ranking: 1)
    • 14.46 million (+310,000)
    • 25 percent attach (-1 percent)
  2. Mario Kart 7 (Last ranking: 2)
    • 13.03 million (+840,000)
    • 22.5 percent attach (+.1 percent)
  3. Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire (Last ranking: 3)
    • 11.46 million (+770,000)
    • 19.8 percent attach (+.1 percent)
  4. Super Mario 3D Land (Last ranking: 4)
    • 10.63 million (+420,000)
    • 18.3 percent (-.5 percent)
  5. New Super Mario Bros. 2 (Last Ranking: 5)
    • 10.04 million (+570,000)
    • 17.3 percent (-.1 percent)
  6. Animal Crossing: New Leaf (Last Ranking: 6)
    • 9.86 million (+420,000)
    • 17.0 percent (-.4 percent)
  7. Super Smash Bros. for 3DS (Last Ranking: 7)
    • 7.92 million (+550,000)
    • 13.7 percent (+.1 percent)
  8. Tomodachi Life (Last Ranking: 9)
    • 4.89 million (+410,000)
    • 8.4 percent (+.2 percent)
  9. Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon (Last Ranking: 8)
    • 4.75 million (+140,000)
    • 8.2 percent (-.3 percent)
  10. Nintendogs + Cats (New Entry)
    • 3.96 million
    • 6.8 percent

There hasn’t been much shifting in this list, except for the bottom. Tomodachi Life and Luigi’s Mansion switched places. Surprisingly, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D dropped off the list as Nintendogs + Cats made a surprising holiday surge.

Pokémon X and Y continue to taper off in terms of attach rate, but with a substantial lead, it would take a strong push from Mario Kart or a new game to unseat it from the top. It’s unlikely that anything but a new Pokémon game would have the juice to pull that off.

Most of the list includes modest shifts in attach rates, cementing these games as 3DS’ most popular. Expect to see the same games holding fast for the foreseeable future and, depending on Nintendo’s plans, the remainder of the 3DS life cycle.

Looking ahead, if Nintendo is able to deliver The Legend of Zelda on Wii U as planned this year, there’s a good chance of it rocketing onto this list. Star Fox Zero may make a push, but until we know more about what’s changed since E3 last year, it’s unclear if it will have enough content to push people to purchase.

On the 3DS side, Fire Emblem finally has a shot at the top 10 list. With two different versions of Fates, combined sales could amount to enough to crack the list. We’ll update again next quarter.

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Realistic Pokémon Artist Delivers Zapdos And An Interesting Take On Voltorb

RJ Palmer has delivered another impressive realistic Pokémon piece, this time focusing on electric-type pocket monsters.

Raichu, Zapdos, and Magnemites all make an appearance, but my favorite has to be Palmer's take on Voltorb. It looks almost lizard-like. And I don't know that ever seen a Voltorb with an open mouth.

For more impressive work from Palmer click the links to see Ninetales, Steelix and Onix, Kyogre, Tentacruel, and Omastar, Kyurem, Raikou, Abomasnow, and Mr. Mime, Gyarados and Rayquaza, Lugia and Tyrantrum, Giratina, Feraligatr, and Meganium. RJ Palmer has been creating these impressive realistic Pokémon for quite some time. You can see more of his collection on his blog, as well as his DeviantArt page. He's also collected most of his work into a coffee table book which you can buy here.

[Source: arvalis.deviantart.com]

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Pokémon Super Bowl Commercial Is A Concept Piece And An Expensive Gamble

For the first time ever, The Pokémon Company is bringing its long-running, transmedia franchise to the Super Bowl. Today, we have an early look at the minute-long commercial.

The short video evokes feelings of determination, hope, and strength. It does not however mention cartoons, video games, or collectible card games.

(Please visit the site to view this media)

While the commercial most certainly strikes the right tone for the Super Bowl, it relies very heavily on existing awareness. This is a calculated risk, and we’ll be eager to see how it pays off on February 7.

Is there enough of an audience overlap to make the $ 8 – 10 million cost (based on 2015 commercial prices) worth while? Or will football viewers (and those watching for the commercials) simply shrug and ask, “Is Pokémon still a thing?”

Pokémon is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. This commercial is part of those plans, but doesn't seem to point to the rest of the festivities. Perhaps that will change before the commercial airs.

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Pokémon Red, Blue, And Yellow Arrive In February As Part Of 20th Anniversary

This year marks Pokémon's 20th anniversary, and the year is filled with festivities for fans. To celebrate Pikachu and company, The Pokémon Company has a long list of events planned.

In November, Nintendo announced that the original trio of Game Boy Pokémon games is coming to the 3DS. Red, Blue, and Yellow will be available via the eShop on February 27.

Additionally, Nintendo will be selling a New 3DS with faceplates bearing the box art for Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue and the 20th anniversary logo. The handheld will come pre-loaded with both games, and a code for a home theme will be bundled in. The New 3DS bundle will be out on February 27, also.

Later this year, The Pokémon Company will also be holding special retail giveaways. By bringing your 3DS and a copy of Pokémon X, Pokémon Y, Pokémon Omega Ruby, or Pokémon Alpha Sapphire to a GameStop location (Disclosure: GameStop is Game Informer's parent company), you'll be able to get Mew, Darkrai, Arceus, and Genesect. 

February 27 is also Pokémon Day. If you visit a Toys 'R' Us location, you can get foil Pikachu and Magikarp cards from the upcoming Generations expansion. You can also get an activity book and poster featuring the original 151 pocket monsters.

For those that want to revisit the cartoon, The Pokémon Company will be making 12 different movies available via a number of distribution platforms. These include Pokémon: The First Movie, Pokémon: The Movie 2000, and Pokémon 3: The Movie.

This year will also see the release of fighting game Pokkén Tournament on Wii U and Pokémon Go on mobile devices. The only thing that's missing from this lineup right now is a brand new main entry in the series on 3DS or something similar on Wii U.

 

Our Take
Pokémon continues to dominate the 3DS sales lists, and I have no doubt that the Game Boy re-releases will do quite well. It's a wonder though that the series has never fully transitioned to Wii U, especially in an age of connected consoles that would allow for battling among friends. At least we don't need a Game Boy link cable anymore when playing the latest versions.

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Realistic Pokémon Artist Teases Us With Ninetales

The latest masterpiece from Pokémon artist RJ Palmer features the golden fox with a fan of tales.

As you can see in the photo below (and above), Ninetales plays nice with a pre-evolved Vulpix. Can you spot some of the other Easter eggs hidden in the photo?

For more impressive work from Palmer click the links to see Steelix and Onix, Kyogre, Tentacruel, and Omastar, Kyurem, Raikou, Abomasnow, and Mr. Mime, Gyarados and Rayquaza, Lugia and Tyrantrum, Giratina, Feraligatr, and Meganium. RJ Palmer has been creating these impressive realistic Pokémon for quite some time. You can see more of his collection on his blog, as well as his DeviantArt page. He's also collected most of his work into a coffee table book which you can buy here.

[Source: arvalis.deviantart.com]

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Pokemon chief: Iwata was the one who brought Pokemon to the West

In a new 4Gamer interview translated by Siliconera, Pokemon Company chief Tsunekazu Ishihara remembers how Iwata volunteered to do code review and localization planning for the first Pokemon games. …


Gamasutra News

The Pokémon Company Wishes Us Happy Holidays With Shiny Pikachu Ornament

The holiday season can be a magical time for Game Informer's inbox, with piles of well wishes from others in the game industry. We're happy to soak in all the good vibes, but sometimes we like to highlight the holiday greetings that really stand out. In this case, The Pokémon Company sent us a card with some adorable Pikachu art and a wonderful little ornament.

Shiny Pokémon can be quite rare in the wild, which makes our capture of this spiffy ornament all the more special. Fair warning, don't look at the image of the ornament below unless you're interested in ruining your Christmas Day by injected the wrong shade of green: Jealously. Now we just need to track down HM01 so we can learn CUT and use it to chop down a gorgeous tree to hang the ornament on.

See the full interior of the beautifully designed card below. Gosh, Pikachu. That hat looks super handsome on you. Same with the argyle patterns. 

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YouTube Reveals Star Wars Battlefront, Pokémon Go Among Most Viewed 2015 Gaming Videos

As the year winds down, lists start to rev up. YouTube has revealed some new viewership statistics, as well as the top 10 most viewed gaming videos.

The Google subsidiary conducted a survey of more than 4,800 participants, ages 18 to 54. While all of these go online at least once per month, they are split into “general online population” and “gamers.” The only difference is the latter group watches gaming videos at least monthly on YouTube.

Of that second group, which numbered 2001, 30 percent were women. A third are over the age of 35. And 47 percent of those surveyed self-reporting as gamers are parents.  

YouTube’s top 10 gaming videos for year are compiled by measuring views, shares, likes, comments, and other metrics. Of the ten videos, six were trailers or commercials, with the top spot going to Supercell’s Super Bowl Clash of Clans commercial.

The remaining four spots go to comedy, let’s play, and homage videos. Here’s the full list with links:

  1. Clash of Clans: Revenge (Official Super Bowl TV Commercial)
  2. Real GTA
  3. Star Wars Battlefront Reveal Trailer
  4. Five Nights at Freddy's 3 Teaser Trailer
  5. WARNING: YOU WILL DIE | Five Nights at Freddy's 3 – Part 1
  6. Discover Pokémon in the Real World with Pokémon GO!
  7. Fallout 4 – Official Trailer
  8. Elders Play Grand Theft Auto V (Elders React: Gaming)
  9. Halo VS Call of Duty
  10. Final Fantasy VII – E3 2015 Trailer | PS4

YouTube also pulled together a list of the 10 most viewed games. This is measured by number of views and watch times.

  1. Call of Duty: Black Ops 3
  2. FIFA 16
  3. Five Nights at Freddy’s 3
  4. ARK: Survival Evolved
  5. Agar.io
  6. Five Nights at Freddy’s 4
  7. Fallout 4
  8. Mortal Kombat X
  9. Batman: Arkham Knight
  10. Until Dawn

 

Our Take
Having a young child paints a clear picture for me about the way different generations use resources like YouTube. While I visit mainly for research, help with tricky sections of games, or the occasional comedy video, my son uses it as a primary source of entertainment.

He started by learning about Beyblade toys. Then he stumbled onto Minecraft mod videos. From there, it was parkour and Nerf guns. He’s always finding new things, and most recently was watching educational science videos.

When I was a kid we dreamed of on-demand scripted programming and movies you call up at the touch of a button. For our children, they have that, and a wealth of authentic and diverse content on any number of subjects. It isn’t all high quality, but there’s gold there if you’re looking.

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