It's A Great Time To Be A Pokémon Fan

The World is an incredibly scary and unjust place at the minute and we've certainly found ourselves squandering our privilege by running to pastures digital to escape it all. Pokémon has been a staple franchise for us and arguably at the heart of the relationship of team TGAM and now feels like one of the best times to be a Pokémon player/fan. We're truly spoiled, despite what the very vocal minority has to say about the direction of the franchise. Here's a run down of just the last few months!

Pokémon Sword & Pokémon Shield
Despite being less than four months old it's been a whirlwind of events and activities that even daily checking of has meant it's been difficult to keep up. Since launch we've been treated to a whole series of raid den events, we got shiny Magikarp galore to celebrate the new year, a trickle of new gigantamax forms in Snorlax and Toxtricity, crazy weather for the leap day, a steady flow of mystery gifts, two online international competitions, a few surprising treats with Pokémon Let's Go and Pokémon Quest compatibility, ongoing battle seasons, various older pokémon added into the game, movie tie-in events (see below), the expansions got announced with a bonus mini-episode and a new slowpoke form and a new mythical announced with Zarude. We've barely had time to settle in to 'end game' and all this activity keeps us logging in on the regular.

Pokémon Home
Despite a bumpy launch with a few remaining issues for a lot of players, Pokémon Home is the app we didn't know we needed. The next to pointless challenge rewards and the ability to easily spot the gaps in the pokédex have given us cause to do some last minute replaying of the DS and 3DS games (a post coming soon about this), we've got reason to care a bit more about Pokémon GO, the virtual console games and we've even gone back to Pokémon Let's Go more than once. Having the whole collection and the GTS on our phone has tapped into a part of us we didn't know we had. There have been a raft of gift Pokémon too including that gorgeous Magearna and functionality exists which looks like we may get a few more on the way soon.

Pokémon TCG
At the same time, the Pokémon TCG is in step with the games, so we're into the Sword and Shield block at the moment, with the second one on the way (after what feels like decades of Sun & Moon) and the cross promotions have even reached UK high streets and much to our surprise, stores were sort of aware that they were participating and even had promotional giveaways in stock (a few weeks after they were supposed to but, hey).

Mewtwo Strikes Back Evolution
Did the world need a CGI tweakmake of the first movie? Not really, but what could have just been a straight to Netflix film release saw tie-in events in Pokémon Sword, Pokémon Shield, Pokémon GO and Pokémon Masters. In Sword and Shield raid dens with the Kanto starting lines appeared as well as tough-as-nails Mewtwo dens (we've beaten a few, please don't bring Tyrannitar). In a nice touch in Pokémon GO clone pokémon and armoured Mewtwo started popping up in raids and photos along with increased spawns of pokémon starring in the film and yet more non-transferable be-hatted event pokémon to take up valuable space in our bag.

Mobile Games
Although we dropped off of both Pokémon Masters and Pokémon Rumble Rush both continue to see a solid programme of additional gatcha being added with some notional tie ins with what's going on elsewhere with the franchise.

Pokémon Esports
We feel like the Esports side of things never receives as much attention as it's due. We're already seen Pokémon Sword & Pokémon Shield debut at Internationals, Pokkén Tournament DX is still in the mix (although official streams would lead you to think otherwise) and the TCG events continue. For the time being, the dynamax mechanic is even making it pleasing to watch the video game tournaments and, for the time being, breaking the dull switching meta that bored the hell out of the end of the Pokémon Ultra Sun & Pokémon Ultra Moon seasons. The last two weekends have had international and national events live streamed and made available through YouTube.

Pokémon: Twilight Wings
IF that wasn't enough there's also the multi-part anime short series Pokémon: Twilight Wings ever so slowly rolling out. The two episodes aired so far add some nice flavour to the Pokémon Sword & Pokémon Shield setting of the Galar region and some of the bit-part characters in the games.

Pokémon Day 2020
Lastly, there was a Google tie-in to celebrate Pokémon Day. After a voting period, where anyone could pitch votes for their Pokémon of the Year the results are in. Of course the winning pokémon was completely unproblematic and not at all a protest vote or a comment on who is or isn't available in the current flagship game. There were also tie-in events with Pokémon GO.

So as you can see, now is the best time to have an unhealthy relationship with a mega-corporation destroying all and any free time that we have. The first of the expansions for Sword and Shield will be upon us in no time and what ever happened to Pokémon Sleep because that's at least 8 hours of the day we're not thinking about, trading, playing or watching pokémon. They're missing a trick!


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