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Pokemon Celebrates 21st Anniversary Today

The first Pokemon games hit store shelves 21 years ago today, marking a big anniversary for the franchise. The brand quickly became as much a part of Nintendo's identity as older iconic characters like Mario and Link.

Those first games were Pokemon Red Version and Green Version, released in Japan on February 27, 1996. They're better known in the United States as Pokemon Red and Blue, released more than two years later. So if you're feeling old upon hearing that something you loved is 21 years old, don't worry; to you it's probably only 19 years old.

It's been a big year for Pokemon. The rising tide of the Pokemon Go's blockbuster success lifted all boats, particularly Sun and Moon, which had the best launch yet of the franchise. Pokemon Go itself didn't rest on its laurels, recently releasing Generation 2 Pokemon to bring back lapsed players with the promise of more creatures to collect.

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