It's an exciting week if you play Pokémon, with the arrival of the first fully-fledged game on Nintendo Switch, Pokémon Let's Go, and a series of new updates topping off a very strong year for Pokémon Go.
If only Kanto Airways had a loyalty scheme. I've been to Pokémon's founding region so many times, now. Red, Blue, and Yellow; back again, by wonderful surprise, in Gold, Silver, and Crystal; once more in the FireRed and LeafGreen remakes and of course all across the land in the TV series, if that counts. And then that's not to mention the perpetually-active Kanto events of Pokémon Go, if I ever missed it for just a second.
Two decades on from Pokémon Red and Blue's arrival here in the west, we're going back to Kanto once again.
After yesterday's out-of-the-blue announcement of a Limited Edition Nintendo Switch bundle to celebrate the release of Let's Go Pikachu and Let's Go Eevee later this year, GAME has now listed both bundles for pre-order, costing Ł339.99.
There's a part of me that wants to say the inside of Creatures Inc., the Tokyo company where Pokémon cards are made, is exactly what you'd expect. That it is everything you've imagined. A Wonkalike dream factory of wonder and weirdness, hidden in plain sight.
After spending some time with Pokémon Let's Go! Pikachu and Eevee, I now understand why The Pokémon Company was at pains to break tradition and mention its plans for a separate, full RPG game in 2019. If it wasn't clear from the brief snippets of footage shown in Pikachu and Eevee's reveal trailer, a few minutes of hands-on gameplay confirms these Pokémon games are very different from the ones you are used to - even more than I was expecting.
For a long time, Pokémon has been playing it safe. In two decades the main series really hasn't changed that much, instead retreating into a kind of calculable routine. New, main series Pokémon RPGs come out every couple of years: each time there's two of them, each time there's probably an enhanced version - either a third, or another pair - and each time Game Freak will add roughly one thing new and take roughly one other thing away, which was probably the new thing they'd just added last time.
Pick out a feature from most Pokémon games and, chances are, Junichi Masuda probably had something to do with it. The long-time director, producer, designer and composer has done everything from designing the intricacies of breeding shiny Pokémon in the main series, to writing the music for Pokémon Go.