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Niantic’s going back to basics for Pokémon Go’s eighth anniversary

July 6th will mark eight years since Pokémon Go first rocked the world
Niantic’s going back to basics for Pokémon Go’s eighth anniversary
  • Pokémon Go turns eight on July 6th
  • Plenty of Pokémon will wear party hats for the celebration, starting June 28th
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Pokémon Go will soon be celebrating its eighth anniversary, and in the leadup to July 6th, Niantic plans to release plenty of partying Pokémon pals into the wild.

Naturally, players will be tasked with catching ‘em all, including the new costumed Grimer and Muk, looking quite dapper in their conical party hats.

The pair have most probably been chosen for their PokéDex numbers, 88 and 89, considering this year marks the eighth anniversary of the geolocation giant. They will begin to appear in-game on June 28th, eight days before the actual anniversary.

Gotta catch ‘em all… again

During the celebration period - strangely running only until July 3rd instead of July 6th - fan-favourite Pokémon like Pikachu, Bulbasaur, Charmander, Squirtle and Eevee will also appear wearing party hats, while starter Pokémon from Chikorita through to Popplio will be staggered across set days.

This offers a chance for fanatics of each Pokémon era to find their favourites, with 90s players set to see familiar faces on June 28th and younger fans scoring their starter companions on July 2nd. Most of these Pokémon have a chance to be Shiny too - a rare colour variation designed to keep players catching the same species again and again until they finally find the one.

Raids are going retro too with hat-wearing Pokémon from the Game Boy age taking the spotlight, meanwhile paying players can encounter a Shiny Celebi provided they fork over $5 for the Whispers in the Woods story.

On the customisation side - a contentious subject since one recent update saw an overhaul to all players’ appearances - gamers shouldn’t expect a return to their earlier designs but can look forward to bird-themed attire like Oricorio hats in all four styles and an eye-catching, loose-fitting Noctowl jacket.

Finally, event bonuses will be active during the celebratory period granting an increased chance of obtaining Lucky Pokémon in trades, helping players’ Friendship Levels grow faster, doubling experience yield for catching Pokémon, and more.

All in all, it’s a similar celebration to last year’s and not the most inventive, with hat-wearing Grimer and Muk new additions but the starter Pokémon all returning again as they did last year.

As some of the most popular and recognisable Pokémon out there, this makes sense as a marketing move but may not be the most exciting for longtime players. Then, perhaps the biggest AR game on the market doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel a second time…