Also, the unexpected appearance of “Santa Pikachu.”
The gameplay of the mainline Pokémon video games is neatly divided into two elements. First you search for/catch Pocket Monsters, then you use them in battles to improve their combat capabilities.
It’s not so surprising that developer Niantic chose to focus on the “searching for Pokémon” side of things when the franchise came to smartphones with Pokémon GO, since the less competitive aspect of the life of a would-be Pokémon Master is a better fit for casual mobile gaming. Not everyone is committed enough to learn when they should use Pikachu’s Electro Ball attack versus when Thunder Wave is the more appropriate choice, but just about anyone can understand “Go to Haneda Airport and you’ll find some cool Pokémon to catch.”
Unfortunately, the other side of that coin is that before long, dedicated Pokémon GO players had caught most of the species found in the game. So if you’ve been staring listlessly at your filled-up Pokédex for the past few months, you’ll be happy to know that as of December 12, Pocket Monsters from Pokémon Gold and Silver have been added to Pokémon GO!
Pokémon GO Japan (@PokemonGOAppJP) December 12, 2016
Niantic is being cagily tight-lipped about exactly how many new Pocket Monsters it’s added from the second generation of Pokémon video games, but has let it be known that Pichu, the pre-evolved form of Pikachu, and spikey-headed, egg-wearing Togepi are waiting to join your Pokémon stable. You won’t be able to catch them in the wild, though, as they’re currently available exclusively by hatching Pokémon GO’s in-game eggs (which is actually pretty appropriate, considering Togepi’s wardrobe). The developers are promising that other creatures from Pokémon Gold and Silver’s Johto Region will also be making their Pokémon GO debuts soon.
That’s not the only treat for Pokémon GO fans this month, either. Pikachu himself has gotten into the holiday season, donning a Santa cap to celebrate Christmas.
iko (@iko520) December 12, 2016
す (@thesunisthepast) December 12, 2016
北乃カムイ 北海道育成アイドル【公式】 (@kamuikitano) December 13, 2016
Officially dubbed Holiday Pikachu, some fans in Japan have taken to calling him “Pikachu Santa” or “Santa Pikachu,” while some in the English-speaking world seem to prefer “Santachu.”
▼ Holiday Pikachu seems to have an abundance of poses and expressions.
ごましお (@_goofycat_) December 12, 2016
Kevin Chau (@kchau21) December 12, 2016
fei zhuuh. (@feikku) December 12, 2016
▼ Several players have found Holiday Pikachu in rather appropriate environments.
Cisco Labuanan (@CiscoLabuanan) December 12, 2016
ワンダー (@wnd_Dxjtr) December 12, 2016
SANTA🎅SPOON (@sami_spoon) December 12, 2016
So if you’re leaving cookies and milk for Santa on Christmas Eve, don’t forget to set out some ketchup too.
Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’s wondering if Santa Pikachu gives painful electric shocks to bad boys and girls.