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Pokemon Go has first birthday

Time flies when you're catching billions of Pokemon. The popular mobile game Pokemon Go is now celebrating its first birthday, with fans being gifted various in-game items to mark the occasion. Out in the wild, you'll also be able to catch a special version of Pikachu wearing Ash's hat from the animated series.

For many, their first exposure to Pokemon was the adventures of a plucky youngster named Ash, his trusty Pikachu and a collection of friends who were always at his side. For Pokemon Go's first anniversary, the mobile altered reality game is taking inspiration from those good ole days, unleashing an army of Pikachu into the wild wearing Ash's unmistakable hat. It sounds like those critters will be in pretty high supply, so all you need to do is get out and play the game for a while to snag one of your own.

The Pokemon Go anniversary celebration actually started a few weeks ago with a major update to the game. This included revamped gym experiences, as well as the introduction of raid battles that let multiple players come together to battle legendary foes as a single team. While the process might not be going as quickly as some folks would like, Pokemon Go is inching closer and closer to being a true real-world Pokemon experience.

On top of the update and the special Pikachus, though, the celebration also includes some special gifts for folks still playing the game. There will be a special Anniversary Box made available within the game that includes incubators, Max Revives, Ultra Balls and Raid Passes at a discounted price. If you have been playing Pokemon Go regularly, consider this Niantic's way of saying thanks. If you haven't been back in a while, all of these new updates and that Anniversary Box make now a pretty good time to return to the fray.

As a heads up, the hat-wearing Pikachu will only be available through July 24 at 1 p.m. PDT. If you don't catch one by then, there's no telling when you'll get another chance. While there's no date tied to that specialty box, we imagine it'll be on the same timer for availability, but don't quote us on that one.

Niantic made all of these announcements through a recent blog post, where they announced additional celebration activities are on the horizon. They're also gearing up to offer additional information on Pokemon Go Fest Chicago later this month, so keep your eyes peeled for additional details.

And in case you're wondering what the most recent count is, Niantic said folks have caught 125 billion Pokemon during this first year with the game, as well as "made countless memories." Some of those memories included wrapping cars around trees, getting lost in a cave and losing jobs because of the game, but we suppose you've got to take the bad with the good, right?

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