Nintendo is preparing for the launch of Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire later this month with a "summer tour" of UK locations for the eagerly anticipated title, in association with soft drink Vimto.
Housed in a dome which features a number of Pokemon-themed zones, the snappily-named "Pokemon Live 2003 unleashed by Vimto" tour kicks off at the Toys R Us store in Brent Cross on July 19, and tours around the country in the run-up to the launch of the games on July 25 - for which the dome will be at the Toys R Us store in Solihull, Birmingham.
Kids attending the roadshow will get a chance to try out the new games first hand, along with a goodie bag featuring some Pokemon related stuff and, of course, a can of Vimto.
Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire is likely to be one of the biggest product launches on any platform this year. The games are the first in the franchise to appear on the GBA, and have already shipped over 6.6 million copies in the USA and Japan (4.4 million in Japan since last November, 2.2 million in the USA since March) - proving that the Pokemon brand is still going strong within its target demographic.
Number-crunching on the Pokemon franchise, courtesy of Nintendo's own figures, shows that 24.6 million Pokemon videogames have been sold in Europe since it first launched here in October 1999, while Pokemon merchandise has generated worldwide retail sales of... wait for it... over $15 billion. Crikey.