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Earlier this year, Japan was hit by a massive earthquake and resulting tsunami, and the country is still recovering. Many, many video game franchises, publishers, developers and fans have offered their support in a myriad of forms - but this latest one is a little bit different.
Instead of selling games, compiling records or holding fundraisers, it's been confirmed that a new Pokémon Center will be built in Sendai City, in the heart of earthquake-ravaged Miyagi Prefecture later this year. Bear with me on this.
This will be the seventh Pokémon Center built in Japan, and the first in the Tohoku region. The Center will be created inside of Sendai's Aer skyscraper, the tallest building in the region.
...and why will it be built in that particular location? For the children! One of the goals stated by the new store: It's designed to bring earthquake-affected children together in a major support initiative.
A local campaign has been organised to run children's events at the Center, handing out Pokémon merchandise, and raise money for the children still coping with the events of March 11th. Anime News Network reports the creators hope the Tohoku Pokémon Center will become a place for "all children in the region to come together and smile".
The seven Pokémon Centers dotted around Japan sell a whole bunch of Pocket Monster-related stuff - clothes, bedding, dishes, accessories, toys and (of course) plenty of games. It's great to see that - for the kids who need it - the price tag will be dropped.
Pokémon creator Satoshi Tajiri was swept up in rumours which swirled immediately following the earthquake and tsunami - Twitter was abuzz with the news that the developer had died in the resulting floods. Tajiri-san laughed it off - asking what all the "nonsense" was about. He's now working as CEO of Nintendo second-party developer Game Freak, whose latest title was the very-well-received Pokémon Black Version/White Version, released in 2010.
I like video games and music and cups of tea and noodles and beagles and colour-cycling LEDs.
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