The Pokémon Company Wants You To Play! PokémonS

The Pokémon Company launches its new Play! Pokémon program today, urging Pokémon fans new and old to pull out their pocket monsters in public.

Playing Pokémon on your DS is only the tip of the iceberg as far as the Pokémon experience is concerned. As I witnessed first-hand in June, there's a large community of Pokémon fans all over the world, just waiting for someone to whip up their handhelds or a Pokémon Trading Card Game deck and go to town. Wireless play is all well and good, but seeing the look on your opponent's face when your Squirtle somehow overcomes their Pikachu is priceless.

See, Pikachu is electric, and Squirtle is water, which is weak against electric. Keep up with me here.

It's with this spirit of community play that The Pokémon Company launches the Play! Pokémon program. Formerly known as Pokémon Organized Play, this new program is more than just a nifty logo. It'll provide events for all ages of Pokémon players, from local Pokémon leagues to international tournaments.

Though damn, that logo is pretty nifty.

"We are thrilled to introduce Play! Pokémon to our loyal fan base as well as to new TCG and video game fans," said J.C. Smith, director of Consumer Marketing at The Pokémon Company International. "We want to welcome new fans to our Pokémon community, which has seen incredible growth in player participation over the past several years."

To keep track of Pokémon events in your area and beyond, keep an eye on the organized play section of the Pokémon website.

And for those of you who as in love with this new logo as I am, expect branded merchandise to debut at the Pokémon World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, August 14-15.