With only one month until Pokemon Sun & Moon are released, the hype is pretty strong among Pokemon fans! Trailers have been showing so several new mechanics and hinting at interesting story lines, and many fans have already formed strong opinions on the game and its new Pokemon. As difficult as it may be, I’d like to break away from the latest news, just for a moment, and look back at all the great (and maybe not so great) elements of the previous Pokemon games, and see how far we’ve come in the past two decades. If you have time to cram in a game you haven’t played yet, here is my personal list of worst-to-best, that hopefully can provide some aid or strike up an interesting debate!
*This list contains only the main games for Pokemon. N64, Gamecube, Mystery Dungeon Series, etc. are not included.
9. Black/White/Black 2/White 2 (DS)
I’ll be honest, I really didn’t like Black/White. Everything about it really didn’t jive with me. I wasn’t a fan of the new Pokemon designs, the graphics looked clunky, your friends in the game are kind of annoying, the story wasn’t that great, and it honestly just wasn’t that great as a whole. The seasons thing could have been cool, but it wasn’t. It happened way too quickly for me to really enjoy. I have yet to personally meet someone who actually liked Black/White, but I guess they were liked enough to actually receive direct sequels.
8. Diamond/Pearl/Platinum (DS)
Honestly, I found these to be a little too similar vibe-wise to R/S/E, if that makes sense. Wireless/wifi trading – and having internet connection in general – was groundbreaking, I’ll give them that, because struggling to keep connection with the gamelink was troublesome, but I found the games to be a little. . .boring. It really just felt like another Pokemon game. Catching Pokemon, battling through gyms, defeating some sort of enemy team – you can only do it so many times. D/P/P weren’t horrible, but there really wasn’t anything there to make them better than the earlier games.
7. Leaf Green/Fire Red (GBA)
I think it might have been a little too early to remake the original games. Yeah, having updated graphics was nice, but they didn’t feel necessary to me, and the addition of the Sevii Islands wasn’t really enough to make a whole new experience, compared to ORAS’s Delta Episode. LG/FR weren’t bad games, they’re definitely worth checking out, but other than being able to trade with R/S/E, there really wasn’t much of a point for me. Now, if the original games could be remade for 3DS, I’d be stoked.
6. Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald (GBA)
So. Much. Surfing. It’s really no wonder how I found a shiny Tentacool. I think the coolest thing about R/S/E were the graphics. Yeah, it’s a given that they should improve over the Game Boy ones, but it was still neat to actually have full scenery and color in a Pokemon game. More cool new stuff was added, like contests, but we lost the day/night feature. With the addition of new teams, the game you got changed the story line a bit more drastically. That being said, some kind of story beyond “Hey, Team Rocket sucks, can you get rid of them for us?” was added, though I can’t stay the plot was really the game’s strong point. Having a new Pokemon game on a new system was cool, but it really did not match the excitement that G/S/C gave me. Also, after the additions Yellow and Crystal brought, Emerald didn’t really meet my “special edition” standards. On a side note, I knew braille for about a month from trying to catch the Regis, so I guess I learned something new from playing.
5. X/Y (3DS)
After Black/White, I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to attempt X/Y. Luckily, the 3DS Pokemon games were a huge step up. Though the 3D could have been neater and utilized more, the anime-ish graphics were aesthetically pleasing, as well as the game’s French-styled scenery as a whole. I’m also a sucker for Pokemon-amie. Though it was the most recent and high-tech game, it somehow had a back-to-basics feel. Plenty of beloved Kanto Pokemon appeared in the wild, plus the inclusion of the original starters and legendaries was a great way of bringing the past into the present. I’m still a little bummed that we never got a Z version. . .
4. Heart Gold/Soul Silver (DS)
Fantastic remake of G/S! Everything I loved was there. . . So keep reading to find out why I thought G/S/C was so fantastic! I have HG/SS ranked a little lower though since it didn’t have the same excitement around it for me, and wasn’t as big of an advancement for the series as the original was. However, the first Pokemon in your party would follow you around and it was super cute! WHY did they take that feature out??
3. Red/Blue/Green(JP only)/Yellow (GBP/GBC)
The games that started it all! When the Nintendo eShop released them for digital download, it was hilarious to hear the new reactions of people who were playing them for the first time. “Where is the Daycare to lay eggs? Why can’t my Eevee evolve into Sylveon? Why is Magnemite only electric? I WALK SO SLOW!” Sure, R/B/Y are pretty dated, but they are still excellent games that should be played by all Pokemon fans. Very basic game play, simple story line, but still pretty fun compared to some older games in different series. Even if the game is too simple for you, there are hundreds of crazy hacks and glitches you can do to entertain yourself, like catching Mew, multiplying your items, visiting Glitch City, and encountering Missingno. Yellow especially was neat since it loosely incorporated the anime’s story, so you had a Pikachu as your starter and it followed you around, eventually are given all 3 original starters, and you occasionally encountered Jessie and James. Plus, it was for Game Boy Color, while the originals were for Pocket, so every town had its own unique color scheme.
2. Gold/Silver/Crystal (GBC)
If the game battery didn’t die so freaking fast, it would be perfect, especially for its time. Having a new region and group of Pokemon was super exciting for those who played or watched through the first region. At the time, we had no idea there would be more than 151 Pokemon, so having a sequel game was a really big deal. G/S/C really set the pace for every game after it. Pokemon were gendered, they could hold items, lay eggs, more types and evolutions were added, you had some sort of gadget with neat apps. As annoying as some of the phone calls were, it was still a cool feature that I wish stayed in the later games, along with the radio. Crystal was also the first game to give you the option to play as a female, which was especially appreciated among little girls like me. Though the graphics were still subpar (as they seem to always be), it was the first in the series to be in more than one color, and the Pokemon battle sprites in Crystal could move, so it was definitely a step up. Being able to play through the Kanto region was awesome, and it would be cool to be able to play through old regions more, but I suppose cramming now 7 other regions into one game may be a bit of a hassle. More than anything, the day/night feature was stellar, despite the toll it took on the battery (and the amount of times my mom yelled at me for playing past my bed time). I really hope to see Sun and Moon bring this back, given the game titles.
1. Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire (3DS)
It almost feels taboo to put the latest game as my number 1, but I was blown away by the 3DS remakes of Ruby and Sapphire. Tech-wise, it had the same features as X/Y, plus the Pokemon radar system, which made finding Pokemon SO much easier! The story was presented so well, I wish the actual anime was like this – maybe I would have kept watching it! Lots of the cut scenes were really cute, exciting, and even a little emotional, and the delta episode provided plenty of post-game fun. Flying with Latias and Latios was an incredible new experience. My only complaint is that if you don’t look at an online guide, finding all the legendaries may be a struggle, but in this day and age, that isn’t too hard to do. Even if you weren’t a fan of the original Ruby/Sapphire, ORAS is definitely worth checking out.
So, how does your personal list match up with mine? Are there any games that you loved or disliked? How are you feeling about Sun and Moon so far? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below!
Thanks for reading! 🙂