Ryan L. Fox
Twenty-five years ago in 1996, Nintendo released two games called Pokémon: Green and Pokémon: Red. Players went on a journey far and wide with their team of Pokémon, trying to fill their PokéDex while trying to beat 8 Gym Leaders and the Elite Four to become the Champion.
Fast forward to present day as the Pokémon franchise has become one of Nintendo’s main staple games, becoming a cultural phenomenon that has not only impacted the video game industry but in mainstream media. With television series, movies (including a live-action one), comics, merchandise, and even a few songs, there’s barely anybody in this world that hasn’t heard about Pokémon.
Now over the same course of time, there have been many Pokémon games that have come out over the years on a variety of platforms like handheld consoles, system console, and even mobile. But out of the games out there, there are only a few that many of the fanbase agree are.
For this list, we are just going to focus on those for handheld consoles (i.e. Gameboy Advance, DS) and not console (i.e. Switch, N64). That being said, let's begin.
Honourable Mention: Pokémon Black & White (Generation V, 2010)
Surprisingly enough, this was a tough choice between these games versus Pokémon Red/Blue/Green and even Pokémon Emerald. But Black & White get the nod here. First, they branched out and introduced an entirely new group of Pokémon that could only be found in the specific region of Unova (where as many games from Generation II to IV had Pokémon from previous regions). Not to mention that the story had a good flow and the antagonist of Team Plasma made a good villain and there was some challenge in gameplay. It also introduced the new concept of 'Seasons' where you could only catch certain Pokémon in areas depending on what season it was.
5. Pokémon Black 2 & White 2 (Generation V, 2012)
Two years later, Game Freak released Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 as direct sequels from Black and White. The gameplay itself takes place 2 years later as you end up starting in a different area of Unova before working your way around the region. Plus you have the introduction of new Gym Leaders as well as a new Pokémon League Champion to change things up. But what puts this higher than Black & White is that there is more in-game and postgame content than Black & White (Pokéstar Studios where you can make movies with your Pokémon, the Pokémon World Tournament where you can battle every Gym Leader, Unova Link where you can actually make the game easier or challenging). Not to mention there is a small side quest within game involving the Xtransreceiver (the game's version of a phone) where you try to locate a mysterious trainer.
4. Pokémon Platinum (Generation IV, 2008)
What makes Platinum better than it’s Diamond and Pearl counterpart is for one, the story feels more polished out and expanded on in Platinum. You get a more in depth motive behind the main
Not to mention that there are changes to the gameplay than compared to Diamond and Pearl. First, gamers are introduced to the Distortion World, the area where you come face to face with the legendary Pokemon Gritania and have an opportunity to capture him than wait after you beat the Pokémon League. You can also face certain Gym Leaders earlier than in the as well as have an opportunity to catch even more Pokémon than you could in Diamond Pearl. Plus, there’s an additional postgame side quest involving the remnants of Team Galactic in a new area (Stark Mountain).
But what makes this game stand out is there is a significant difference in degree of difficulty. The Gym Leaders, Elite Four, Team Galactic, and the Pokémon League Champion in Platinum have stronger Pokémon with different move sets compared to their Diamond and Pearl counterpart. Not to mention that the trainers you face postgame also get a boost in levels and strength as well. Perfect for those seeking a challenge, especially if they are attempting the Nuzlocke Challenge.
3. Pokémon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire (Generation VI, 2014)
Following the success of the Pokémon Generation II games Gold, Silver, and Crystal, Game Freak released in 2002 two new Pokémon game for the new Gameboy Advanced handheld console Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire. Ruby and Sapphire introduced players to a whole new region of Honen with more new Pokémon to capture and a new adventure to go on. Fast forward to 2014 as following the release of Pokémon Generation VI games Pokémon X & Pokémon Y for the Nintendo 3DS, Game Freak released an updated remake version of Ruby and Sapphire called Omega Sapphire & Omega Ruby.
Like with previous remakes, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire had the latest features of the current generations that were not included in the original (i.e. the introduction of the Fairy type Pokémon, Mega-Evolution, updated move & ability set). But what separated this from the other games in Generation VI and the originals was the introduction of a new game feature called PokéNav Plus, a feature that could let you trade wireless, IV train Pokémon, and be able to increase Pokémon encounters.
Not to mention that there is an abundant of postgame content compared to the original Ruby and Sapphire. First you have the 'Delta Episode', a postgame quest where you scramble to save the Honen region from an oncoming meteor that could wipeout the entire region. You also can compete in the Battle Frontier (a feature first introduced in Pokémon Emerald) if you want to continue training to be the best Pokémon trainer. Finally, you can travel all over the Honen region using the Eon Flute (an in-game item that allows you to summon the Legendary Pokemon Latias (OR) or Latios (AS) to travel on) in search of more Pokémon to capture.
2. Pokémon Leaf Green & Fire Red (Generation III, 2004)
Although Pokémon released in Japan in 1996, it wasn't until two years later in 1998 that the US got a chance to try and catch them all when Pokémon Red and Blue came into the country. Fast forward six years to 2004 as Game Freak launched the first ever Pokémon video game remakes, Fire Red and Leaf Green versions, to give every trainer in the US the chance to play the original Pokémon games Red and Green.
Unlike its original predecessors, Fire Red and Leaf Green removed some of the more comical glitches that were found in the original games (i.e. the missing No. glitch, the Mew glitch) that would ultimately break the game.
Although it was a remake of the original Generation I games, it still retained some of the updated features of the newer Generations (i.e. Steel & Dark Pokémon types were still available, Pokémon abilities, Pokémon being able to hold handheld items). Not to mention that the graphics and gameplay speed were vastly improved and that you could acquire Pokémon from Pokémon Emerald of the same Generation (Generation III) after you complete a few tasks postgame.
But what made Fire Red and Leaf Green stand out was the introduction of a new area in the game called the Sevii Islands.
You were first introduced into this area after you acquire the Volcano Badge. Bill, the creator of the Pokémon Storage PC, takes you there on a small side quest as you go off and explore the first 3 Sevii Islands. After you defeat the Pokémon League, you will have the ability to explore the other 4 Sevii Islands to capture more Pokémon to complete the National PokéDex as well as complete more side quests.
Although Fire Red and Leaf Green may look ancient compared to today's Pokémon games, they were the perfect games for new Pokémon to get into the series as well as give older gamers the nostalgia of the original games.
1. Pokémon HeartGold & SoulSilver (Generation IV, 2009)
How do you follow up a ground-breaking game like Pokémon Red/Green/Blue? You follow it up with a game that would not only set the new standards for Pokémon games but will completely change the course of the Pokémon franchise for years to come.
When the original Pokémon Gold/Silver came out back in 1999, it introduced new gameplay elements that have been the crux of the Pokémon franchise going forward. These elements included introducing gender in Pokémon, being able to use handheld items that would help in battles, the daycare where you could breed and hatch Pokémon from eggs, a real-time clock that would affect in-game events (i.e. you could only participate in certain), the concept of pre-evolution Pokémon (i.e. Pichu, Elekid, Magby) that would evolve into their more well-known forms (i.e. Pikachu, Electabuzz, Magmar), and the concept of 'Shiny Pokémon' (Pokémon that had had a different color appearance compared to their normal counterparts). Not to mention that this generation of Pokémon games introduced two new Pokémon types (Steel and Dark) as well as to ability to choose your trainer's gender (introduced in Pokémon Crystal two years later in 2000).
But what set this generation apart from the rest was the fact that not only players could become the Pokémon champion of the new region of Johto but after the end-game credits, they could travel back to Kanto (the first region) and battle against the original 8 Gym Leaders in that region. It essentially was 2 games in 1, which made its replay ability skyrocket compared to Red/Blue/Green.
Pokémon HeartGold & SoulSilver carried that legacy in a more updated version of the original Gold and Silver versions.
In HG/SS, aside from the normal storyline of collecting the 8 Gym Badges and trying to beat the Elite Four, gamers went on a side-quest all over Johto (and Kanto) to try and capture one of the legendary Pokémon in the game, Suicine (a gameplay feature found in Pokémon Crystal). Gamers were also treated to more after-game content with not only the postgame adventures in Kanto but they could also participate in the Battle Frontier, as well enhance and customize the Safari Zone to be able to attract different species of Pokémon from previous games (i.e. Ruby/Sapphire, Diamond/Pearl) to complete the National PokéDex.
There was also a new feature that came with the game called the Pokéwalker. It was a pedometer that you could transfer Pokémon from your game into and essentially take them on the go with you, allowing them to experience points based on how many steps you take. You could also find items and capture wild Pokémon in certain areas on the Pokéwalker. It also had its own 'currency' called watts, which you could spend to get rarer items or unlock areas where you could also find Pokémon that you couldn't find in the original game.
Because of how beloved this game is by Pokémon, you'll have a hard time trying to find at your local GameStop. But if you are able to get your hands on either game, consider yourself very lucky that you have in your possession a game that is both beloved and respected by the entire Pokémon community.
Read More 990WBOB
Unbiased, Unfiltered. WBOB's Original Reads feature our brightest and boldest personalities, offering their two-cents on the goings on of news, sports, politics, entertainment, and business. -- Are our opinions always PC? Nope. Are they always perfect? Nah. But, are they always 100% authentic? Absolutely!