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The First Five Generations Of Pokemon
Pokemon is about to see its sixth generation in a couple of months, which is a notable feat for any series. Pokemon Red is the first video game I ever completed, and by far one of the more memorable games from my childhood. In honor of my love for the series and Pokemon X and Y’s release in a few short months, I thought I would write a large article detailing which generations I think are better or worse than others, and then open up the conversation to you readers in the comments. So, without further ado, let’s read about the contenders:
Generation I: Red, Blue, and Yellow Versions
Pokemon Red and Blue are what started it all. They contained the original 151 Pokemon that everyone born before or during the 90’s know and love. From collecting eight badges to catching them all, it all started right here with these two games. (Well, technically it started with Pokemon Red and Green, but that’s a different story). Pokemon became a worldwide phenomenon starting with these games, and it is always important to remember the classics. While the games themselves may not hold up very well compared to newer entries in the series, the original 151 Pokemon are still to this day my favorite batch of Pokemon.
Pokemon Yellow came out later in the generation and put a different spin on the formula. You still wanted to catch as many Pokemon as you could, expect instead of choosing from three starter Pokemon at the beginning, you were given a Pikachu no matter what, although you could acquire all three of the original starters throughout the game. Yellow version was most likely developed to capitalize on the equally successful anime based off of the games, as the main character, Ash, was also given a Pikachu at the beginning.
Generation II: Gold, Silver, and Crystal Versions
Pokemon Gold and Silver took any problems or issues with the first generation and turned them completely around, creating some of the longest RPGs you can play through. The games included a day and night cycle, with certain Pokemon being obtainable only at certain times of the day. The games also paved way for the series staple of daily events, where on certain days a character could be found who would give you an item that your Pokemon could hold in order to boost their attacks, among other things. However, aside from the new Johto region and eight new gyms to accompany it, upon completion of the main story and defeat of the Elite Four, players are able to travel back to the Kanto region from the first generation and participate in the league there as well. This gave the games an immense amount of value as it could take over a hundred hours to see everything in the game.
Pokemon Crystal also brought its own innovations to the table when it released a year or so after Gold and Silver. Pokemon Crystal saw the first appearance of a female main character, as well as a different twist on the story much like Yellow version was to generation one. Other than that, the changes made in Pokemon Crystal were not as drastic as in Pokemon Yellow, but still visible nonetheless.
Generation III: Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald Versions
Ah, the third generation of Pokemon. Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire made huge waves when they released and for good reason. Ruby and Sapphire updated the graphics immensely, as well as adding a ton of new features. The third generation of Pokemon saw the introduction of Pokemon Contests, a different form of competition between Pokemon where they are judged on the style of their moves instead of their power. It also included a ridiculous amount of side content like the Trick House and the Regi puzzles, which often required odd party formations or commands that would otherwise be unusable.
Pokemon Emerald brought on the changes once again with the introduction of the Battle Tower, a huge addition to the series which added a ton of replay value to an already extremely lengthy generation.
Generation IV: Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum Versions
The first main Pokemon games on the Nintendo DS, Pokemon Diamond and Pearl had a lot to live up to and a lot of hype surrounding them. For the most part, the games pulled it off, although I am somewhat lukewarm on this generation as a whole. Diamond and Pearl are both fantastic games, although I do not believe that they bring anything substantial to the table…of course, except for the amazing Underground. In what seems like a massive improvement over the Secret Bases from generation three, the Underground provides a massive amount of fun as players can group up and explore it together. Players are able to chisel into certain parts of the underground to collect shards and sometimes even Pokemon fossils, adding a huge amount of replay value with a single concept.
Pokemon Platinum kept most of the things that were introduced in Diamond and Pearl with the addition of the Giratina arc. This involved a trip to the Distortion World, a dark place with conflicting gravity and an ominous feel overall, finally ending on a rather dark note for the Pokemon series.
Generation V: Black , White, Black 2, and White 2 Versions
The most recent generation so far took some different approaches to gameplay in the form of the Dream World. The Dream World allowed players to send a Pokemon into their dreams by accessing a website where they could go on adventures and find wild Pokemon with special Dream World abilities. The incorporation of a browser-based client in order to interact with a key aspect of the game has been met with mixed reception, although the idea is definitely unique. Pokemon Black and White put a larger focus on the story this time around, although it is still worthy of a mediocre Pokemon story.
Pokemon Black 2 and white 2 followed up on the story directly which was a first for the series. More notable, however, is that Black 2 and White 2 incorporated more Pokemon from previous generations unlike Black and White which only offered generation five Pokemon until after the Elite Four. Various other smaller changes were made, including a sped up battle system and an improved experience system which was met with almost universal praise.
So, now that we have all of the generations mapped out and summarized, it is time for me to list my favorites in order from absolute favorite to least, with an explanation at the end. For me, personally, after much consideration, I have landed on the following: 3 > 1 > 5 > 2 > 4
Now, before fans of generations 1, 2, 4, or 5 start to get their pitchforks, let me explain. Generation 3 has always been my favorite due to somewhat odd circumstances. I played Ruby and Sapphire with more people than I play modern Pokemon games with, and the sheer amount of content those games provide definitely helps with that. Generation 1 will always have a place close to my heart because it is where the series started, as well as being my introduction to the series. Plus, I still absolutely love the original 151 Pokemon. This is where things start to get a little tricky. Generation 5 is next for me due to the much needed improvements on the battle system and experience system. Generation 5’s Pokemon designs were not the best in my eyes, but they were much better than generation 2. Generation 2 still has a fond place in my heart due to its day/night cycle and 16 gyms, but that is really all it has going for it in my eyes. Finally, that leaves us with generation 4, which really offers me nothing new besides the Underground which, while extremely enticing, is not enough for me to consider replaying it when I have access to the other games. Before I end this, I should say that I do not think any of these lower ranking games are bad by any means, I would just personally prefer to replay a higher ranking game instead.
So, that’s my explanation, what’s yours? Sound off in the comments below!