Like I said in my announcement for this upcoming three part installment on the Pokemon universe, Pokemon Ruby was the first game of this franchise I owned. I watched people play Pokemon Red/Blue, and I played maybe five minutes of Pokemon Gold.
Never fret, I will be getting to those games eventually, I just feel I need to begin where I began.
Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald Version (2003/2005 Gameboy Advanced)
This still is one of the best Pokemon games yet. It not only wins nostalgia points with me, but it wins points for music, story, and being an all-around good game. Some of my favorite Pokemon to date come out of this generation, and many precedents were set by this game itself. Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire were the first to have their own independent region, and the first to make the legendary Pokemon of the region central to the storyline.
There are only one or two ‘bad’ things I can think of for this game. The Elite Four (and especially the champion) for this region were way too easy, and the motivation for the evil syndicates in this region were pathetic. Which reminds me of yet another precedent set in Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire: every new region (spin-off or mainline) had to have their own crime syndicate after this game. While the goal of expanding land or ocean was bogus, Team Aqua and Magma were not. Although, Archie is still one of my favorite Pokemon game villains.
Ugh, there is just so much I could say, and yet I’ve got to move on to other games!
Pokemon Diamond/Pearl/Platinum Version (2007/2009 Nintendo DS)
I really did enjoy this game, but this is where the Pokemon franchise started to dip for me. It’s funny with how long Pokemon has been around to realize we’re only at the sixth generation. And I wanted them to stop making new Pokemon after this generation, generation four. I was happy with most of Pokemon Diamond/Pearl, but I had my qualms with some Pokemon and some features. It was with Pokemon Platinum that I stopped caring for a while.
Still, this was a great Pokemon game. Perhaps it comes from a plethora of great characters. Rowan is one of my favorite Pokemon Professors, Cyrus is one of the best developed and convincing crime bosses, and Cynthia is the best champion. Period. That, and this is one of the few Pokemon games that gives you enough to do after beating the Elite Four and winning the game, allowing much more play time with a quality save file than most others, even Pokemon Ruby.
Pokemon Black/White Version (2011 Nintendo DS)
The apathy I began feeling during Pokemon Platinum turned to hate when Pokemon Black/White came out (and even more so with Pokemon Black/White 2.) I had begun boycotting Pokemon because of these games, and it took until Pokemon X/Y for me to warm back up. Pokemon Black/White seemed entirely focused on selling a whole new generation of Neopets (they didn’t feel like Pokemon to me) through gimmicks more than quality.
When I finally mustered up the courage to actually try Pokemon Black/White (this year, mind you) I hated almost every minute of it. It was as gimmicky as I feared, and this region’s friends/rivals would not leave you alone! I hated them, I wanted them to leave! They just wouldn’t though!
And then this was the first time a Pokemon game wasn’t remade, or mashed into an immaculate version, but sequel-ed. I still have so much loathing for Pokemon Black/White as a whole that I won’t touch Pokemon Black/White 2. So I’m gonna call on the fans out there to make their own judgement on that game, because I might just be overly mean…
Pokemon X/Y Version (2013 Nintendo 3DS)
This game feels, at least to me, like a giant apology. Where Pokemon Black/White locked all your favorite Pokemon from the previous generation away until the end, Pokemon X/Y embraced all the favorite Pokemon. It also added a new type for the first time since Pokemon Gold/Silver, and best of all: it was an enjoyable experience.
A lot of things from Pokemon Black/White do hang on in Pokemon X/Y, but they’ve been refined and put in their proper place. It also further enhanced the world of Pokemon via Mega Evolutions, and there’s the great graphics update, the French flavor to the region, the sound quality update, likable new Pokemon… I am just happy that these versions were made. It gives me hope for the future of Pokemon.
So thus concludes my first piece in my Pokemon week — stay tuned for two more pieces this week.
Images via: Nintendo