For 25 whole years, Pikachus have been scampering around the shadowed floors of Viridian forest, only making themselves available to the most dedicated of trainers. For 25 years, your dollars have ‘evolved’ into billions of Pokémon cards. For 25 years, you’ve known you were in this forever.
With all the memories Pocket Monsters have provided people over the last two-and-a-half decades, fans have internalized their favorite Pokémon Generation experience as a significant life event. Little did you realize over the 25 years though, that your favorite pick has been speaking volumes about you.
Pokémon Generation 1: Red, Blue (Green), Yellow
The Nostalgic’s Choice.
You love drunkly fostering your own rendition of the English Pokémon theme song in karaoke bars. You lived between the years 2005 and 2015 without uttering the word ‘Pokémon’ once, but you played the hell out of Pokémon Go. For a good three weeks. When you fired it back up earlier this year out of morbid curiosity, you exclaimed loudly, ‘What the heck is a Klefki’? You got 7 likes on a Facebook repost of a ‘realistic Pokémon art’ Buzzfeed article once.
Pokémon Generation 2: Gold, Silver, Crystal
The Die-Hard Pokémon Fan’s Choice.
Pokémon Gold & Silver marked the first time the concept of ‘New Pokémon’ ever existed. Sure, all the first-gen pokes were ‘new’, but nothing could delight a childhood’s imagination more than an entire ‘New’ Set of Pocket Monsters when the oldies were beginning to get dusty.
To speak to the games’ and the late great Satoru Iwata’s credit who made it possible, 2nd Gen (and their remakes) are still the only games in the series to take you through two whole regions. The ultimate Pokémon adventure and you’ve never let that feeling leave your heart… however, those remakes are objectively better.
Pokémon Generation 3: Ruby, Sapphire, Fire Red, Leaf Green, Emerald
The Gamer’s Choice.
3rd Gen marks a particularly high bar you’ve never allowed another game to clear in your deductive mind. Secret bases were so wonderful, so everything a game could be, you never forgave Nintendo or Game Freak for not continuing on with them. The Hoenn region had introduced a palpable vibe and cohesion that only The Underappreciated Gameboy Advance’s 32 bits could bring to the table. What’s not to love, you say to yourself, ignoring the guy groaning about their 500th random battle with a Tentacool in the ocean.
Pokémon Generation 4: Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, Heart Gold, Soul Silver
The Competitive Player’s choice.
You got into competitive play after accidentally spending 200 hours in Emerald’s battle tower. When Gen 4 with its Garchomp and its Platinum 3rd version came around, you melted into it. People still talk about that tournament-perfect Magmortar you raised, but you should’ve spent less time lecturing all your friends who were just trying to get through their freshman year of college about EVs and IVs.
Pokémon Generation 5: Black, White, Black 2, White 2
The Final Fantasy Fan’s Choice.
Verdict’s out on whether Pokémon Black and White were the best ‘Pokémon games’ but they sure were the best ‘pokémon Games’. You grew up on Cloud Strife and KOS-MOS, damnit. Even early on, you always wished for a more fully fleshed out story and dedicated world cohesion in your pocket creature games, just like your Big Kid RPGs. And hey, who knew making the Chrono Trigger of Pokémon games would end up being such a winner?
Pokémon Generation 6: X, Y, Omega Ruby, Alpha Sapphire
The ‘I Started With 6th Gen’ Choice.
Sorry, we don’t want to be mean. It’s just too difficult to imagine this sub-series being anyone’s top if they weren’t your first ever Pikachu Games.
Pokémon Generation 7: Sun, Moon, Ultra Sun, Ultra Moon
The Nintendo Fan’s Choice.
Every second spoke to you, despite the unnecessary tutorial. Though making the leap to 3D previously, you now got to experience a Pokémon adventure with fully realized environments instead of blocky representations. Not quite reaching 5th Gen levels, 7th Gen also brought back increased story and character focus back to the table.
More than any of these objective qualities though, Sun & Moon was too damn charming. It was right at home with Kirby, Animal Crossing, and Super Mario Sunshine in the Nintendo Hang Out Vibes department and you ate it up like you do all Nintendoery.
Pokémon Generation 8: Sword, Shield, The Isle of Armor, The Crown Tundra
The Game-Appreciators Choice.
You just wanted to finally play a new Pokémon game on your beloved Nintendo Switch, and BY GOD you enjoyed EVERY second. The gamer outcries of ‘WHERE ARE ALL MY SQUIRTLES AND GARDEVOIRS’ had no effect on you, nor did them opting to go the DLC route instead of a 2nd version upset you, a reasonable 32-year-old who would never call themselves a ‘gamer’.