Gotta Rank 'Em All! Ranking Each Generation of Pokemon Games

I love Pokemon. I am also a grown man.  You may think that a grown man still enjoying Pokemon is sad.  If you do, I'm willing to bet you are a) insecure with your own man/womanhood, and therefore must put others down to make yourself feel better, and/or b) you have either never played a Pokemon game, or haven't played a Pokemon game in a long time. 

I have played every generation of mainstream Pokemon games.  From Arcanine to Zygarde I have been trying to "catch 'em all" for over 15 years.  Through the years some generations have been better than others in terms of what they bring to the banquet table that is the Pokemon series.  To that end, I have taken each generation and ranked them from worst to best.  I say "worst" but what I really mean is "least best".  I have never played a bad mainstream Pokemon game.  It's just that some generations are more innovative, more gripping in terms of story, or just plain more fun than others.  You probably won't agree with my list.  That's fine, just please be civil in the comments section.  Thanks!

 

6. Generation IV

 

There is a lot to like about this generation.  The new characters are not without their charm, there are some pretty cool new Pokemon and the fact that the game allowed for backwards compatibility via the built-inGBA slot on the original DS.  Even more exciting, with the re-release of Red and Green on the GBA it was possible to catch and keep over 400 Pokemon!

Even with all the good, Diamond and Pearl fell short of the series' usual greatness. With painfully slow animations in battles, a (relatively) forgettable criminal organization and way, WAY too many HMs the series' first DS entries were rather disappointing.  Platinum did manage to rectify a few of these shortcomings, but overall, even it still fell short of the other generations.

 

5. Generation VI

 

The most recent generation just did not wow me as much as I had hoped it would.  Part of the reason the sixth generation failed to impress me is the location its games took place in.  I liked Kalos well enough, but it just didn't feel as vibrant as other regions in the series.  I realize that I am most likely in the minority with this sentiment; Kalos is home to some impressive palaces and cities and beautiful countryside, but for me it was just lacking the magic feeling I've felt in every other Region.  It could be that I'm getting older or maybe its the transition from a top-down perspective to a fully 3D thrid person perspective.Pokemon X and also had the misfortune of following the incredible Black and White.  The fifth generation games had such a gripping plot, and Y's plot was just not gripping for me.  It had its moments, many of which would spoil the game so I won't go into detail, but for the most part the story fell flat.  The new features were also underwhelming. Mega-Evolution is a cool concept but it's also like hitting a "win" button.  I just don't see it playing a meaningful role in future entries.   It's not that I don't like the sixth generation -- I found the games to be a lot of fun-- they just didn't resonate with me.

 

4. Generation III

 

This is where my nostalgia starts to creep its way into my judgement.  I realize that the third generation of Pokemon has a lot of issues.  It took many of the awesome improvements found in GoldSilver andCrystal and through them out the proverbial window.  Did you enjoy the night/day system?  Gone.  Did you like backwards compatibility?  Gone.  How about the ability to capture every single Pokemon past and present? That's gone too.

While the games had some issues, they featured a vibrant, colorful region, a story that was a bit deeper and more complex than its predecessors and plenty of trumpets.  I appreciated the fact that both main entries offered experiences that were significantly different from one another offering players two different criminal organizations to take down.  Also, I love the ocean, so you can imagine my joy exploring the oceans around Hoenn in Sapphire.

 

3. Generation I

 

The generation that started it all.  While I have a huge soft spot for this generation, owing to the fact that it was the first generation I played all the way back in 1998, I can readily recognize the fact that these games were buggier than Virdian Forest.  And the sprites.  Oh my heavens there were some awful sprites:

I didn't think there was any way to make Eggsecute any dumber.  I was wrong.

 

All bugs and awful sprites aside, the original games were over-flowing with charm.  It was such a novel concept when it first hit the states.  There had never really been an RPG that had 151 different characters to choose from when constructing your party of six.  A simple RPG with Rock Paper Scissors mechanics driving the game-play, it allowed children and noobs to enter the realm of RPG gaming.

The other huge innovation was the fact that the RPG encouraged players to interact with each other. If you wanted to catch all 150 Pokemon (there was really no way for the average American kid to obtain a legitimate Mew) you had to trade via the Link Cable with a friend who had the other version.  If that wasn't enough, you could also challenge your friends to a Pokemon battle.  This may seem like standard type multiplayer now, but back in 1998 there were no other portable games that offered such unique gameplay.  If you want to experience the first generation, I recommend playing FireRed and LeafGreenthe upgraded remakes on the Game Boy Advance.

 

2. Generation V

 

Let me get something out of the way right now; Pokemon designs reached an all-time low in the fifth generation.  I mean just look at this Pokemon:

Rubbish.  Absolute rubbish.

I can honestly see some dude sitting at his home trying desperately to come up with a new Pokemon design in time for the deadline the next morning.  Suddenly, he notices an odd smell coming from the kitchen.  He walks in to find his garbage can overflowing.   As he's taking the bag of shiz to the dumpster he is suddenly struck with a golden idea.  After drawing up the initial sketch for Trubbish (honestly that's its name) he decides to treat himself to a nice ice cream cone and-- well, this happens:

Vanillish

All joking aside, Pokemon Black and White are responsible for pulling me back into the world of Pokemon.  You see Diamond and Pearl were released right after I graduated high school.  I went through this phase were I felt it was time to put away childish things and become a man, which meant skipping out on the latest Pokemon games.  Fortunately I realized how utterly boring and stupid being an adult is right as Black and White were released.  The games' incredibly thought-provoking themes, awesome story and absolutely killer soundtrack brought me back into the poke-fold for good, and for that, I thank them dearly.

 

1. Generation II

 

Definitely not the most original choice, it is just a matter of pure fact that Gold and Silver were the perfect Pokemon games.  Okay so maybe they weren't perfect, I mean Kanto was crazy empty, but still, how they managed to fit 251 Pokemon, full color sprites, two full regions and that incredible soundtrack on a little GBC cartridge is beyond me.

Aside from the technological wizardry, the games featured a ton of new, meaningful features such as genders for almost all Pokemon, breeding, the dark and steel types and the day and night mechanic.  Add to that 100 new Pokemon and a story that echoes the original games while still highlighting the progress Kanto has made in the last three years, stirring strong waves of nostalgia in every play through, and you've got the perfect recipe for a Pokemon game.  The games were made even better in the upgraded SoulSilver and HeartGold versions for the Nintendo DS.

What did you think of the list?  Surprised to see that The 90s Kid did not rate Generation I as the best? What's your favorite generation of Pokemon games?  Feel free to leave your opinion in the comments section!  

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