-by Dylan DiBona
Nothing screams “nostalgia” quite like Pokémon for me. When I first got an interesting green cartridge for my Game Boy Advanced, I was puzzled. I didn’t know what the series was, but the green plastic was “cool” to me as a kid. Over a decade later and I still have the desire to catch ’em all; these five Pokémon games stand on top of the series as not just good Pokémon games, but great RPGs.
5. Pokémon X & Y
After going through the classic “Pokémon is for babies” route, I gave the series the cold shoulder for about two or three years. I fell utterly in love with the 3DS for its console quality games on the go, and sure enough- a Pokémon game came to the system.
Picking up Y was a little weird, I knew the ins and outs of the series- get the badges and fight the elite four. But this new entry had elements I was never familiar with and new monster designs I didn’t bother to check out in trailers. It was like I started over again; Pokémon Y was my reintroduction to the series and I’ll always be grateful. The (then) new three dimensional graphics for main series Pokémon blew my mind, and overall atmosphere of France complimented the game perfectly.
Definitely an underappreciated gem in the series.
4. Pokémon Sun & Moon
I actually have a small sense of guilt when I think back onto these games. After being absolutely addicted to these new entries more so than any other 3DS game, I completely stopped at the fifty hour mark. Even though I never beat the Alola champion (I will someday), I must commend these games. When thinking of video games that spiced up their series, Sun and Moon should easily come to mind.
Gone are the days of badges, gym leaders and HMs. Hardcore Pokémon fans dropped their jaws when they found this out and for good reason, imagine if Zelda tried dropping dungeons (oh wait). The true icing on the cake was the new Alola region; the Hawaiian vibe felt like the newest idea Game Freak had for a region in years.
3. Pokémon Leaf Green & Fire Red
The original Red and Blue on Game Boy will forever be the most important games in Pokémon history. I wanted to put them on the list but out of a mix of nostalgia and reality: I had to go the remake.
Who doesn’t want better graphics, music and more content?
Pokémon Leaf Green showed me what magic fictional worlds can hold, I wanted to be a trainer more than anything else. I beat the game probably two or three times and wouldn’t even choose a different team of monsters during my playthroughs, I just loved playing the game as is. I owe this game for a lot of reasons, mainly because I may not even be writing this if not for Pokémon Leaf Green.
2. Pokémon Heart Gold & Soul Silver
For the same reasons I put Leaf Green, who doesn’t want a remake of the universal favorite Pokémon game? People love Gold, Silver and Crystal for the new and still fresh Johto region, while still having the Kanto region as a second journey. Sixteen badges is the most in any game of the series and let’s be honest; who wants a good Pokémon game to ever end?
I don’t hold much nostalgia for Heart Gold or Soul Silver, but I appreciate what they do for the series immensely. There’s a good reason these are the most expensive Pokémon games to buy online.
1. Pokémon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire
Ok so quick story:
I lived about two hours from New York City and one day my family decided to go for a shopping day. One stop was the Nintendo Store and I remember being in awe at all of the merchandise and fun goodies. My dad was somehow aware of a brand new Pokémon and got it for me right there in the heart of NYC. I remember thinking it was just Leaf Green again because of the green cartridge, so I popped it into my GBA during the car ride home expecting a fourth playthrough of my favorite game. But that didn’t happen.
I was greeted with a pixelated drop of dew falling off a leaf and revealing the Game Freak logo, and then I realized an entirely new journey was waiting for me. After beating it, I started not to care about Emerald anymore. I thought Alpha Sapphire would be a fun little side game on the 3DS, but when I saw that drop of dew remade in 3D and that same catchy tune redone- pure goosebumps.
It was then I finally remembered how much I loved Emerald, the monster designs started to get into the series’ modern day cheesiness, but they still had plenty of freshness. The world was more fleshed out than any other entry at the time, diving underwater is still unique for the series. In the remake you can fly on Latias or Latios, the story was better, and Mega Evolutions came back for older Pokémon. It was the absolutely perfect adventure in the magical world I remembered as a kid.
Nostalgia aside, I genuinely believe Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire to be one of the greatest entries in the series. I understand why fans may choose the 2nd gen games over this one, but man do I love Hoenn.
Any serious Pokémon fans here? What’s your top five favorite games? Let me know down below and I’ll try my best to reply! As always, thanks for reading.