So with the recent Pokémon Direct that happened last week, we were told that two newPokémon games, Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! andPokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! will be released later this year–November 16th to be exact. But since I’m sure you’ve read the title, we’re not talking about that, but if you want my opinion, it’s quite simple: I’m excited, but not that excited. The art looks cool. Kanto’s fine. And I get that Game Freak probably wanted to implement features that make the Nintendo Switch unique, but I just don’t care for the whole throwing your pokéball thing. Or the one hand for controlling thing. And no that’s not me calling the game bad. I’m still gonna play it. I’m still gonna enjoy it. I’ll just have to get used to it and will probably call it dumb as I refuse to wear the wrist strap on the joycon and accidentally hit a roommate in the face trying to catch a Pidgey. Anyways, along with the news for the new games this year, we were informed that Game Freak is also working on a main title game. So, while we’re here and there isn’t an eighth gen yet, I thought I might as well rank the current seven. There’s been a lot of disagreements on what constitutes as a good or bad gen. I like most of them, but there are some that tug my heart strings and stay in my mind for what I think of when I think of Pokémon.
#7 Gen 1
Okay. There’s an old man in the distance yelling that I’m being a hater or that I was too young to appreciate the greatness that was Gen 1 and the Kanto Region. Well I’m not being a hater and I was born in the nineties, so I’m not too young. I had never owned a Gen 1 game, I just borrowed the game from friends. And while I enjoy the Gen, at some point we have to talk about mechanics that didn’t work for me, since with this list I’m not only talking about the region. If we were talking just regions, this game would be pretty different until the top two entries. Kanto is a great region. I enjoy the gym leaders, the characters, the battles themselves, but when looking at how far the Pokémon franchise has evolved due to mechanics, stat layout, and implemented strategies for battling it’s easy for me to say that this might have been my least favorite gen. And for people salty about that, well hey I’ll talk about the Kanto region in a more positive light in a later entry.
#6 Gen 6
Gen 6 was a generation filled with whimsy in that it gave us mega-evolutions, pretty okay Pokémon, the once highly debated fairy type, and a starter who would later be given God’s favor (see: Greninja aka why don’t we make its signature move better and give it a pseudo mega evolution?). But outside of that and the fact you could catch Eevee in the wild (access to Eevee is important to me), Gen 6 was pretty meh. For X and Y, I don’t remember the gym leaders much and I didn’t really care for the story. And everything felt too much like a breeze. The rivals didn’t stand out. They lacked personality. So all that kept me going were the mega evolutions. What lifted Gen 6 were the remakes to Ruby and Saphire, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire which had a great Delta Episode post game, but then stripped the more expansive Battle Factory the original games had and introduced. What I’m saying is that I didn’t really enjoy this generation and only put it over Gen 1 for mechanics alone. Also the anime for this Gen was amazing, which for this discussion it doesn’t matter.
#5 Gen 7
I remember 2016 like it was two years ago. I was two years younger and kind of hated my life, but then announcements for Sun and Moon came out, and I felt hype. I watched Youtube announcements for new Pokémon and features. I listened to the OST and tried to plan out my team. I looked up Z-Moves and played the demo. I was excited. And then the reveals for adult Red and Blue (Green) happened and I was done. Nothing would beat these games. Then I played them, and nothing really changed. The Alolan forms were cool though. The problem I had with these games were that they were too slow to start and too hand hold-y. And the rival Hau was a pushover and Gladion was too edgy. The villain presented to you wasn’t the main villain which would be a cool twist if the main antagonist was fleshed out. Or if you could see her true motivations. This generation was a nice foray into more traditional JPRG tropes that we hadn’t seen in the Pokémon series since Black and White. Also this game gave us one of the worst features ever, the Festival Plaza, a horrid existence that should have never happened and a terrible means of social interaction via Pokémon.
Of course the generation would improve with Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, but it still hadn’t felt like enough. Characters were more fleshed out and battles were better to account for the absence of gyms, but it still hadn’t felt like the best games. The greatest thing this generation did do though was give us Alolan Marowak. I believe in most of my playthroughs that mon was on my team (I’ve replayed this gen five times and only completed three of them). And if we were counting just post game, Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon would be one of the best games. But I think it’s that sense of hype I once had and the risks this generation took that keep me from putting it lower on this list.
#4 Gen 3
It’s 2005. I’m on summer break and I live with my grandparents. Saved by the Bell is on and I don’t yet understand why Zach Morris is a douchebag. I’m playing a game. It’s Pokémon Emerald. I’m on Victory Road. Swampert is my starter even though I used Blaziken almost every other time I’ve played the game. This is how life should be. This is the wonderful end of the first part of Pokémon fandom. While there were other Pokémon generations beforehand, this is the generation I spent a chunk of time on. I played with my cousin. We got the adapter so we could play it on the GameCube. I grinded to get the 7th badge against Tate and Liza. I have a lot of fond memories of this generation because of how much time I spent on it.
Wally was the first friend oriented rival, but he worked because you could see the character development going on as he gained confidence in each encounter you had with him. This was the first generation where your character had a dad and you got to battle your dad and his dumb Slaking that took a while to go down. Wallace was fun. Steve was better. The starters were amazing and in this generation I caught Pokémon because they looked cool, and there were a ton of cool designs from Salamence to Flygon to Blaziken to Zangoose. Manetric was my favorite.
Each gym leader was memorable and I remember them more in their sprite forms than I do in their 3D models from Gen 6. It also gave us the Battle Frontier (which is also a great anime, because of how Ash utilizes his old and new Pokémon. it might be the smartest he’s ever used his roster of mons.). This generation was the tops, even more so because I also played Fire Red and got to appreciate Kanto that way. It’s how I discovered my love for Jolteon. The problem is that I returned to this generation after playing Gen 4 and realized the problems in the mechanics. The special/ physical split was problematic. And then I couldn’t touch it again. It just hadn’t felt the same. It’s still a wonderful generation though.
#3 Gen 5
On an I don’t very much like the starters of Gen 5 nor do I like how the game does a sort of soft reset and doesn’t let you catch any mons from any of the other generations until post game level, I shouldn’t enjoy this generation, but there were so many good features for this game that I had to put it up so high. While on a pure design level I don’t like many Gen 5 mons, this generation still has some of my favorite mons such as Scrafty, Volcarona, Krookodile, Accelgor, Liligant, Excadrill, and Chandelure. The gym leaders were fun. The rivals for Black and White were interesting despite being friendly and proved, at times, to be a challenge. But when it comes to Black and White you know that I’m going to talk about the plot. This generation had one of the most compelling narratives of a non Coliseum game ever for the franchise.
The use of N as both a character and a means of exploring themes was wonderful. You get a character who uses mons the way every trainer should aspire to. He has a partnership with them. He draws about questions on whether one should actually capture and own wild creatures. We’re given a character who is driven by a noble but misguided question and ask ourselves if what we’re doing is right. The problem was that this exploration of a theme explodes on itself the moment Ghetsis pops up and reveals that he’s super evil, but even with that we’re shown a parental figure being abusive and manipulative on a level that Sun and Moon tries to, but can’t, replicate.
This game has the best narrative of the main series games because for once you feel invested in the characters and the actual plot. Also it was the first time that the Elite 4 got raided, were in actual danger, and the champion was defeated by, not the rival, but one of the villains. Usually by time you reach the Elite 4, the villain team is out of sight and out of mind. And it was the first time you got to decide the order you faced the Elite 4 in. Jeez Black and White was cool.
Besides my top two entries, this is the Poképlot I remember the most. Then the sequels happened, and I guess they gave us the coolest looking rival that should’ve been in a soccer anime instead and Colress. The sequels also gave us one of the coolest ads ever for the games. Too bad the Ash oriented anime ate trash candy.
#2 Gen 2
It shouldn’t surprise you that Gen 2 is one of my favorite generations ever, after all Crystal was the first Pokémon game I ever actually owned. Back then I was a little eight year old trying to train my Totodile, not yet understanding the fundamentals to the game and avoiding every trainer in sight because I was really bad. Later I played the game again. My starter was Cyndaquil and I knew how to play the game this time. I made fan art from the male character’s sprite. When the game offered for you to name your character, I actually gave him my name (something I stopped doing. they would later be named Crow or Jude, and now I’ve settled on Wallace for every name.). I accidentally knocked out a Suicune by thunderpunching it with Typhlosion, because I didn’t know to save before fighting legendaries back then.
Crystal was my childhood. It was a game I loved. It’s a game I still love. I still remember all of the gym leaders, Chuck and Jasmine were my favorites. Clair frustrated me. The colors in the game were also amazing and for a time when graphics were not that great, it was a way for me to feel immersed in the game. But of course we’re gonna talk about the rival, Silver. He was a Blue (Green) with more angst and had reason to be so terrible. Plus he had a killer team. This game feels like a true sequel in a way that the other main generations didn’t. And when I first decided to be a writer, I wrote a fan fiction about this generation/ region. I love it a bit too much.
#1 Gen 4
So this is the only generation left, and by leaps and bounds, Gen 4 is my favorite generation. Remember when I said that Emerald was the end of the first part of my fandom for this franchise? Well Gen 4 was the beginning of the second part, as I went from a child playing the games to an adolescent/ adult playing them. I started with Diamond and I’m not going to lie, that game is slow. The running is slow, the text speed (even on its highest setting is slow), and despite all of that, I still had a good time. I played Diamond when I was a freshman in high school, and found friends because others played it too. It was how I met my best friend from high school, Shim. Oh Shim, my wonderfully monotone friend, enthusiastic yet not at all.
There was something about the designs of the mons from this generation that kept me going. The starters were all dual types and really dope (I’ve tried all of them out, and though I played with Infernape the most, Empoleon was my favorite). And while Barry was friendly and a nuisance, his team was a challenge. I actually looked forward to battling him. Cyrus, though he didn’t really have the greatest back story or motivations, is one of my favorite main villains because of his team. He had a Crobat and a Weaville which was amazing. Cynthia is my favorite champion because she kicks butt and I lost the most to her when trying to beat the game. I remember one time I battled her I knocked out her last mon, Roserade by using Flare Blitz with my last mon, Infernape, but because Son Goku (of course I named it that) fainted from recoil, I lost. And I was so frustrated and had to game plan again. And then there was the music! Cynthia’s champion battle theme and the tune for Route 209 return as earworms from time to time and I’m usually very much about it.
Diamond was the first time I plunged into a semi-competitive scene by battling my friends. I’d play against my friend Kurt all the time and we’d switch out and use diverse movepools. I’d always lose though. I learned about EV training from him and the importance of natures and breeding. This was when I learned the important math to Pokémon. Without knowledge of the competitive scene, I probably would be watching the Youtubers I watch today. Gen 4 did a lot for me and really re-ignited my love of Pokémon. This generation was also the first (and I think only) time I had a 200 hour plus game file.
But let’s skip to when Platinum came out, because that was the height of my love for Pokémon. It was when I discovered my favorite mon of all time, Luxray.
Luxray or as I nicknamed him, Sho, is the greatest trash mon to ever grace this series. With its pretty great attack stat, decent spdef, and horrid everything else, I loved using this mon. I’d give the competitive variation of him Crunch, Spark, Iron Tail, and breed it to have Ice Fang (the in game version had like Strength instead of Ice Fang) and just have a field day. My first version of Sho had an Adamant nature, Intimidate as its ability, and lived its best life preying on the weak (which compared to it, everything was weak). I remember catching this mon, not thinking much of it when it was a Shinx, and then watching it beat Cranidos as a Luxio after it learned Spark. This mon carried my team, taking out almost every gym leader’s signature mon from Fantina’s Mismagius to Volkner’s Electivire (which was my favorite battle). And anytime I can use Luxray on a team, in a new game, I will. I love this mon, but I just wish it could get some more respect and some stat boosts. Get on it Game Freak, please! Sho deserves better. Give him Iron Head instead of Iron Tail, maybe Play Rough, and either bulk it up or make it faster.
While we’re still on Platinum, the fact that you could rematch gym leaders, amazing! The battle frontier, amazing! The weekly battle with your rival and your rival gets stronger, amazing! And the VS. Seeker is an item that all Pokémon games should have, they just should. It’s so helpful.
Then after Platinum, we were given Heart Gold and Soul Silver, you know, the one where your mons followed you. They were wonderful remakes of Gold and Silver utilizing the Johto region with Gen 4 mechanics. And it brought out so many childhood memories returning to that region with better graphics, more mons, and better knowledge of the game especially with my Jolteon, also named Sho (you might be realizing that electric types are my favorite), carrying my team. Gen 4 was amazing and I probably wouldn’t be as in love with Pokémon or the weird nerd I am if I had never played Gen 4.
So that’s all. Rip my list to shreds if you feel like it. Or discuss your favorite gens in the comment section no one posts in. I leave you with a remix of one of my favorite Pokémon OSTs ever. Later days.