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The Evolution of Pokémon Games

Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon Logo Gray

It has been more than 20 years since the first Pokémon game was launched. Pokémon is one of the game franchises that have proved to be survived after this long. That is why, this proud product of Nintendo is keep developing and releasing the new version of Pokémon games. As a player of the first generation Pokémon, I have to admit that this franchise is keep getting better and better.

If we pay attention while playing the games, Pokémon games has their own specification from each generation and title. From monochrome display into more detailed resolution, from simplicity to complexity, the Pokémon games is getting better as time flies. For you Pokémon lovers, or for you who wants to know deeper about it, here is the evolution of Pokémon games that you should know.

Generation I: Red, Blue, and Yellow

Pokemon Red,Blue & Yellow

The first generation of Pokémon came in monochrome display, as the technology of Game Boy can only provide that far at that moment. There are some elements of color in Pokémon Yellow, but it is still very limited in visual appearance. The plot of this game is quite simple, a young boy sets on adventure catching monsters, battling other trainers and finally facing the evil Team Rocket.

There are 151 Pokémon available in the game, and we can choose up to six monsters to assist us in battles. The feature that was introduced in this generation was the ability to play multiplayer. By using a device called Link Cable, two players can link up their Game Boys to battle or trade with each other.

Generation II: Gold, Silver, and Crystal

Pokemon Gold, Silver & Crystal

The second generation of Pokémon games was released three years after the release of the first generation (now released in 3DS, read here and here for info). Since it was released for Game Boy Color, it provides better visual with full color. This new version introduced the Johto Region, which was based on the area of Kyoto (Japan). As improvement, 100 new Pokémon were introduced in this version.

The new feature that we can find in the second generation was the Daycare feature. If we leave two compatible Pokémon at the Daycare, we can obtain a Pokémon egg, which will hatch into a level 5 Pokémon later. What is good with this feature is, the baby Pokémon can learn moves that its father or mother have learned by meeting certain requirements.

This generation introduced the held items feature, which allow Pokémon to held an item with them and use it automatically in battles. We can also find another fun thing in collecting the monsters: shiny Pokémon, a kind of rare Pokémon with the same appearance as the original but with the different color. Last, there is Time Capsule feature which allow the trade of Pokémon from the older generation.

Generation III: Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, Fire Red and Leaf Green

Pokemon Ruby, Sapphire & EmeraldPokemon Fire Red & Leaf Green

The third generation games come up with the arrival of Game Boy Advance from Nintendo. Ruby and Sapphire version introduced the Hoenn Region, along with 135 new Pokémon. Because of some hardware limitations Game Boy Advance cannot interact with the old Game Boy, which means that some monsters from the older two versions such as Charmander aren’t available in this version.

To fix those problems, Nintendo released the Fire Red and Leaf Green version (which were the remakes of the first generation), and Emerald version which was an updated version of the Ruby and Sapphire. Because of this, players are now able to trade between the five games which also means they can collect all the Pokémon available which was impossible before.

There are some new mechanics introduced in this generation. First, natures; now every Pokémon has their own personality and nature that will affects its stats. Second, abilities; aside from the available four moves, Pokémon now has innate ability that will affect the combat. Last, double battles; it is a two-on-two where it is possible to attacks all the enemies in the battlefield instead of one.

Generation IV: Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, Heart Gold and Soul Silver

Pokemon Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, Heart Gold & Soul Silver

The fourth generation game comes up with another new device from Nintendo: Nintendo DS. This generation introduced another new 107 Pokémon. Not only that, with the capability that Nintendo DS has, the players can now play online. Players can battle and trade with anyone around the world; collecting Pokémon from another country is now possible with the help of the online feature.

Few years later, Heart Gold and Soul Silver were released. It is actually the remakes of the gold and silver version. The reason why Nintendo released the new versions is because these games are the only games where the first Pokémon in the party can follow the character everywhere in the world. This makes the Pokémon not only for battle purpose, but they can also be friend and played with.

Generation V: Black, White, Black 2 and White 2

Pokemon Black, White, Black 2 & White 2

Black and white version came out in 2011, also for Nintendo DS. The Black and White version introduced 156 new Pokémon; quite a lot amount of upgrade compared with the prior versions. In these new versions, players can now use the previous Pokémon without the requirement of completing the story first. These new versions were far more story-based compared with the older games.

A year after the Black and White release, Nintendo announced the Black 2 and White 2 as the direct sequels to Black and White. The fifth generation introduced Hidden Abilities, where a Pokémon has specific ability which is harder to get than the usual. With this, the Pokémon abilities in combat are doubled when certain conditions are met, making them even more powerful in battles.

Generation VI: X, Y, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire

Pokemon X & YPokemon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire

This generation was released in 2013, for the latest handheld from Nintendo at the moment: Nintendo 3DS. Pokémon X and Y version introduced the Kalos Region, which is located around France. And then a year later Nintendo released Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire as the remakes for the third generation Pokémon games.

The sixth generation is different from the fifth generation which was story-focused. This generation offers a more competitive gameplay that enable players to breed strong Pokémon. The main concern is more into the upgrades of the prior versions. Mega Evolution is introduced in this generation, which allows the fully-evolved Pokémon to evolve once again temporarily in battles using Mega Stone.

Generation VII: Sun, Moon, Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon

Pokemon Sun & MoonPokemon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon

The latest generation of Pokémon so far is the seventh generation. Alola Region is introduced in this generation, which is based on Hawaii. It introduced 80 new Pokémon and new forms for some previous Pokémon. The new feature in this game is Z Moves, where it is possible for Pokémon to unleash a powerful attack in battles by using certain items.

By using a Z Crystal, a Pokémon can use a super-powered version of its moves once for each battle. But unlike Mega Evolution, any Pokémon can use the Z Crystal. What is more, Z Moves aren’t block-able. Any protection moves which usually blocks normal attacks will only reduce the damage not stopping the attacks. Only one Pokémon can use Z Moves during a battle, just like Mega Evolution system.

Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon are more like the remakes of the Sun and Moon versions with added new storyline and more Pokémon (read here for more details). There are certain Pokémon that are only found in the wild while playing Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. We can also catch the totally new Ultra Beasts along with the legions of legendary Pokémon.

The other new thing is the collectible Totem Pokémon in-game. These are the over-sized, powerful Pokémon that serves as the final bosses of Alola Island trials. If we pick up special stickers which were spread around the world, we can trade them for Totem Pokémon for our own collection.

Read also: 7 Coolest Legendary Pokemon from All Pokemon Series

Pokémon can be considered as the pioneer of monster collecting games. Although it has a lot of series, it shows developments from time to time. Whatever huge the improvements are, Pokémon is still Pokémon, with the catch-’em-all slogan. I really can’t say which versions are better because it keeps improving. The latest will be the best of course, but it is impossible to forget about where it began.

What about you? Which Pokémon version do you like? Please share your thoughts in the comment below.

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Written by
A fellow RPG addict who played a lot of classic masterpieces from Square, Square-Enix, and Tri-Ace. "The epoch may change, but the classics will remain eternal"

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