gaming

The 15 Best Pokémon Games, Ranked

We compiled the franchise's best video games.

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Jason Koeppel/ONE37pm

Do you know what the best Pokémon video games ever made are? Are you looking to get an old Nintendo console and become a Pokémon Master? You're in the right place.

We put together a list of the 15 best games to help you dive back in, compiled of some of the most influential Pokémon games from the last 23 years. Which one was your favorite? Which generation did you enjoy the most? We’re certain to have the games that will enable you to recreate your fondest Pokémon memories. Also, get ready to search eBay for that game you cherished most. Let's "catch 'em all"!

15. 'Pokémon Black & White' Versions (2010)

black white
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Available on Nintendo DS, Black and White received high praise upon release. Located in the Unova Region, and boasting 156 new Pokémon to catch, the original Generation V games have more than enough to pique your inner gamer. Black & White boasts updated graphics, wireless features for Internet connection, and the ability to access Pokémon Dream World. Pokémon Dream World is an online mode that allows players to send their Pokémon into a game where they could meet up with other Pokémon or send back available items. Through Pokémon Transfer, you can receive Pokémon from previous games such as Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, HeartGold, and SoulSilver. Pokémon Black and White are solid entries in the franchise.

Buy Now, $97.99

14. 'Pokémon Sun & Moon' (2016)

sun moon
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

The fastest-selling games in Pokémon history, Sun & Moon are our favorite recent games. Available via Nintendo 3DS, Sun & Moon is the first of the Gen. VII games. Located in the Alola region, there are 81 new Pokémon to catch. You can partake in Battle Royals, where four opponents battle each other until one is eliminated. Whoever has the highest total of knockouts and Pokémon remaining is the winner. Another cool feature: the games are 12 hours apart. So Sun would be during the daytime and Moon at night and vice versa.  Compatible games for Pokémon transfers are Pokémon X and Y and Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire. You can also utilize the Pokémon Bank, which is an online storage system capable of holding up to 3,000 Pokémon per player. Instead of Gyms, you have Island Challenges where you complete numerous challenges before gaining permission to advance in the game. If you have a Nintendo 3DS or prefer a newer console, Sun and Moon is a solid choice.

Buy Now, $39.98

13. 'Pokémon Black 2 & White 2' (2012)

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Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

One of the best sequels in the franchise, Black 2 and White 2 are available on Nintendo DS. The Gen V games take place in the Unova Region, two years after the original games, offering 5 new areas for you to explore. Game options such as Challenge or Easy Mode are available, and you can see flashbacks from the original Black & White game via the Memory Link. There’s a good amount of Legendary Pokémon available after beating the game. If you re-enter a region and walk past a Pokémon Breeder you previously defeated, they will challenge you again. Pokémon World Tournament is a new addition, where you can battle almost every Gym Leader and champion from the main games. With an expanded Pokédex for original Pokémon and 301 total to catch, these entries will certainly provide a great challenge.

Buy Now, $167.99

12. 'Pokémon X & Y' (2013)

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Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Would you prefer to play a newer game with 3D elements? The first Pokémon games to make the advancements are X and Y. They even improved upon the effects when a Pokémon is attacked. Situated in the Kalos Region, there are 72 new Pokémon in X and Y. The first Generation VI games added Fairy-type Pokémon to the realm, which improved battling against Dragon-type Pokémon. Pokémon-Amie was a new element to the games, allowing players to train, feed, and pet their Pokémon in an effort to provide a closer relationship. Another new feature was Horde Encounters; where up to five wild Pokémon can battle your Pokémon. Although it’s a great way to increase your own Pokémon, for every strike, each wild healthy Pokémon get to strike back.

Buy Now, $39.99

11. 'Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! & Let's Go, Eevee!' (2018)

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Nintendo, The Pokémon Company

The seventh generation of the storied Pokémon legacy is marked by this remake of the original 1998 Game Boy Color game, Pokémon Yellow. These Nintendo Switch games are a nostalgic victory lap that has tons of charm and harkens back to the best themes from the handheld games & cartoon series. All the original 151 Pokémon make their welcome return here, plus their respective Mega Evolved forms from Pokémon XYOmega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire, and their Alolan Forms from Pokémon Sun & Moon pop up as well. The fact that you can actually see the wild Pokémon you set out to battle and capture is such a great quality-of-life improvement for Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!

Buy Now, $53.98

10. 'Pokémon Legends: Arceus' (2022)

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Nintendo, The Pokémon Company

For those of you diehard Pokémon fanatics out there that have been waiting for a true open-world evolution of the series, this Nintendo Switch adventure fulfilled that dream scenario. Pokémon Legends: Arceus takes place in a pre-Sinnoh region era that's known as Hisui. Taking place long before the events of Pokémon Diamond & Pearl and their remakes, this prequel journey lets you traverse a vast land filled with all sorts of varied biomes that host all sorts of different Pokémon species. Interacting with those familiar creatures allows for seamless gameplay where you can throw a Poké Ball at a Pokémon while out exploring, enter battles without having to wait to load another screen, and even get attacked directly by the wandering Pokémon you'll encounter.

Buy Now, $59.99

9. 'Pokémon Sword & Shield' (2019)

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Nintendo, The Pokémon Company

Pokémon Sword and Shield mark the very first time a brand new mainline game in the long-running series launched on the Nintendo Switch. The game's locales exist within the Galar region, which is modeled after the recognizable settings UK denizens will instantly be familiar with. On a graphical level, Pokémon Sword and Shield look great and help push the series forward on Nintendo's hybrid console. 81 new Pokémon marked their debut here, plus 13 regional forms of past Pocket Monsters. This game introduced fans to the following new mechanics that added an extra wrinkle to the series' ongoing formula: "Dynamaxing," "Gigantamaxing," and the "Wild Area." Pokémon Sword and Shield's difficulty level might not be high enough, but their fun factor certainly is.

Buy Now, $109.95

8. 'Pokémon Diamond & Pearl' (2007)

diamond
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

The first Pokémon games on Nintendo DS, Diamond and Pearl take place in the Sinnoh Region. The DS system allows you to take advantage of the touch screen, such as selecting options in battles and while playing mini-games. The graphics, colors, and experience are all improved. This is the first game to allow battles and trades with people over the Internet. You could also voice chat with opponents. Unfortunately, the online features ended on May 14, 2020.  The type of Pokémon you use in battle is more important than past games, with strengths and weaknesses getting much more attention. The introduction of a new battle system was a major change. Having a physical or special attack depending on how specific moves function changed battling. The Generation IV games Diamond and Pearl have 107 new Pokémon, and 151 total to catch.  

Buy Now, $79.50

7. 'Pokémon Platinum' (2009)

platinum
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

The updated version of Diamond & Pearl, Platinum is a new area located in the Sinnoh Region. This Generation IV game is situated in an alternate universe, with 59 new Pokémon and 210 total in Gen. IV along with all the non-Legendary Pokémon in the previous Gen. IV games. There’s the Global Trade System, which allowed you to complete trades via email. You can also connect to multiple games, such as Diamond and Pearl along with HeartGold and SoulSilver. Battle Park provides great challenges and allows you to earn Battle Points. The Points can be traded or utilized at the Exchange Service Corner. Try your luck at the Battle Tower and see if you indeed are the very best. 

Buy Now, $28.99

6. 'Pokémon Fire Red & Leaf Green' (2004)

fire red
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Thanks to the upgrades available with Game Boy Advance, Fire Red and Leaf Green improved upon the original games and added the 100 Pokémon from the Johto Region to the Kanto Region. Having 251 Pokémon to catch, trade, and breed in one region is staggering. You also could explore the Sevii Islands, which have Pokémon specific to the region. Pokémon have different genders in this game and they can hold items. Compatible games for trading are Ruby, Sapphire, and Pokémon Colosseum. You can also choose between Male and Female when creating your character.

Buy Now, $141.99

5. 'Pokémon Ruby & Sapphire + Emerald' (2002 & 2005)

emerald
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

The 3rd Generation, Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald holds the title as the best-selling Game Boy Advance games ever. The Hoenn Region has 135 new types and 386 total Pokémon to collect and trade for. For the first time, you could battle with two of your Pokémon at once. Multi Battles with up to 4 players were also added. The game also included Pokémon Contests, which is a pageant of sorts where the Pokémon exhibit their abilities and character in front of judges. They introduced Abilities, such as flying type Pokémon taking no damage from ground-type Pokémon. This improved gameplay by creating more opportunities to outsmart your opponent.

Buy Now, $67.99

4. 'Pokémon Blue & Red' Versions

red blue
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Back in 1998, deciding between Pokémon Red or Blue was a tough choice. Due to limitations of which Pokémon characters were available in each game, trades for certain Pokémon dominated conversations with friends at school. Without a trade, you couldn’t evolve Kadabra into Alakazam. Red and Blue were the introductions, from choosing one of Charmander, Bulbasaur, or Squirtle, to catching Pokémon, battling, trading, and eventually becoming the Pokémon Champion.  With all 151 original Pokémon technically available, it’s a great challenge. Make sure to have a friend get the other version or just buy both so you can complete the quest to catch 'em all. 

Buy Now, $52.99

3. 'Pokémon HeartGold/SoulSilver' (2010)

silver gold
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

Bigger than their predecessors, HeartGold and SoulSilver are a thorough expansion. The sequels to Gold and Silver are considered masterpieces. You can have one of 493 Pokémon follow you and you can battle gym leaders multiple times. In Pal Park, you can transfer Pokémon from multiple games: Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, Fire Red, and Leaf Green. You can also connect the Nintendo DS to a Nintendo Wii to play the Pokémon Battle Revolution. Battle Revolution was the first Pokémon game for the Wii console. With improved graphics, larger regions, and the addition of Battle Frontier, this could be your go-to set to play and is certainly entrenched in the top three all-time Pokémon games.

Buy Now, $168.99

2. 'Pokémon Yellow Version' (1999)

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Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

The Third Generation I game, Pokémon Yellow, was a strong update to Red and Blue. Modeled after the original show, you begin the game receiving Pikachu from Professor Oak. The most famous Pokémon, Pikachu had to have his own game. Pokémon Yellow gives the most authentic feel for Gen. I players. The improvements on Red and Blue are noticeable as well. Some trainers and the front artwork of Pokémon when battling are improved to resemble the commercial artworks previously released by artist Ken Sugimori. Since Pikachu was the only Pokémon that could follow you, it became a must to train and keep him on you at all times. Pikachu can’t evolve or be released and will cry at times. Facing off with Team Rocket Villains Jesse & James is another reason to choose Yellow over Red or Blue. Original Game Boy Color players will definitely get nostalgic playing Yellow

Buy Now, $64.99

1. 'Pokémon Gold/Silver Version/Crystal' (2000-2001)

gold silver crystal
Jason Koeppel // ONE37pm

The 2nd series of Pokémon games, Gold, Silver & Crystal get top billing. The original Generation II games did not disappoint; with full-color graphics, 100 new Pokémon to catch plus the original 151 characters, and 16 gyms, it was sprawling. Introducing the Jhoto Region while being able to go to the Kanto Region, later on, was unprecedented. Gold and Silver were the first games to have breeding, introduced Shiny Pokémon, and were originally intended to be the final Pokémon Games. You will certainly be busy trying to complete this masterpiece. The opportunity to Catch 'Em All is right here.

Buy Now, $59.99

If you think you're going to make the dive back into Pokémon, make sure to tag @137pm on Twitter when you start playing! And keep your eye on our social channels for a lot more Pokémon content. 

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