Upon downloading Pokemon Go and immediately choosing Charmander, the app was directing me towards two checkpoints closest to my house, a church and a McDonalds. I’ve read enough Thomas Pynchon (about 3 pages of V) to know that this whole thing has been a scam to reinvigorate capitalist strongholds that have been losing ground against snake people, so I deleted it right then and there.
I’m more of a purist when it comes to my love for Pokemon. I stick to the canonical video games, and not much else. I can’t even watch the show anymore without shouting about how terrible a trainer is. STOP GIVING AWAY YOUR POKEMON AND EVOLVE THAT FUCKING PIKACHU ALREADY, ASH. I hate you, Ash Ketchum. Truly, I do.
Unlike that dirt merchant from Pallet Town, each new game has gotten more sophisticated in its gameplay and denser with strategy. Every generation has its own unique traits to them, but there is no getting around the fact that there is definitely a pecking order when it comes to quality. Which is what I’ll be sorting out right now. I’ll be ranking each generation based on things like Starter Pokemon and overall new roster strength, Elite Four/Gym Trainer toughness, innovation, storyline, gameplay, and some other stuff probably. Let’s see where this goes.
- Generation 3: Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald
Hybridized Pokemon types, the introduction of personalities, a deeper commitment to EV and IV training, running shoes! Dear God, I can not stress enough how much I love running shoes. The Elite Four was without a doubt the biggest cakewalk out of any generation, but the amount of all the aforementioned new features and the depth in trainable talent more than made up for it. I mean, you’ve got about 54 different Dragon types that are easily catchable to choose from, what more can you ask for?
- Generation 1: Blue/Red/Yellow
And not even for the hokey ‘it was the game that started it all’ reason. Generation 1 still has the best storyline. Whether it’s Gary/Blue/Assface being the perfect antagonist measuring stick, the complete spookiness felt in Lavender Town graveyard, there is definitely a wider range of actual emotion that Red, Blue and Yellow wanted you to experience. Also, the game itself doesn’t revolve completely around a legendary Pokemon. Mewtwo is the only legendary Pokemon who was not featured on the game’s cover. Which is how it should be! Legendary Pokemon are crutches that should rot in Bill’s PC for all eternity. I have had this conviction ever since I started playing in grade school, which is probably why I had no friends and a bunch of level 100 Kadabras.
3. Generation 4: Diamond/Pearl/Platinum
Generation 4’s bosses blows everyone else’s out of the water. Especially Cynthia, whose only rival is Mt. Silver Red, but her team is way harder to strategize against than Red’s. The talent pool is also strong, they created some fun and interesting new ways to evolve Pokemon, and they gave birth to the almighty Garchomp. But I feel like they had some missed opportunities with maximizing other talent. First, I do not know why there are so many Fire/Fighting starter Pokemon now. Blaziken was awesome, and sure, Infernape is really great, too, but that doesn’t take away from the derivative nature. Also, why isn’t Luxray any better? Just check out how bad-ass Luxray looks, how is it not more of a legitimate threat? For shame.
4. Generation 5: Black/White
Lotsa big swings in Generation 5. I, for one, adored the infinite TM loophole. That was the epitome of a gift that kept on giving. And from top to bottom, this is the most experimental they got with Pokemon types. Yes, there was a Normal/Grass for some reason. Bug/Fire? Sure, why not. You know what, for your trouble, I’ll even throw in a Ground/Electric, which is the epitome of self hatred. All of that, however, and we STILL had a starter Pokemon who was Fire/Fighting. Please, make it stop.
5. Generation 2: Gol/Silver/Crystal
Do not get me wrong, I think the merging of Johto and Kanto was awesome and being able to get 16 badges was a very fun maximalist effort. But aside from the new Eevee additions and Houndoom there really aren’t a lot of new additions to the ol’ Pokedex that I’m gonna tell my grandkids about. They even added prequel Pokemon like Elekid and Magby for some unknown fucking reason, just to get me hot and bothered.
6. Generation 6: X/Y
To be fair, generation 6’s graphics were on another level, had a lot of really fun new Pokemon (thank you, Delphox, and even introduced us to Fairy types. And Hawlucha might already be one of my 5 favorite Pokemon ever. I adore everything about Hawlucha. But throughout the game, you are gifted way too many free Pokemon. Really good ones, too. I don’t like it. Leveling up is easier than it’s ever been, too. Everything just feels too easy here. And worst of all, this is the generation that introduced us to Mega-Evolutions. Oh, how I hate Mega-Evolutions. They’re either superfluous add-ons for already great Pokemon, or a cop-out for not coming up with an organic evolutionary stage for ones that could use it. I DEMAND JUSTICE FOR SABLEYE.
Hopefully, the mega-evolutions get phased out and some better ideas get introduced in the next generation of games. Do not allow this app business to take your eyes away from the real prize, which is Pokemon Sun and Moon hitting stores this November. It should be lit. And if you disagree with my list in any way, just remember any legitimacy my opinion might possibly have is diminished once you realize that I am an adult writing about Pokemon.