When the Red and Blue Pokémon versions were released in 1998, a widespread enthusiasm for the novel gameplay quickly developed. Since said first appearance, seven more generations of Pokémon games have appeared in the main series. What changed compared to the predecessors?
The first generation revolutionized classic Game Boy games in many ways. Everything was new, mysterious, and simply impressive. Many of the original 151 Pokémon still enjoy enormous popularity today: Pikachu, Charizard or Abra were there from the beginning. The Pokédex, Pokémon gyms, turn-based battles - little has changed in the basic game principle to this day. Along with Red and Blue, the Yellow version is one of the first generation.
The Gold and Silver versions were released in 2001 for the Game Boy Color, and fans were given the opportunity to experience Pokémon in color for the first time. A new region, 100 new Pokémon, new types of Pokéballs, or the ability to equip the monsters with items represented additions to the original gameplay. Finally, Crystal allowed players to choose whether they wanted to be a boy or a girl.
Ruby and Sapphire were released in 2003 for the Game Boy Advance. There was a visible step forward, especially graphically, and in addition, of course, there was a new region, more Pokémon, and new types of Pokéballs. With the introduction of the double battle or creatures, the game principle was also expanded. Emerald and the remakes FireRed and LeafGreen complete the third generation.
When Diamond and Pearl appeared on the Nintendo DS in summer 2007, fans were able to experience the world of Pokémon in (more or less) 3D for the first time. Technical innovations such as Wi-Fi and a possible Internet connection made it possible to swap and battle with players from all over the world - a revolutionary novelty. The second screen also represented a simplification of the menu navigation, which was sometimes a bit complicated in the first parts. In addition to Platinum, the new versions HeartGold and SoulSilver also belong to the fourth generation.
In 2011, the developers chose a new approach without throwing old game mechanics overboard: Only 156 new Pokémon are initially available as part of the Black and White versions. Only after defeating the Pokémon League can the monsters of the old generations be encountered. The story is set in a metropolis reminiscent of Manhattan. Graphic updates, the introduction of seasons and an expansion of the battle system also provided a breath of fresh air. The fifth generation is completed by Black 2 and White 2.
X and Y finally made the step to a real 3D game. Thanks to the power of the Nintendo 3DS, players could now enjoy a completely new graphics experience. Pokémon of the Fairy type, Mega evolutions or PokéMonAmi represented further innovations in the main games of the sixth generation. In addition, with Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, further new versions were of course not to be missed.
In 2016, a new generation appeared on the 3DS with Sun and Moon. Graphic revisions and new Pokémon were not as important as new game mechanics: Instead of classic gyms, players roamed a Hawaiian-inspired archipelago and completed tasks. Z-Attacks or the newly introduced Battle Royale also made their first appearance. Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, as well as the Switch games Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Evoli! are also usually counted as part of the seventh generation.
At the end of 2019, fans of the series were allowed to turn their attention to the main games of the eighth generation on the Switch: Sword and Shield. As in Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Evoli!, wild Pokémon can be observed in nature even before the battle begins. A newly introduced nature zone connects several cities together, and a new battle element has also been added in the form of the Dynamax transformation.
Even more than 20 years after the release of the first versions, developer Game Freak has remained true to itself in terms of game mechanics and basic principle. Always new Pokémon, the introduction of numerous regions or graphic improvements were enough to refine the world of pocket monsters over a long period of time, but without destroying the original charm of the classics.