Paige FTW: Ranking Pokemon Generations, By Influence
As the world trembles in anticipation for Pokemon’s long-rumored appearance on Nintendo Switch, I thought it would be fun to look back on the previous seven generations — and their contributions to the series as a whole. A series of Magmar-level hot takes follow as to which games did the most to bring Pokemon forward, and which fell to the wayside.
The Gen 5 games were fun and had probably the best story of any Pokemon game, but were not particularly groundbreaking. The seasons never returned. Triple and Rotation battles never really caught on outside of an occasional gimmicky trainer battle.
My personal favorite generation is, nevertheless, not super important. Its most lasting innovation is the division of all attacks into physical and special categories, completely altering the dynamic of Pokemon battles and move decisions.
The first 3-D Pokemon title also brought with it the Mega Evolution gimmick, which, for better or worse, has been continued in Gen 7. While others of its changes — the Fairy type, for example — continue on, most of its new features, like Sky Battles and Horde Encounters, are barely memorable.
It’s tough to rank the arguably most popular generation so low on this list, but I have to, because this is not a list about quality, but influence. Gen 2 brought in the day/night system and two new types — but more importantly, it brought breeding and Shiny Pokemon into the picture.
Gen 7 has upended the formula entirely with its disposal of the classic Gym system (and HMs)— but until Gen 8 comes out, we don’t know how influential it really has been. But boy, has it sent a precedent if The Pokemon Co. wants to follow it.
Gen 3 had a number of hugely significant, albeit non-flashy alterations to the series formula: Abilities and Natures massive altered the face of battle, and the refinement of the EV/IV systems changed how Pokemon are raised. This game created the competitive scene, if you ask me.
You can’t deny the power of the original. Without Gen 1, there is no blueprint to change. That’s all I have to say about that.