It's been a growing trend with more single mothers these days in the Pokemon World allowing their tween sons or daughters to venture into their own respective regions to collect, train, and battle Pokemon in order to satisfy their child's own desires to someday become the champion(although the tweens are quite silent about it). However, one cannot simply challenge the current Champion without first acquiring eight badges from the Gym Leaders in their own respective regions in order to prove that the Trainer is qualified enough to attempt and usurp the Champion's position

Gyms are a staple in the series and a necessity to visit when you traverse across the region. The journey to go from one gym to the next differs in length, but it always results in paving a path of defeated trainers, creating a pile of fainted random encounters, rush visits to the Pokemon Center, and whatever story element that the game throws at you to throw you off track until you get there. Nonetheless, the main objective for each Gym visit is always the same: solve the gym's puzzles (if there's any), defeat the trainers standing in the way to the Gym Leader, and defeat the Gym Leader in order to win the badge of the respective gym. After you're done, you move on with your journey again to visit and defeat the next Gym Leader, but sometimes I feel as if people are missing something from the experience of each gym visit: the gym's design.

As you can see, each gym has a theme within that's relative to their type and the gym's design could incorporate the gym's specialized type into the gym's layout and base its puzzles off of the nature of the element and the environment of which the Pokemon of that type lives in. The themes could offer a host of different puzzles based off of different ideas, such as Ice type gyms being covered in ice and requiring the trainer to slide across the ice to reach their destination or Electric type gyms with electric type puzzles which the trainer would have to tinker with circuitry. Each gym is fun in its own way and the inspiration for this top ten is to highlight the gyms in particular which stands out by having interesting and fun designs which differs them from the rest.
Without further ado, these are the top ten gyms which are the best designed gyms within the series.

The Goldenrod City gym is the third gym in the Johto League and its Gym Leader is Whitney. The Gym specializes in Normal type Pokemon.

The design of the Gym consists of a pathway which leads to Whitney that is created by lines of flowerbeds and ornaments. You must first navigate their way around the wall created by the decorations and then make it into the center of the gym where Whitney awaits your arrival. From the player's point of view, he/she may just see lines of flowerbeds and ornaments, but when you look at the whole Gym together in one picture, you could see that the decorations are actually lined up in the shape of a Clefairy.

The Clefairy shape design using the Gym's decorations allowed this gym to have a place on this top ten.

The Saffron City Gym is the sixth gym in the Kanto League and its leader is Sabrina. The Saffron City Gym specializes in Psychic type Pokemon.

As you enter through the Gym, you will see that you are starting off in a small boxed area with a warp tile on the ground. As you step onto the warp tile, you will be teleported to another boxed area which is in another section of the Gym and would have the fight the trainer within the boxed area to progress. As you try to progress, you will have three or four warp tiles to choose from depending on where you are and each will lead you to another boxed area where you'll have to continuously take the correct warp tile in order to teleport yourself to where Sabrina is at the center of the Gym. Taking the wrong warp tiles, however, could result in being lost and having to backtrack.

The Saffron Gym was the first gym to use warp tiles and has a more complex design than the previous Gyms before it, thus becoming qualified to have a place within this top ten.

The Azalea Gym is the second gym in the Johto League for the Heart Gold and Soul Silver version and its leader is Bugsy. The Azalea Gym specializes in Bug type Pokemon.

In the original version of the Azalea Gym, the Gym's layout is reminiscent of Celadon Gym in terms of design. The Gym had a forest setting and the decorative trees and flowerbeds forms barriers which the player would have to go around the walls in order to get to Bugsy.

In Heart Gold and Soul Silver, the Gym went through a radical redesign where there the Gym now has been separated into two gaps by deep gaps. The gaps are covered with a wide web which stretches from one end to another and spiders which the players could ride on in order to cross them. At the first part of the gym, taking the right spider could allow you to cross the path to the middle piece of land whereas taking the wrong spider could either land you at a dead end or it could force you to face a trainer. To cross the second gap, a switch must be first activated in order to correct the path that the spider would need to take in order to reach Bugsy.

The redesign of the Azalea Gym from the original to this version allowed it to crawl its way into this top ten.

The Hearthome Gym is the third Gym Leader in the Sinnoh League for the Platinum version and its leader is Fantina. The Gym specializes in Ghost type Pokemon.

The Gym went through a significant redesign from its original Diamond and Pearl counterpart and now features a different gimmick. The Gym is separated into several rooms and each room is pitch black with the only sources of light coming from the player's flashlight and the NPC trainers' flashlights. The player must navigate his/her way through a small maze in each room and must fight the other Trainers if encountered. At the end of each room, there are several doors with each door featuring a different symbol on the door's surface. The player cannot just enter any door because only the door with the right symbol could be entered. The player could find out which door is the right door by searching for a blue tile on the floor of the maze. Entering the wrong door will kick the player back to the lobby and force the player to start over again. This new design is seen as an improvement over the original where you'll have to input the correct answer of a mathematical problem in order to proceed although both versions are still fairly easy. The Platinum version also has more of a feel for the theme of a Ghost type gym.

The Hearthome Gym in Platinum version made it into the top ten for its aesthetic changes and for its new gimmick.

The Mossdeep Gym is the seventh gym in the Hoenn League and its leaders are Liza and Tate. The Mossdeep Gym specializes in Psychic type Pokemon.

The Mossdeep Gym in Emerald is unlike its counterpart in Ruby and Sapphire, the Gym has been separated into several different enclosures as opposed to the open space of which it originally was designed as. Upon entering, you'll notice that there are statues, trainers, and tiles with arrows on them which points to different directions. Stepping on one of the tiles would rotate both the trainers and the statues, and you could use the maneuver in order to create pathways to allow you to advance to the next section. It's not as easy as it sounds, however, because sometimes rotating the tiles around could open one path but closes another, and one room's setup is reliant on another room's setup and so you'll have to coordinate the both of them in order to proceed. Another thing worth noting is that this is the only Gym with double battles so far in the series as you'll have to face both Liza and Tate together.

The redesign of the gym in Emerald as well as being the first gym to feature double battle gym leaders allowed this Gym to have place within this top ten.

The Sunnyshore Gym is the eighth Gym in the Sinnoh League and its leader is Volkner. The Sunnyshore Gym specializes in Electric type Pokemon.

The Gym itself is a labyrinth of gears with each room featuring gears with yellow colored bars installed on them which creates pathways for the player to advance through the Gym as you assemble them together by pressing the right switches in the correct order.
The complexity of the Gym comes with the assembly of many different gears. As one gear rotates, all the gears would rotate as well as the bridges connecting the stairs in the second and third rooms. To solve the puzzle in one room would mean going back and forth along the gears and going from one end of the room to the next just to rotate the gears in the correct order. The puzzles could be tricky because you have to know what each turn of the gear could do for the room as a whole and how it could block off or open up new pathways for you to venture across the room. The aesthetic design of the gears being operated like clockwork also gave it a nice feel for the theme of an Electric type Gym.

The Gym's puzzle design as well as the aesthetics of the Gym charged its way into this top ten.

The Sootopolis Gym is the eighth Gym in the Hoenn League and its leader is either Wallace for Ruby and Sapphire or Juan for Emerald. The Sootopolis Gym specializes in Water type Pokemon.

Water gimmicks are a dime a dozen and we have seen them all: manipulating the water levels, crossing the water using different platforms, freezing and thawing, etc. What made Sootopolis Gym unique, however, is that the design doesn't have much to do with water at all.

The Gym separates the starting location and the Gym Leader with a three sectioned field of ice littered with ice blocks. At first glance, this looks like another sliding puzzle, but once you step on the ice you'll notice that the ice tile that you have just stepped on started cracking. The main goal of this Gym is to make it across the Gym by only stepping on each ice tile once. Stepping on any ice tile twice would result in you falling into the basement and land on one of three islands depending on which section of ice you were on and be forced to fight at least one trainer in order to make it back up again. The only differences between the Ruby and Sapphire versions and Emerald version are the location of the ice blocks and the number and location of the trainers in the basement.

The Gym's ice field puzzle and basement trap design allowed the Gym to flow its way into a place within this top ten.

The Opelucid Gym is the 7th Gym in the Unova League for the Black 2 and White 2 versions and its leader is Dreyden. The Gym specializes in Dragon type Pokemon.

This Gym is different from its Black and White counterpart and now features Drayden as the sole Gym Leader and its gimmick had changed. In this version, Drayden is stationed at the head of an enormous dragon statue which is positioned at the very top of the Gym. To reach him, the player must ride the head of the dragon which is stationed at the same level as the entrance and fight his/her way up. The player will have to make a stop at several stations along the way and each featuring two different trainers to fight with their own distinctive styles of fighting, such as one stage featuring one trainer who fights in Rotation style and the other who fights in Triple Battle style. Once the player's dragon statue ascend to the very top and meets face to face with Drayden's dragon, Dreyden could then be challenged. What's unique about the Opelucid Gym in the sequel is that this is the second time that there are two different Gym Leaders in the same generation.

The Opelucid Gym in Black 2 and White 2 made it into the top ten for its aesthetic style and the choices for trainer battles.

The Striaton Gym is the first Gym in the Unova League for the Black and White versions and its leader is one of the three: Cilan, Chili, and Cress. The Striaton Gym specializes in both Normal type and the type of Pokemon that is strong against your starter.

Normally, Gyms would feature a single Gym Leader as the sole leader of the Gym with exceptions to Mossdeep or Gyms which features two different characters who takes turns being the Gym Leader while one's away. The Striaton Gym, however, is the first Gym to actually feature three different Gym Leaders.

The Gym itself is based off of a cafe where the Gym Leaders also works at as part of their jobs. As you enter, you are greeted with a carpeted room and a curtain in front of you which has a symbol for a type's element. There are also three circular panels on the floor in front of the curtain which represents the three most common types: Water, Fire, and Grass. The purpose is to step on the panel which represents the type that's strong against the type symbol that's displayed on the curtain (I.E: the first curtain displays fire so you'll have to press on the water panel). After you pass through the two curtains standing between you and the Gym Leader, the Gym Leader would be one of the three Gym Leaders whose Pokemon would be strong against your starter. If you chose Snivy, your opponent would be Chili; if you chose Oshawott, your opponent would be Cilan; and if you chose Tepig, your opponent would be Cress.

The Straiton Gym made its way into the top ten with its setting and its unique Gym Leader setup.

The Nimbasa Gym is the fourth Gym in the Unova League for the Black 2 and White 2 versions and its leader is Elesa. The Nimbasa Gym specializes in Electric type Pokemon.

Nimbasa Gym is also a Gym which went through a major redesign from its original. In Black and White, the Nimbasa Gym featured a series of roller coasters which the player would have to ride on in order to progress his/her way to Elesa, and with each stop the player would have to also change roller coasters in order to continously take the correct roller coaster to go to Elesa. Black and White 2 not only left the old Nimbasa Gym intact but also built a new version of the Gym with just a short distance to the right of the old Gym. The new Gym's gimmick is that of a fashion show in which the trainer would have to traverse across the catwalk in order to proceed to Elesa at the stage.

As you enter the Gym, you see a catwalk in front of you that's surrounded by spectators whose bodies are scanned by faint light which circulates the crowds. The upbeat music pounds excitement into the area and urges you to proceed onto the dark catwalk with the faint shadow of a person in front of you. As you approach the person on the catwalk, a spotlight shines on her and revealed that she is one of the trainers whose purpose is to stop you from challenging Elesa. Once you defeat her, she will make a U-turn and the crowd then will appreciatively cheer and whistle to acknowledge your victory. The circular lights installed on each side of the catwalk would light up and permanently brighten the part of the catwalk that you were on. This happens again until you defeat the last trainer who's standing in your way and Elesa reveals herself elegantly on the stage with erupting light and the titanic TV screen behind the stage displaying her face brilliantly across the whole Gym. Once you have defeated her, the giant screen behind the stage will convert to an image of the player character and proudly declare that you are the winner of the battle. That's not all there's to it because as you leave the Gym, Elesa and her Beauty cronies will offer you a congratulatory walk off of the catwalk and back to the entrance.

The New Nimbasa Gym changed the image of Elesa from Black and White into a new fabulous look for both her and her Gym design. The new redesign ostentatiously made its way into the top ten.

Throughout the five generations we have seen Pokemon Gyms as a staple of the series which evolved in both aesthetics and content over time. There are now more than 40 Gyms available within the roster of the entire Pokemon World. Overall, Pokemon Gyms are one of the most enjoyable features of the series for me and one of the most fun I could have with each game is exploring a Gym's design.

Thank you very much for reading my first top ten. If you wish to discuss any part of this top ten with me, please feel free to talk to me through any means possible.

List by highwind07 (10/31/2012)

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