Remember when Pokemon Red and Blue made its debut back in the late 90’s? It was such a long time ago, but I bet that the people that played the first generation games as kids have some fond memories of the games.

Pokemon is one of the series from the 90’s that survives to this day. However, it seemed to me as if most of the people that once enjoyed the games had left the series after the First Generation was over. The series made some radical progression throughout its lifespan with each generation, but I hear comments about how each installment in the series is “all the same” from inexperienced gamers, and surprisingly sometimes from those that have played the game as well.

As a fan of the series that started from the very beginning with First Generation back in elementary school, I have experienced numerous noticeable contributions made from generation to generation that improved the Pokemon experience. Now with the advent of X and Y, I wrote this list to address some of the most noticeable contributions that me and/or the community generally agree on.


Guess that Pokemon mini-game:

Can you guess what a Pokemon is by the description given? Use the clues given at the end of certain entries to guess what Pokemon that clue is referring to. The Pokemon will be from within the same generation as the entry.

The answers are below. Good luck.

Generations I and II both only allowed the traditional 1 on 1 battle format. Generation III was the first generation to introduce the Double Battle format that changed how battles were being conducted.

The Double Battle format allows for four Pokemon to be on the field at the same time. There can be up to 2 participating trainers on each side and the number of total Pokemon allowed on each side is split between each contributing trainer (up to 3 each for 2 trainers, up to 6 each for 1 trainer). The usual rule for victory still applies, but if a trainer in a duo has no remaining Pokemon, his/her partner can still participate if the partner still has Pokemon that are able to fight.

Double Battles changed the mechanics of moves and abilities to allow multi-targeted moves and abilities that will target the user’s own team, every Pokemon on the opposing team, as well as every other Pokemon including the user.
Teamwork and caution is emphasized more because coordination can make a difference. For example, you do not want to hurt your own teammate with a multi-target move that would damage your teammate’s Pokemon or otherwise make the battlefield conditions unsuitable for your teammate. Abilities can also play a big part in it as well with different abilities offering its own double battle characteristics.

The introduction of Double Battles innovate the gameplay battle mechanics of the series and provided new competitive opportunities. Gen III was also mentionable for having the only double battle Gym Leader so far.

Guess that Pokémon :

Give an ugly and feeble fish a chance at beauty and it will become a serpentine work of art.

The first generation introduced us to 151 Pokemon, but that didn’t stop there. Game Freak decided to create a whole new generation that introduced us to another region, Johto, along with new adventures and new Pokemon to meet. The Second Generation games also left fans of the first generation with a surprise: the privilege of revisiting Kanto again.

The player can experience a new journey after he/she defeats the Johto version of the Indigo League. Routes 27 and 26 conveniently connect New Bark Town to Viridian City, so the player can immediately venture to Kanto after reloading the game file. The player can find that Kanto is like its original counterpart albeit with some design changes.

The player can partake in the spirit of the original journey by challenging the Kanto League. The Kanto League will have slight modifications from its original counterpart, but each Gym Leader still keeps his or her signature Pokemon(s). Perhaps the biggest surprise to come from this feature is the opportunity to challenge a certain legendary trainer on Mt.Silver.

The HeartGold and Soul Silver versions added a few extra features for visiting players such as the GB Sounds device and the opportunity to rematch Gym Leaders from both regions.

This was one of the features that made the Second Generation so memorable for me. I played Silver right after playing Blue, and it was nice to revisit Kanto again. Soul Silver enhanced my experience even more with the graphics overhaul, the Gym redesigns, the addition of the rematches, and especially the remixed music. Overall, I liked the Kanto throwback, and I wish to see this type of feature again in later installments.

Guess that Pokemon:

My golden-silver fur can be admired for a thousand years. I also appeared in Generation I.

Generation V expanded on battle formats by introducing the newer Triple and Rotation battles.

Triple Battles are fought with six Pokemon with three on each side. The Pokemon will be lined up in a row based off of the order they were in line. What is interesting about this format is that the Pokemon’s placement is crucial to the trainer. Pokemon that are placed on the left side cannot attack the opponent’s Pokemon on the right side, and vice versa. Only the middle Pokemon is free to attack any of the opponent’s Pokemon. Abilities are about the same way with restrictions on proximity. There are some moves, however, that can affect every Pokemon on the field regardless of placement.

Rotation Battles are fought on a disk with three Pokemon chosen at a time from each trainer. Each Pokemon can make a move, but the disk will rotate and make the active Pokemon the “head” of the formation. Any player may rotate and also attack on the same turn, giving opportunities to set up and prepare. Only the active Pokemon can be affected by battle, however, even by multi-target moves and abilities.

Triple and Rotation Battles was a refreshing addition to the battle system. I personally liked Rotating better than Triple Battle, but both were fun to try because they weren’t like the traditional 1 vs 1 or even Double Battles.

Guess that Pokemon:

I am a bug that is attracted to fire yet cannot be killed from it.

The Second Generation gave the series a major contribution that was not done again until the Sixth Generation: introducing new types. The Steel and Dark types were introduced in the Second Generation with new Pokemon as well as re-typing existing Pokemon.

The introduction of Steel and Dark types changed the nature of competition. Steel types became favored among defensive style players because of their usual colossal defense stat and incredible type resistances. Dark types are usually physical attackers with skills that are designed towards manipulation such as Bite, Torment, and Foul Play. It gave us some Pokemon such as Scizor and Spiritomb to mix up the roster and make things interesting.

Personally, the biggest benefits for me from the addition of these two types are a few moves and Pokemon. I usually like having the Dark type moves Bite, Crunch, and Nasty Plot as part of my Pokemon’s movesets. I also like having Lucario and Aggron from the roster of Steel Pokemon.

Before Black 2/White 2 came out, fans wondered if there was ever going to be a time when we will have representatives from every region so far in the series
being present in one generation. We got that answer when Black 2/White 2 introduced the massive “Pokemon World Tournament” feature.

The Pokemon World Tournament (PWT) is the biggest gathering of cross-generational Trainers yet in one building. Players have the opportunity to encounter Gym Leaders and Champions from every generation as well as other familiar faces in a variety of competitive styles: single, double, triple, and rotation. You can selectively choose the format that you want to play, whether you want to compete against only against a pool of a certain generation or compete in a tournament where all Gym Leaders are present in one tournament. Trainers can choose only three Pokemon each to represent him/her. All items except the items that the Pokemon is carrying are also not allowed. Each tournament is then played out in a single elimination format and the player gets to fight in a total of three matches. At the end of the tournament, the player can receive Battle Points from any victory that they have made and use them to purchase items from a vendor.

What I liked the most about the PWT was that pretty much everyone received a buff from their original counterpart. The Leaders and Champions for the most part retained their main game roster, but modified their existing roster to add in new Pokemon or exchanged moves. A few Leaders that I never had trouble before, like Bugsy and Brawly, suddenly became a refreshing challenge for me. The Champions also became ridiculously hard enough that it took me several tries just to beat one Champions tournament. The PWT was frustrating at first, but I started to like it once I learned how to become better at it. I also liked the remixed battle music for different gens.

The PWT is an overall fun addition to the series for fans that like a challenge and want to revisit the past generations.

“When is the main Pokemon series going to be in 3D?”

I have heard this comment from fans for years. I remembered that fans had lost their collective minds when they witnessed that first trailer showcasing a 3D world and battles being done in 3D.

Pokemon is a long running series that started all the way back on the Game Boy. The series went through major advancements throughout the course of its history, surpassing milestones such as being in color and having online capability. But longtime fans that still remember the days when we had the topdown view of the overworld and the 2D battles wished to know why the series didn’t transcend into the 3D era with its handheld games. We still got the 3D Pokemon side games like Coliseum. We just wanted the main series to be in 3D.It was in Generation IV that the series took its first steps towards being in 3D with some 3D environments. Later, Fifth Generation made the battles somewhat 3D and made some locations 3D. Now with Sixth Generation out already, it finally implemented both the overworld and battles done in full 3D with animations for reactions and moves. It was what fans had wanted for a long time, and it is finally here.

On a side note: remember the trailer for Black and White that showcased the player character walking around the outer streets of Castelia City and it showed the tall buildings rotate? I was pretty disappointed because the other major cities weren’t 3D as well as I have seen with Castelia.

Have you ever noticed your Pokemon earning extra stat points on certain stats as they leveled up? The mysterious benefactor is known as “Effort Values” or EV for short. But while they were introduced in Generation I, EV was a hidden attribute of your Pokemon until Generation VI finally displayed them in the open.

Here's a basic explaination of EV's: Pokemon’s EV can give extra point values to certain stats when leveled up. Pokemon can earn EV points towards certain stats based off of the Pokemon that they defeat. There are certain items, but most commonly vitamins, that can be used to manipulate EV into certain areas. The maximum amount of EV points a Pokemon can have in a stat is 252. Having EV's in the right places gives greater benefit to your Pokemon for particular strengths.

Now, why Sixth Gen making EV visible is important is because there are players that like to optimize their Pokemon. Dedicated players will meticulously train their Pokemon with training regiments that focuses on fulfilling their role on the player’s team, especially when the player wants to play competitively. Super Training seems to make good use of EV training by offering training regiments that are accessible from any point in the game. Perhaps it would be more fun to do Super Training rather than training for hours out on the field.

I don’t know why they waited so long to do this, but this beats having to guess a Pokemon’s EV or use programs like Pokesav.

Guess that Pokemon:

“A fiery oracle”.

In the old days interaction between players was limited to the people that you are with locally by using Cable Links and the GBA Wireless Adapter. Fourth Generation was the first generation to utilize the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection capability on the DS and allowed online trading and battling for the first time through the components of the Global Trade Station, The Pal Pad, and the Wi-Fi Plaza.

The introduction of online capability in the series opened up possibilities for more connections between players regardless where they are in the world. Players can make trades based off of the criteria of species, gender, levels, and player location. Battles can be fought online with variable choices like battle type and the candidates for each player’s team. Online capability can also be used for mini-games that can be played with friends as well as acquiring promotional benefits.

While the majority of online battling was done with fan made simulators, Wi-Fi did allow the players to have a choice of battling with their real Pokemon with opponents that are out of their physical reach. Perhaps the biggest beneficiary from the online capability was the trading aspect of the series because it made plenty of Pokemon more accessible. Overtime, the online features have been modified and updated through each installment.

Generation III introduced abilities and Natures to allow further customization of your Pokemon.

Natures are conditions that determine your Pokemon’s stat allocation from growth. Natures usually work by lowering one stat while raising another, but some natures provide neutral biases. A couple of examples are Bold (DEF up and ATK down), Brave (ATK up and SPD down), and Bashful (Neutral). Players that wish to optimize a Pokemon’s stats to fulfill its role have to be selective when they pick a Pokemon for their team that has the right stat growths they want because a Pokemon’s nature is there to stay after it has been caught.

Abilities are special attributes that adds an extra layer of characteristics in and out of battle. Every Pokemon can only have one ability in Generation III, but starting in IV a Pokemon can have one of two different abilities to be randomly selected upon being caught. The only time that ability could change is if the Pokemon evolves. Abilities usually give the Pokemon an advantage, but there are situations where the ability actually hurts it. An example is “Dry Skin”, where hot weather lowers the Pokemon’s HP. There are also passive abilities like “Stench” that works outside of battle. Starting in Gen V some Pokemon also has a hidden ability that can be unlocked.

The addition of Abilities and Natures added more competitive and customization depth to the games. Natures offered more stat management complexity, and having the right abilities can make a Pokemon a formidable opponent in battle.

The physical and special move split was a decision in Generation IV to separate moves based off of their characteristics and assigned them to be either physical or special. Before the split, moves were only given their characteristic based off of the user Pokemon’s type:

Special: Fire, Water, Electric, Grass, Ice, Psychic, Dragon, Dark.
Physical: Normal, Fighting, Poison, Ground, Flying, Bug, Rock, Ghost, Steel

This made it so that each type can only use one stat to determine the move’s power. Certain moves could become underutilized because it doesn’t use the Pokemon’s strength if the move doesn’t use that Pokemon’s higher stat (ex: a Pokemon with a higher attack stat has to use its special stat because the Pokemon’s typing is considered special). Moves became independent from the Pokemon’s type after the split, and thus were individually assigned to be either physical or special. This helped the Pokemon use moves that best fit the Pokemon’s stats as opposed to being restricted by type.

Personally I thought that this was a huge change in the series and perhaps one of the best changes made. This change helped many Pokemon utilize their potential by helping them make better use of their stats as well as helping to create diversity in each Pokemon’s move pool. The downside was that while it helped some Pokemon, it hurt some others as well. The overall change however was considered to be beneficial for the game series.

Guess that Pokemon:

A spiritual jackal is a man’s best friend.

Conclusion:

Thank you for reading my Top Ten.

Please leave a comment and/or suggestion on the Top Ten board, through PM, or through the recommendation feature if you have them. Don’t forget to also vote below as well.

Honorable Mentions:

I know that there were a lot of contributions that I have not inserted into the Top Ten as main entries for the interest of space. These were the other ones that I have found to be important in the progression of the series.

Gen II

Reorganized backpack interface
Time
Berries
Ability to hold items
First female character choice
Breeding
Trainer rematches
Weather
Happiness

Gen III:

Battle Frontier
Contests
Vs Seeker
Running Shoes
Secret Base

Gen IV

It’s one of my favorite gens but frankly I couldn’t think of any other significant things.

Gen V:

Dreamworld
Seasons
Phenomena
Challenge and Easy modes
Infinite TM usage

Gen 6:

Mega Evolutions
Fairy Type
Trainer customization

Answers:

Gen II/I: “My golden-silver fur can be admired for a thousand years. I also appeared in Generation I.”
Answer: Ninetales(Ninetails has golden-silver fur and can live a thousand years).

Gen III: “Give an ugly and feeble fish a chance at beauty and it will become a serpentine work of art.”
Answer: Mitotic(Milotic evolves from Feebas through the beauty stat. Milotic has a serpentine appearance).

Gen IV: “A spiritual jackal is a man’s best friend.”
Answer: Lucario(Lucario is based off of the jackal animal. A Lucario is also very loyal to its trainer).

Gen V: “I am a bug that is attracted to fire yet cannot be killed from it.”
Answer: Volcarona(Volcarona is based off of a moth. It is also Bug/Fire).

Gen VI: “A fiery oracle”.
Answer: Delphox(Delphox’s name is based off of the Delphic Oracle).

List by highwind07 (10/14/2013)

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