One of the questions I often field from curious newcomers on Twitter is where they should start in Pokemon.
It's an understandable inquiry. Having been around for more than 20 years now, Pokemon is an absolutely massive series. It features a ton of games, many of which still sell at full price.
With Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon now available, it's fair for a newcomer to wonder if the latest game is where they should start. After all, you wouldn't necessarily want to start with Dark Souls 3, or even the latest Assassin's Creed.
But here's the key to understanding Pokemon: You should always start with the latest game in the series. It's the easiest way to maximize your enjoyment while connecting with the community at large.
Why You Should Always Start With the Latest Pokemon Release
As I've written elsewhere on this site, Pokemon is basically an MMORPG. It features persistent characters that carry over from game to game, with each new entry functioning as a sort of expansion pack. Features will come and go, but each new release builds on what has come before.
Moreover, Game Freak is always trying to hook in new players. They have long since perfected a cycle designed to entice young children into the series while also catering to hardcore fans. The main quest is a sort of extended tutorial for newcomers, everything that comes after is for the general community. Once a new game comes out, everyone moves on to the latest version. Right now, that's Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon.
There are, of course, reasons to pick up older Pokemon games. The original Game Boy games, which are now available on the eShop, stand on their own thanks to their nostalgic value. Even better, they also connect to the main series. Other games, like Pokemon X and Y, have unique monsters that are hard to find elsewhere.
Thanks to Pokemon Bank, it's easier than ever to transfer monsters from game to game, which makes it worthwhile to revisit older entries in the series. However, you will have to deal with outdated graphics, older mechanics, and fewer conveniences. Oh, and you'll have to play through the entire story, too. Older games also boast much smaller communities, making it harder to trade and otherwise take advantage of Pokemon's large array of social features.
So unless you're wanting to take a major nostalgia trip back to the days of the original 151, there's almost no reason not to start with the latest and greatest version in the series.
Think of it as your first step into a larger world.
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