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This is the Pokemon Game You Should Always Start With

A public service announcement for those who want to know.

Analysis by Kat Bailey, .

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.

The cycle begins anew.

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.

Older games have nostalgia value and unique monsters, but you can almost always find everything you need in the latest release.

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 However, you will have to deal with outdated graphics, older mechanics, and fewer conveniences.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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Comments 4

  • Avatar for Roto13 #1 Roto13 19 days ago
    I saw someone ask about this on NeoGAF, trying to figure out which Pokemon game to buy for their kid. Everyone just posted their favourite game, as though the guy's kid is going to bring his Game Boy Color to school and play Pokemon Gold and Silver and have the same experience the posters had.
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  • Avatar for MetManMas #2 MetManMas 19 days ago
    @Roto13 Fans be crazy. Like, I admit some games had features I liked more than others (I got a lot of mileage out of the mining mini game in Gen 4 even though I never got to try the social aspects of the Underground), but Pokémon is constantly evolving. Like, Gen 1 had tons of issues when it was new, and will likely come off as really slow and bad to anyone who started with the Gen 3 or later. Gen 2 holds up better, but it's still like caveman paintings compared to the Renaissance of later games.
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  • Avatar for riderkicker #3 riderkicker 19 days ago
    According to Gamestop, the cheapest games are Pokemon Black or Pokemon Diamond, at $25 or $30 respectively. Pokemon games are expensive, so yeah, buy the newest one, especially at Best Buy.
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  • Avatar for VotesForCows #4 VotesForCows 19 days ago
    After decades I tried a Pokemon game earlier this year - put about ten hours into Pokemon Sun. Just didn't like it. Think I would have liked it a lot as a kid though. Was a shame, but glad I tried it anyhow.
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