The best Pokémon games for newcomers

Reflexes

  • If you’re looking for a great entry point for beginners into the Pokémon series, there are plenty of options to consider.
  • Scarlet and Violet, the most recent major releases, offer complex gameplay mechanics and a wide variety of Pokémon to explore in case you want to start with a recent release.
  • Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee’s updated graphics and streamlined mechanics make it a good choice for those who want a more modern Pokémon experience while still starting with a “narrative beginning.”


The Pokémon series is one of the most experienced and beloved franchises, not only in all of gaming but also in all of pop culture. With a few dozen games and hundreds of Pokémon ahead of us, it’s easy to understand why new players would feel intimidated jumping into the media juggernaut that is Pokémon for the first time.

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Fortunately, there are plenty of solid entry points into the series, and while some titles may be easier to get into than others, there’s really no right or wrong answer when it comes to trying Pokémon initially. From the classics that started it all to groundbreaking remakes and modern titles that propel the series into the future, newcomers won’t be short of plenty of incredible Pokémon content to dive into.


7 Gold and silver

Pokémon Gold and Silver title screens

Release date

November 21, 1999

Platform

Game Boy Color

Gold and Silver are the titles that mark the second generation of Pokémon in the franchise, and while that doesn’t always make them the immediate first choice for new players, these games have plenty of charms to attract newcomers to the series.

For one, Gold and Silver introduced some of the series’ most iconic Pokémon, like Togepi, Lugia, and Umbreon, just to name a few. This generation also introduced two new types (Dark and Steel), as well as new movement types, a real-time clock mechanic, and a replay mechanic. Sometimes a sequel is the best way to go as it has smoothed out some of the rough edges of the first entry.

6 scarlet and violet

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, Koraidon and Miraidon

Release date

November 18, 2022

Platform

nintendo switch

Some players who are just starting out prefer to play the most recent release in a game franchise, as it is more in line with the contemporary game design they are already accustomed to. For those who enjoy all the bells and whistles, Pokémon Scarlet or Violet would be the right place to start, as they are in fact the most recent mainline releases in the franchise.

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In addition to a host of complex gameplay mechanics to explore, players will also have a wide range of Pokémon to learn about, certainly more than previous entries in the series. Scarlet and Violet aren’t the most conventional options when it comes to trying Pokémon for the first time, but they’re certainly as legit as any of the other games.

5 Let’s go Pikachu and let’s go Eevee

Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu and Eevee: Pikachu and Eevee in front of the grasslands, with the game logos

Release date

November 16, 2018

Platform

nintendo switch

For those who own a Nintendo Switch, it might be worth trying out Let’s Go Pikachu or Let’s Go Eevee before trying any other Pokémon games. These titles are remakes of the 1998 release, Pokémon Yellow, of course, updated with contemporary graphics, some new mechanics, and other quality of life changes.

Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee included the controversial change of removing wild Pokémon battles in favor of a more simplified catching mechanic, but some found that it helped reduce the “noisy” feeling the games often possess, especially at the beginning and end. half of the game. . For those who don’t want to deal with outdated games, or the Switch is simply the easiest way to play, Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee is a great option.

4 Blue and red

Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue cover art

Release date

February 27, 1996

Platform

game boy

Sometimes the best place to start is simply at the beginning. Pokémon Blue and Red are the first entries in the now legendary franchise and are the perfect entry point for a player who wants the authentic Pokémon experience.

These games are likely to feel dated to contemporary players: they laid the foundation for the game’s signature fighting style and mechanics, but they don’t have any of the quality-of-life changes of later entries that make certain tasks less of a pain. head. . Red and Blue also originated the series’ formula of having two variations of the game for each generation, each with its own unique Pokémon and other features.

3 Pokémon Go

Promotion of the Giratina Lightning Pokémon Go title

Release date

July 6, 2016

Platform

iOS, Android

While it’s true that Pokémon Go doesn’t necessarily capture the classic core of the Pokémon game, it’s a great entry into the series for both veteran and new players. On the one hand, it simply features some of the series’ core mechanics, such as catching Pokémon, visiting PokeStops, and a modified version of regular Pokémon battles.

However, the biggest benefit of Pokémon Go is that it gets players up and moving while they walk around looking for Pokémon to catch. The game’s AR elements allow players to immerse themselves in what it would feel like to run around the city catching pocket monsters, as well as promoting movement and social interaction.

2 Pokémon Yellow

A yellow wallpaper showing crouching Pikachu in Pokémon Yellow.

Release date

September 12, 1998

Platform

game boy

Pokémon Yellow is an incredibly similar game to Pokémon Red/Blue, as it was an improved version of those games that was released a few years later. While Yellow features the same graphics and mechanics as its predecessors, it has some new Pokémon and a unique story to keep things fresh.

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Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue are considered the true first entries in the series, but Yellow is right there with them as a first-generation game. Players can’t actually choose which starter Pokémon they receive in Yellow, as they are simply given a Pikachu and set loose in the world. This title includes a now-iconic Surfing Pikachu minigame, making it worth playing in itself.

1 fire red and leaf green

pokemon fire red and leaf green

Release date

January 29, 2004

Platform

Game Boy Advance

Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen are not only considered the best games to start the series, but also the best games of the series’ period. These games are remakes of Pokémon Red and Blue, released for the Game Boy Advance in 2004. With the new versions, the games got a gorgeous graphical update, a new save game feature, and the ability to play with friends using the Game Boy Advance. Link cable.

Most players today consider FireRed and LeafGreen to be the best balance between retro mechanics and new additions that make games more visually appealing and easier to play. These titles are some of the most sought after on the retro market, and if gamers can get their hands on a retro console like the Game Boy Advance or Nintendo DS, FireRed and LeafGreen are well worth the investment.

NEXT: The most powerful Pokémon of each type, ranked by strength

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