Pokémon began as a simple RPG for the Game Boy. Fast-forward 20 years, and it’s evolved into an empire. There are dozens of best-selling Pokémon titles for nearly every Nintendo platform — with countless new projects in the pipeline. There’s clearly something special about those charming pocket monsters. And to find out what it is, we’re going through all the Pokémon games in order of release.

While there are numerous spinoff titles and adaptations, this list of Pokémon games in chronological order covers all the core North American releases. We’ll walk you through iconic titles from Red and Blue to Sword and Shield. Sound like a plan? Let’s brock and roll.

Who are Pokémon Games For?
Pokémon games fall under the role-playing, turn-based, and adventure genres. As such, they’re ideal for players who prefer immersive storylines and heartfelt journeys. The games on this list are not as suitable for folks seeking fast-paced competitive games or high-stakes battle royales (though there is still plenty of action). We hope you enjoy!

All Pokémon Games in Order of Release

Following Pokémon’s introduction in the late ’90s, the franchise grew extremely quickly. To keep up with demand, Nintendo released new Pokémon video games in rapid-fire succession. There were new regions, new features, new Pokémon, and more. It was a golden age of Nintendo RPGs, and Pokémon was at the forefront of everything.

This list of Pokémon games by generation is a testament to the franchise’s influence. It’s for Poké fans seeking a dose of nostalgia, as well as folks who want to learn more about gaming history. After all, the Pokémon franchise is an integral part of the gaming world, and it’s inspired many of today’s popular titles.

Without further ado, let’s go back to where it all began…

1) Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow

Pokemon Red
Pokemon Blue
Pokemon Yellow
  • Generation: 1st
  • Platform: Game Boy
  • Release Date: September 28, 1998 (Red & Blue) October 18, 1999 (Yellow)

The games that started it all — Pokémon Red & Blue are the first titles in the long-running Poké franchise. First released in Japan in 1996, these two titles hopped the Pacific in 1998 and immediately exploded in popularity.

The premise is simple: choose a starter pocket monster at the beginning of the game, then travel the world, using the monster to battle against other trainers. Along the way, you’ll collect even more Pokémon and compete against all 8 gyms (aka mini-bosses). The story culminates in an epic battle against the mighty Elite 4.

As with all paired games in the Pokémon series, Red and Blue are nearly identical. The main difference between the two? Some Pokémon are exclusive to one version. To catch all 150 Pokémon (a primary goal among trainers), you have to link your Game Boy and trade with a friend. Or… you can grab a copy of Pokémon Yellow.

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Pokémon Yellow is an enhanced adaptation of Red & Blue that was released a year later. The changes? First, players start the game with a Pikachu, just like Ash Ketchum from the anime. Second, Team Rocket’s Jessie and James replace many of the generic team members from the original game. And third, there are several graphical updates and enhancements. Overall, it is an exciting title that brought even more players into the Poké universe (myself included).

These three games are praised for their innovation, exciting RPG elements, and charming turn-based mechanics. They set the bar for future titles and spawned a multi-billion dollar franchise. At the time, the question on everyone’s mind was: could Nintendo release another best-seller?

2) Pokémon Gold, Silver, and Crystal

Pokemon Gold
Pokemon Silver
Pokemon Crystal
  • Generation: 2nd
  • Platform: Game Boy Color
  • Release Date: October 15, 2000 (Gold & Silver) July 29, 2001 (Crystal)

You can only produce so much content based around 150 Pokémon. Nintendo realized they needed to up the ante. So in October of 2000, they released Pokémon Gold & Silver to the North American region. These titles introduce 100 new Pokémon to the franchise, as well as several new Pokémon types, like Steel and Dark. Other significant changes include new battle moves, new items, an internal clock system, and more.

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Following the business model set by the first generation of games, Nintendo released an adaptation of Pokémon Gold & Silver in July of 2001. This title, Pokémon Crystal, featured enhanced graphics and animations.

At this point, we’ve listed all the Pokémon Gameboy games in order. And while these three newer titles are stylistically similar to the first generation of Pokémon games, they take things to an entirely new level. As such, Pokémon Gold, Silver, and Crystal are frequently cited as some of the best RPGs ever made.

3) Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald

Pokemon Ruby
Pokemon Sapphire
Pokemon Emerald
  • Generation: 3rd
  • Platform: Game Boy Advance
  • Release Date: March 19, 2003 (Ruby & Sapphire) May 1, 2005 (Emerald)

Pokémon Ruby & Sapphire debuted in 2003 and introduced 135 new Pokémon, as well as a range of exciting new features like dual battling. They also added Team Magma and Aqua, two opposing factions who threaten to awaken one of the world’s most powerful pocket monsters. Travel back to the World of Pokémon, and see if you’ve got what it takes to become an elite trainer.

A couple of years after Ruby & Sapphire released, Pokémon Emerald hit the shelves. This iteration added an exciting new storyline and reimagined sprites.

Though Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald weren’t as popular as the previous two generations of games, they are still the GBA’s best-selling and most iconic titles. But this doesn’t complete our Pokémon GBA games list. Two more titles snuck into this generation of handheld systems. And boy, do they look familiar.

4) Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen

Pokemon FireRed
Pokemon LeafGreen
  • Generation: 1st (remake)
  • Platform: Game Boy Advance
  • Release Date: September 9, 2004

At this point, Pokémon was beginning to wane in popularity. To reinvigorate the fanbase, Nintendo re-released the first generation of Pokémon (Red, Blue, & Yellow) with all-new graphics and features. Introducing Pokemon FireRed & LeafGreen.

Head back to the Kanto region to relive the glory days! Starting from Pallet town, embark on your journey to become a Pokémon master and catch all 150 pocket monsters. Train your Pokémon, defeat all 8 gyms, then try your luck at the Indigo Plateau against the ever-fearsome Elite 4.

Pokémon FireRed & LeafGreen are the second-best-selling games on the GBA system, behind Ruby & Sapphire. They are also the foundation for many of the best Pokémon fan games, as they blend the series’ original mechanics with newer concepts for a balanced playthrough.

5) Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum

Pokemon Diamond
Pokemon Pearl
Pokemon Platinum
  • Generation: 4th
  • Platform: Nintendo DS
  • Release Date: April 22, 2007 (Diamond & Pearl) March 22, 2009 (Platinum)

Following the launch of the new & improved Nintendo DS Lite, the Pokémon team released the first games for the DS handheld: Pokémon Diamond & Pearl.

This new generation of Pokémon included the never-before-seen Sinnoh region, 107 additional monsters, and tons of powerful legendaries. In terms of new mechanics, the 4th gen introduced a slew of network-related features like online leaderboards, trading, and even battling. They were smashing successes.

A couple of years later, Nintendo released a revamped version of Diamond & Pearl called Pokémon Platinum. It added an adjacent storyline, as well as a dueling arena known as the Battle Frontier.

6) Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver

Pokemon Heart Gold
Pokemon Soul Silver
  • Generation: 2nd (remake)
  • Platform: Nintendo DS
  • Release Date: March 14, 2010

Continuing with our Pokémon DS games in order, we get to HeartGold & SoulSilver. Much like LeafGreen & FireRed before it, these remakes take us back a decade to the original Gold & Silver titles.

What’s new this time around?

The better question is: what isn’t new? There are new graphics, sound effects, mechanics, mini-games, and so much more! The Poké team did a stellar job respecting the integrity of the original titles while bringing them into the modern-day. We highly recommend you snag a copy for your Nintendo DS.

7) Pokémon Black and White / Black 2 and White 2

Pokemon Black
Pokemon White
Pokemon Black 2
Pokemon White 2
  • Generation: 5th
  • Platform: Nintendo DS
  • Release Date: March 6, 2011 (Black & White) October 7, 2012 (Black 2 & White 2)

Tired of looking at the same ‘ol Pokémon? Never fearow. Pokémon Black and White released 156 new monsters into the mix!

That’s a lot of catching to do! Not only that, but this generation introduced several distinct mechanics, including innovative battle styles and online networking areas. It was also the first time an entirely new set of games came out mid-generation.

Black 2 & White 2 dropped less than a year and a half after the first two games. They feature the same Unova region and impressive pool of monsters. Naturally, the games received critical acclaim from casual players and critics alike.

8) Pokémon X and Y

Pokemon X
Pokemon Y
  • Generation: 6th
  • Platform: Nintendo 3DS
  • Release Date: October 12, 2013

3, 2, 1, GO! Pokémon X & Y launched worldwide on October 12, 2013 to widespread anticipation. The games introduced the 6th generation of Pokémon, along with 72 new creatures, complete 3D environments, mega evolutions, and a new typing — Fairy Pokémon!

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Like previous games before them, Pokémon X and Y share many similarities, but are independent games. Inspired by France, they take you through the Kalos Region, a land of culture and history. Embark on your Pokémon journey, fill your Pokédex, and dream as big as you dare. Adventure awaits.

9) Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire

Pokemon Omega Ruby
Pokemon Alpha Sapphire
  • Generation: 3rd (remake)
  • Platform: Nintendo 3DS
  • Release Date: November 21, 2014

For fans of the original Ruby and Sapphire titles, Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are long overdue. A full decade after the original titles dropped, this revamped version takes players back to Hoenn.

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Face off against Team Aqua and Magma as you fight to save the world and accomplish your goals of Pokémon mastery. These new versions offer enhanced 3D visuals, new online features, and a bunch of awesome easter eggs for you to discover. They’re on the 3DS platform, as well, and remain easily accessible. It’s a blast to the past and all-around great fun. The team at HGG highly recommends checking them out.

10) Pokémon Sun and Moon / Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon

Pokemon Sun
Pokemon Moon
Pokemon Ultra Sun
Pokemon Ultra Moon
  • Generation: 7th
  • Platform: Nintendo 3DS
  • Release Date: November 18, 2016 (Sun & Moon) November 17, 2017 (Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon)

Say Aloha to the Alola region! Inspired after the Pacific Islands, the 7th generation of Pokémon adds 81 new species to the mix, as well as some impressive region-specific adaptations of existing creatures. Start your adventure, become as strong as you can, then take on the Kahuna — an elite challenge that’ll put your Poké skills to the test.

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A year after Sun & Moon launched, Nintendo released a second iteration of games: Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. Say hello to new characters and travel across the island once more. Will you ride into the sunset atop your Solgaleo, or perish in Team Skull’s evil scheme? Check Out Pokémon Sun & Moon, and find out!

11) Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee!

Pokemon Pikachu
Pokemon Eevee
  • Generation: 1st (remake)
  • Platform: Nintendo Switch
  • Release Date: November 16, 2018

In 2018, Nintendo of America released another remake of the original Red, Blue, and Yellow games. Journey through Kanto once more, this time with a Pikachu or Eevee by your side. There are no more random Pokémon encounters — now you can see the Pokémon as they roam the world around you!

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Link up to your Pokémon Go account and explore all the exciting new features this generation has to offer. The Elite 4 awaits.

12) Pokémon Sword and Shield

Pokemon Sword
Pokemon Shield
  • Generation: 8th
  • Platform: Nintendo Switch
  • Release Date: November 15, 2019

We’re at the end of our Pokémon games list in order of appearance. All that’s left for you to do? Grab your Nintendo Switch and choose your starter: Sobble, Grookey, or Scorbunny.

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Pokémon Sword and Shield are the first entirely new games to come out on the hybrid Switch console. The most noticeable changes here are the new & improved 3D graphics, open-world areas, and Dynamaxing Pokémon. Modeled after England, the new Galar region boasts an industrial theme with 81 undiscovered Pokémon and a ton of exciting new adventures! Pick up a copy today and catch ‘em all.

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