The mainline Pokémon game is one of the best-selling video game franchises of all time. From Pokémon Red and Blue to the latest entry in the series, these games have amassed huge audiences that keep coming back again and again.
However, if you haven’t played all of the Pokémon video games in the series, you might be in a bit of a dilemma as to where to start. Most of the major titles in the series are great standalone games to dive into, but if you want to start over, you can play them in order two different ways: chronologically or by release date.
How to play Pokemon games in chronological order
While the Pokémon timeline may seem fairly linear at first glance, it can get pretty confusing trying to follow the chronology from title to title because there aren’t enough obvious details. to, now removed Tweet by Toshinobu Matsumiya It gave me a starting point for some games. As for the rest, we can only make educated guesses based on a few key details in-game.
1. Pokemon Legends: Arceus
The first game in the chronology is Pokémon Legends: Arceus, set in a time when relationships between humans and Pokémon were just beginning to form. You spend a lot of time running around the vast wilderness, catching and battling wild Pokémon. The people you interact with are clearly just beginning to understand the Pokémon world.
We don’t know how long ago Pokemon Legends: Arceus took place compared to other games in the series, but we do know that at least the ancestors of the Diamond and Pearl characters seem to make an appearance.
2. Pokemon Red/Blue/Yellow
As the original games of the series, Pokemon Red, Blue, and Yellow appear in the following timelines. It all started with these best-selling games that bring the first generation of his Pokedex and introduce you to classic Pokémon game formulas.
It’s unclear if these Game Boy games will be next in the timeline, but a now-deleted tweet by game scenario writer Toshinobu Matsumiya confirmed that the series will begin with these. The technology at play is also pretty limited compared to some newer games, but still advanced enough to bring fossils to life!
Bonus: Pokemon Fire Red and Leaf Green
Pokemon FireRed and LeafGreen are remakes of the original Red and Blue games, so they’re at exactly the same point in the timeline. Most of the plot is the same as the original, but Elite has a few key differences, such as he visits the Sevy Islands after becoming champion of the Four.
3. Pokemon Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald
Pokemon Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald bring all new Pokemon and throw you into the Hoenn region, just a short distance from both the Kanto and Joto regions. However, according to the same since-deleted tweet from Matsumiya, Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire are said to be after Fire Red and Fire Red. Occurs at the same time as Leaf Green.
This also means that Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire are at the same point in the timeline as they are remakes.
4. Pokemon Gold/Silver/Crystal
As the second game in the series (in terms of release date) Pokemon Gold and Silver takes place three years after the events of Red and Blue. With some exciting new second-generation Pokémon and some of the best post-game content in the series, Gold, Silver, and Crystal was an excellent follow-up to the original game. By traveling through the Kanto region, you can feel the passage of time. You can even fight the very strong Red, the main character of the first game.
This placement in the chronology also applies to the remakes: HeartGold and SoulSilver. The remakes offer additional content, but are essentially just updated versions of the original.
5. Pokemon Diamond/Pearl/Platinum
In terms of series release order, Pokemon Diamond and Pearl came a few years after Ruby and Sapphire. It turns out that this might seem a little confusing given the technological advances we see in Diamond and Pearl, but it’s the actual date the game was created rather than a chronology within the Pokémon universe. You can write with chalk up to
This also means that the remake’s Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl are set at the same point in the timeline. Considering they weren’t introduced until X and Y, the timeline gets a little shaky when including Fairy-type Pokémon.
6. Pokemon Black and White
Featuring the new fifth generation Pokémon, Black and White was the second mainline game to come to the Nintendo DS. We don’t know exactly when the story will take place in the Pokemon universe, but thanks to Matsumiya’s tweet, it will take place after Diamond and Pearl.With no apparent connection to previous games, Black and White will be Red and White. It can only be assumed that it takes place more than three years after him from Blue.
7. Pokemon Black 2 and White 2
As true sequels to Black and White, Pokemon Black 2 and White 2 make a pretty clear transition through the chronological timeline. You’ll see gym leaders handing over missions to the next generation, Team Plasma advancing plans, and new champions emerging. Between all of these things, we can see that about two years have passed since Black and White, and the timeline is moving forward in an uncharacteristically linear fashion.
8. Pokemon X and Y
As the first game in the series to allow payers to explore and fight in 3D, Pokemon X and Y were a fresh take on the classic Pokemon formula. The fact that this was the first Nintendo 3DS title in the series had a lot to do with it, but it definitely helped set up future games. Thanks to , we at least know that X and Y occur at the same time as black 2 and white 2. However, it may be set in another universe. Because there is a mega evolution.
9. Pokemon Sun and Moon
Taking place a few years after X and Y, Pokemon Sun and Moon takes us to the Alola region. There is no information from Matsumiya as to where this game sits in the timeline, but it does feature some characters X and Y indicating that the time between games has passed. However, we still don’t know exactly how much time has passed since Red, Blue, and Yellow, as their exact ages have not been revealed.
This also means that Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon will take place at the same time. Because these are essentially remakes of Sun and Moon with some extra content.
10. Pokemon Sword and Shield
With the arrival of the Nintendo Switch came the first Switch-exclusive mainline Pokémon game, Sword and Shield. Featuring brand new regions, new Pokemon and the introduction of Gigantamax, Sword and Shield is essentially a soft reboot of the series. Strict references to previous games don’t really exist, so there’s no way to fit them exactly into the known Pokémon world.
One of the only clues we have about the timeline comes in the form of new technology. Pokemon Sword and Shield may take place in a completely different universe than other games.
11. Pokemon Scarlet Violet
As the latest installment in the series, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet brings the all-new Gen 9 Pokémon and the open-world Pardea region to Nintendo Switch. The game doesn’t arrive until Friday, so unfortunately we don’t have enough information to place it in the timeline exactly. It may happen at the same time as the event.
How to play Pokemon games before release date
Rather than trying to follow a complicated chronological timeline, I’d rather play the games in the order they were released, but here are all the mainline Pokémon games by release date:
- Pokemon Red/Blue – February 27, 1996 – game boy
- pokemon yellow – Game Boy – September 12, 1998 – game boy
- Pokemon Gold/Silver – November 21, 1999 – gameboy color
- pokemon crystal – December 14, 2000 – gameboy color
- Pokemon Ruby Sapphire – November 21, 2002 – Gameboy Advance
- Pokemon Fire Red and Leaf Green – January 28, 2004 – Gameboy Advance
- pokemon emerald – September 16, 2004 – Gameboy Advance
- Pokemon Diamond and Pearl – September 28, 2006 – Nintendo DS
- pokemon platinum – September 13, 2008 – Nintendo DS
- Pokemon HeartGold SoulSilver – September 12, 2009 – Nintendo DS
- Pokemon Black/White – September 18, 2010 – Nintendo DS
- Pokemon Black 2, White 2 – June 23, 2012 – Nintendo DS
- Pokemon X/Y – October 13, 2013 – Nintendo 3DS
- Pokemon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire – November 21, 2014 – Nintendo 3DS
- Pokemon Sun and Moon – November 18, 2016 – Nintendo 3DS
- Pokemon Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon – November 17, 2017 – Nintendo 3DS
- Pokemon Sword/Shield – November 15, 2019 – nintendo switch
- Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl – November 19, 2021 – nintendo switch
- Pokemon Scarlet and Violet – November 18, 2022 – nintendo switch
Which Pokémon game would you actually play first?
Choosing where to start boils down to which Nintendo console you currently have. If you only have a Nintendo Switch, you can start with Let’s Go Pikachu or Let’s Go Eevee, like the remake of the original yellow version from 1998. Play Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl for a different remake experience. Pokemon Legends: Arceus is also an option, but very different from other mainline games.
If you want to jump right in when Pokemon Scarlet and Violet come out, be aware that you might miss overly relevant information from previous games. are Black 2 and White 2. Because these are sequels.
Looking for additional Pokémon content? Check out our guide to the best Pokémon movies and Pokémon video games for more.