The Pokémon franchise consists of many main series Pokémon games such as Pokémon Diamond and spin-off titles such as Pokémon Ranger. Throughout the years, the Pokémon Company has continued to develop its main series games, adding new battle mechanics, Pokémon and regions to explore. There are even fans who have created Pokémon ROM hacks of the most popular titles!
There are many main series Pokémon games in existence, creating confusion amongst much of the Pokémon fan base regarding the chronological order of the games.
This article will outline all the main series Pokémon games in chronological order. It is worth noting that the games are split into separate timelines. This article will only cover the main series timeline.
Pokémon Red and Green were the first games released in the franchise and chronologically the first Pokémon games. The games were released in 1996 and later came to western markets as Pokémon Red and Blue. The games were set in the Kanto region and had you become the very best Pokémon trainer while at the same time trying to "catch 'em all" to complete your Pokedex.
The games had you encounter legendary Pokémon such as Mewtwo and revolutionised the turn-based RPG genre. Pokémon Red and Green was the first Pokémon game chronologically with the world of Pokémon starting within the Kanto region.
Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire occurred around the same time as Red and Green, taking place within the same Pokémon universe. The games were released in 2002 in Japan and 2003 worldwide. Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire rode off the success of Pokémon Red and Green, taking players to the region of Hoenn to become Pokémon masters. Ruby and Sapphire introduced new features, including contests, double battles and new Pokémon such as the Kyogre, Groudon and Rayquaza.
Although it is not completely clear which game came first, it is likely the events within Ruby and Sapphire occurred just after the events of Red and Green. Thus, as you were battling Giovanni in Red and Green, it was likely you might have been picking up your very first starter Pokémon in Ruby and Sapphire. As a result, Ruby and Sapphire was the second Pokémon game chronologically.
The third Pokémon game in chronological order is Pokémon Gold and Silver. Pokémon Gold and Silver were released between the years 1999 and 2000. The games introduced players to the Johto region and had you defeat and disband the evil Team Rocket as you uncovered the mysteries behind the region.
Although Pokémon Gold and Silver were the second games released in the franchise, the games are the third Pokémon game chronologically. Pokémon Gold and Silver are direct sequels to Pokémon Red and Green, with the game's plot set three years after the original story in Kanto. The game even has you visit Kanto and defeat trainer Red (the original protagonist of Red and Green). Thus, the games come after the events of Red/Green and Ruby/Sapphire.
Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum are chronologically similar to Pokémon Gold and Silver, with both games events occurring simultaneously. Pokémon Diamond, Pearl and Platinum were the first games to take players to the Sinnoh region and introduce features such as the Pokémon underground. The games also had you save the world from the evil Team Galatic as they tried to create a new world using the legendary Pokémon Dialga and Palkia.
Pokémon Diamond and Pearl were the original games in the generation, with Platinum later adding more features such as the distortion world. The games occurred around the same time as Gold and Silver, placing them three years after Red and Green/ Ruby and Sapphire and likely after Gold and Silver due to the game's larger national dex. Thus the games are the fourth Pokémon games in order.
Pokémon Black and White were released in 2010 in Japan and later in 2011 worldwide. The games came at the later life cycle of the Nintendo DS, taking full advantage of the DS's hardware capabilities. Black and White introduced a new region, over 100 new Pokémon and brand new features such as triple battles. The games also experimented with 3D level design, including sprawling cities, adding depth to the gameplay.
Black and White were the fifth Pokémon games chronologically, occurring around three-thirteen years after Pokémon Diamond, Pearl and Platinum and Gold/ Silver. Black and White are among the most underrated Pokémon games of all time, introducing tons of new features. However, the games had meager sales and mixed critic reception. Nevertheless, they remain as one of the franchise best.
Black and White 2 are direct sequels to the original Black and White games, as highlighted by the name. Black and White 2 added a new story, gameplay features and new Pokémon forms. The games were released for the Nintendo DS in 2012 and are regarded as one of the franchise's best games. Black and White 2 are approximately set two years after Black and White, following the story of N, Team Plasma, and the Unova region. The games feature recurring characters from Black and White alongside new story beats. All in all, the games are the sixth Pokémon games chronologically.
Pokémon X and Y were the very first Pokémon games to be released on the Nintendo 3DS, with the games taking full advantage of the 3D capability of the console. X and Y took players to the region of Kalos, introducing new enemies such as Team Flare and Pokémon such as Yvental and Xerneus. The games helped realise Pokémon in a 3D capacity, launching the franchise into the 3D space. X and Y occurred around two years after Black and White 2, placing it seventh on this list.
Pokémon Sun and Moon/Ultra Sun and Moon are based approximately two years after X and Y and around ten years after Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire. The games were the first in the franchise to introduce Ultra Beasts and took players to the sunny Hawaiian-inspired region of Alolah. The games also introduced new Pokémon and gameplay features such as island challenges which replaced Gym leaders, with the games being notoriously easy, much to fan dissent. Thus, Pokémon Sun and Moon/Ultra Sun and Moon is the eighth Pokémon game in order,
Pokémon Sword and Shield are the latest main series games to be released. The games were released in 2020 as the eighth installment in the Pokémon video game series. Sword and Shield were the first Pokémon games released on the Nintendo Switch and the first to introduce gigantamax Pokémon. The games introduced players to a new region based on the UK, new Pokémon and a new criminal threat. Although the games are seemingly based in one of the Pokémon universes, it is unclear which one.
Thus, it is unclear whether the game fits in with the other Pokemon games in chronological order. References to other regions are scarce, but DLC installments point towards its inclusion in the Pokémon universe's main timeline. Likely, this game came far after the Diamond, Pearl and Platinum games, with references to Sinnoh. It is also plausible that the game comes far after the events of Red and Green due to hints within the manga.
Overall, this article has outlined the Pokémon games in Chronological order. As highlighted, the main series of games can be chronologically ordered. It is likely in the future; this list will change with the release of future games such as Pokémon Legends: Arceus. For more Pokémon-related stories and news in general, subscribe to our newsletter below.
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