Pokémon Gold, Silver and Crystal – Nintendo – 2001 – GBC
Pokémon is perfect. It’s hard to imagine the games industry without it, the yearly releases of new ‘versions’ keeping the series current whilst never sacrificing that incredible RPG formula. Few RPG franchises could get away with this sort of release schedule, but when you’re basically re-releasing one of the best games of all time with new features over and over again. The quest to ‘Catch Em’ All’ is embedded into the genes of my generation, I don’t know a single person my age who hasn’t lost themselves to Pokémon at one point in their lives. To those few who haven’t, it may seem like a kids game, the ‘product’ side of the series (The Anime, the cards, the movies) being the main reason for this.
But taking a step back, this is one of the most intricate and complicated RPG’s ever made, the amount of stats and number crunching going on behind the scenes is second to none. That said, the accessibility means that you can choose to become engrossed in the stats, or just go on the adventure that every 10 year old has dreamed of going on. I’ve known someone to spend days breeding Pokémon and checking the early stats of newborns so he could make the ultimate level 100. I’ve also known people to blast through the main story and spend the rest of their time battling others. It’s this open ended nature that makes Pokémon one of the most universal experiences in gaming.
I opted for the second generation, Gold, Silver and Crystal despite the fact that all of the games are incredibly similar. The journey in this generation is the most epic, and most memorable for me, taking you through the 8 Johto gyms and back to Kanto from the original games for another 8 gyms. Facing off against Red as a final battle adds a neat bookend to one of the best adventures in gaming. Subtle additions like the radio station, and the new Pokémon, with Cyndaquil being just about the best starter Pokémon this side of Charmander, make Gold, Silver and Crystal the best game in one of the best series of all time. Pokémon is near perfect, and my life wouldn’t be the same without it.
How can I play it? – Obviously any of the main Pokémon games would suffice here, but to play Gold or Silver you’ll either need a Game Boy Colour, or go for the HeartGold and SoulSilver re-releases for DS.