Welp. It was inevitable. With the release of the latest Pokémon game, it’s high time to sit down and rank all of the Pokémon games that have been released over the past two decades. While there’s yet to be a bad core Pokémon game, some do shine more brightly than others. So here we go — the official Inverse Pokémon series ranking.

Pokemon Black and White
'Black' and 'White' were perfectly fine games. 

7. Pokémon Black and White/Black 2 and White 2

While not terrible games in the slightest, Pokémon Black and White came along at a time when the series was beginning to grow tired. The game didn’t implement anything particularly revolutionary, and the new Pokémon designs were some of the weakest. However, the games did have one of the most memorable stories in the series, which is saying something, because traditionally no one plays Pokémon because it weaves a solid tale.

Pokemon Diamond and Pearl
'Pokémon' comes to the DS. 

6. Pokémon Diamond and Pearl

Much like Black and White, Diamond and Pearl did not add a whole lot to the series, although it was the first Pokémon game released on the Nintendo DS, introducing touch controls and a graphics boost to the franchise.

Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire
'Ruby' and 'Sapphire' finally let you run. 

5. Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald

The third generation added running, double battles, Pokémon contests, and over a hundred new Pokémon. The first Pokémon games on Game Boy Advance also added weather effects and secret hideouts where you could stash fun goodies you collected. While Pokémon designs at this point had begun to grow a little long in the tooth, Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald certainly showed that Pokémon was not just a passing trend.

Pokemon X and Y
Like a journey through France

4. Pokémon X and Y

The first Pokémon games on 3DS really started to take big steps in upgrading the franchise. The beautiful 3D graphics really brought the series up to date and gave us much improved animations that helped us grow better attached to our beloved pocket monsters. We got the first new Pokémon type, Fairy, since Pokémon Gold and Silver, as well as Mega Evolutions. Perhaps most notably, Game Freak worked to make the game less of a grind with the vastly improed Exp. Share.

Pokemon Sun and Moon
A new dawn for Pokémon

3. Pokémon Sun and Moon

Perhaps instilled with courage after the success of Pokémon X and Y, Pokémon Sun and Moon moved to really shake things up. Sun and Moon scrapped the Pokémon League entirely in favor of Island Trials meant to test trainers’ mettle. The world of Alola also happens to be one of the most well imagined with its deep ties to nature, drawing inspiration from Hawaii and the Galapagos Islands.

Pokemon Red, Blue, and Yellow
The original trio 

2. Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow

Some of people’s fondest memories with the series stem from Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow. These were the games that started a video game phenomenon. The original 151 Pokémon remain the most iconic in the series.

Pokemon Gold and Silver
And the winner is . . . 

1. Pokémon Gold, Silver, and Crystal

The second generation improved on the first in a multitude of ways, with many of its new developments laying the groundwork for future generations. Gold and Silver brought the most significant changes to the series. We got new typings with Dark and Steel, helping to rein in Psychic types a bit. Many new hybrid typings, holdable items, and evolved forms also gave Pokémon battles deeper strategy. Day and night cycles and the ability to breed Pokémon gave people more ways to think about how they would add to their Pokémon collection.

Whether you approve or disapprove of our selections, we can all agree that Pokémon is an enduring Nintendo franchise that continues to build off of past successes. Pokémon isnt going anywhere soon, and it will be exciting to see how the series continues to develop in the coming years.

The Johto and Kanto Regions
The Johto and Kanto Regions
Photos via Pokemon Database, Engadget, Dualshockers, Game Rant, Polygon, Screen Rant , TantrisOST, Bulbapedia, Gamerant