Welcome to Part 3 of my series where I take a look back at each of the eight Pokémon generations we have experienced so far prior to the start of Generation 9 when Pokémon Scarlet and Violet come out in November. This entry will cover the collection of games headlined by Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald.
If you missed one of the previous entries, check out the links below:
All release dates are North American
Ruby and Sapphire (March 2003)
Gold and Silver appeased new and old fans alike by including all 251 Pokémon at the time in the regional Pokedex, with all species besides the Kanto starters, fossils (Aerodactyl the exception), and legendaries/mythicals available within the newer games. While we have since experienced games such as X and Y, Ultra Sun and Moon, and Sword and Shield featuring regional Pokédexes with more than the 386 species that existed in Generation 3, it did feel unlikely that Pokémon could continue this trend of complete inclusivity. These games took a risk by limiting the roster to 202 and not allowing trade compatibility with older games, meaning until other games on this article were released, just under half of all Pokemon could not be obtained.
Ultimately, this risk was mitigated by future releases and this format was done very well in a way that would be difficult to replicate in too many future generations. We saw this to some extent with Heartgold and Soulsilver, but Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum already included a majority of the then 493 Pokémon (most of the older Pokémon were locked into the postgame). In Ruby and Sapphire, the 202 they featured was all you could obtain. In the real time, this did help give Hoenn a distinct identity that many believed Johto lacked. Because Gold and Silver had all Kanto and Johto Pokémon, it felt like an extension of Kanto as well as being its own region.
Ruby and Sapphire revolutionized competitive Pokémon by introducing Double Battles, Abilities, Natures, and the EV/IV system. Double Battles added brand new strategies to excel in the game’s central feature, and one of the Hoenn gyms featured this new battle style. To this day, Double Battles are the default…