The Pokémon franchise is the most popular video game series on the planet. Pokémon alone is the highest revenue-generating entertainment franchise, far surpassing the likes of Marvel, Star Wars, and other famous entertainment brands.
The Pokémon video games have always been popular since the first Pokémon games on the Gameboy.
Since then, the games have skyrocketed in terms of popularity, with the latest installment in the series, Pokémon Sword and Shield, selling many copies, making it one of the franchise’s most successful games.
Similarly, the Pokémon games have seen huge growth with the release of Pokémon Go, the mobile game that allowed you to capture Pocket Monsters on the go.
The mobile game boosted the brand’s popularity and brought new fans and gamers into the franchise, benefiting future games. After the release of GO, the series took a turn away from main series releases and toward mobile offerings such as Pokémon Unite, amongst others.
Recently, the Pokémon franchise has taken a left turn regarding its games with the release of Generation 4 remakes, Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, and titles such as Pokémon Legends Arceus which will release in 2021.
Due to Pokémon’s vast library of games, fans often wonder about the chronology of the main series games. This article will outline the Pokémon games in order of chronology.
Ranking All Main Series Pokémon Games In Order
- Pokémon Legends: Arceus
- Pokémon Red and Green
- Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire
- Pokémon Gold and Silver
- Pokémon Diamond and Pearl
- Pokémon Black and White
- Pokémon Black and White 2
- Pokémon X and Y
- Pokémon Sun and Moon
- Pokémon Sword and Shield
Pokémon Legends: Arceus
Pokémon Legends: Arceus is the only game on this list not to be released yet. Initially revealed in 2021, Pokémon Legends: Arceus is the first Pokémon game in order of chronology.
Although we do not know much about the game, Pokémon Legends: Arceus will be set in the Hisuian region, a Pokémon region later known as Sinnoh, present in the Pokémon, Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum games.
The game will follow the main protagonist as they try to complete the region’s very first Pokedex. Pokémon Legends: Arceus will feature open-world areas alongside completely overhauled graphics, battling, and catching systems.
The game will include exclusive regional Pokémon such as Hisuian Growlithe alongside new evolutions such as one for the Pokémon Stantler called Wyrdeer.
Legends Arceus will also feature favorite fan Pokémon alongside familiar characters of mysterious origin. Such characters include a Team Galactic-inspired professor, gym leader-like characters who worship the legendary Pokémon Dialga and Palkia, and common areas such as Jublife Village.
The game will also feature Pokémon bosses, such as Kleavor, an evolution of Scyther known as a noble Pokémon.
Furthermore, Pokémon Legends: Arceus will also feature new character customization options and the ability to craft items such as Pokeballs.
Pokémon Legends: Arceus, although seemingly not as open as once thought, will include open-world areas to explore in a vein similar to the Monster Hunter series, where players will venture out into the region on expeditions to discover ancient mysteries.
Although very little is known about the game, we know it will feature the mythical Pokémon Arceus, supposedly the creator of the Pokémon world, and will feature a unique story and journey to discover more about this mysterious Pokémon.
Overall, due to the first Pokedex not being made, the game is the first game chronologically.
Pokémon Red and Green
Pokémon Red and Green were the very first Pokémon games released. The games were first released in Japan in 1996 and later released worldwide as Pokémon Red and Blue.
Red and Green started the Pokémon video game series and the entire franchise; it introduced concepts such as battling, Pokémon catching, and filling up your Pokedex.
The games began a cultural phenom laying the foundations of later games in the series. Pokémon Red and Green introduced the first 150 Pokémon to the world, such as the Legendary Mewtwo and the infamous Pikachu.
Red and Green had you; the player explore the region of Kanto, a region densely populated by people and Pokémon and based on the area of Kanto in Japan.
Pokémon Red and Green introduced Gym leaders’ and helped define what turn-based action gameplay meant. After the games were released in 1996, they inspired and helped create countless Pokémon TV shows, the Pokémon trading card game alongside other properties.
Thus, Red and Green started the franchise and is the first Pokémon game in order of chronology. Red and Green are still fondly remembered today as one of the best games in the series, not because of gameplay as many other games notably improved on them, but because of their nostalgic appeal.
Notably, generation 1’s appeal to fans of the Pokémon trading card game, cards such as Charizard, have sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Furthermore, Red and Green have been remade multiple times with Pokémon Fire Red and Lead Green on the GameBoy to the latest Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee on the Nintendo Switch.
Although fans complain about the sheer quantity of Red and Green remakes, the games are well-loved by fans. When first released, Pokémon Red and Green scored well with critics and helped kickstart the franchise into existence.
It is the second Pokémon game in order after Legends Arceus and one of the most loved in the series.
Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire
Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire were the third set of Pokémon games released for the franchise. The game was originally released in 2002 and later worldwide as the third generation of games after Pokémon Gold, Silver, and Crystal.
Ruby and Sapphire had you explore the region of Hoenn, a vast region filled with rare Pokémon and dynamic landscapes and areas such as Mount Pyre and cities like Mossdeep.
The game had you once again complete your Pokedex and, of course, become Pokémon league champion by defeating gym leaders and beating the Pokémon Elite four. Ruby and Sapphire were the first set of games to introduce Pokémon contests.
They added new features such as double battles alongside many gameplay improvements such as the ability to get two bikes and brand new Pokémon.
The games introduced a slew of brand new Pocket Monsters to collect and find, such as the Legendary Pokémon Rayquaza, Groudon and Kyogre.
The games also pitted you up against the evil Team Magma and Aqua as they sought to use the powers of the legendary Pokémon to create a new world.
Ruby and Sapphire were one of the hardest games in the series, with gym leaders and Elite four members such as the dragon-type trainer Drake posing real difficulty.
Ruby and Sapphire later got a new addition to its generation with the release of Pokémon Emerald, which included a vast range of features such as the Battle Frontier, an end game battle facility first introduced in Pokémon Emerald, which had you defeat several Battle Frontier Brains, to become champion.
Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald were the third Pokémon games in order of chronology and the first set of games in the series to push the games to a whole new level of gameplay and storytelling.
For the first time, the Pokémon games had stakes and consequences, helping to drive the narrative direction of the franchise to more complex storytelling.
Overall, Ruby and Sapphire scored well on Metacritic when they were first released, with critic scores of 82 and a high user score of 8.6.
Pokémon Gold and Silver
Pokémon Gold and Silver were the fourth Pokémon games in order of chronology and the second generation of Pokémon games to release.
Gold and Silver were first released in 1999 in Japan and introduced players to the second generation of Pokémon.
Gold and Silver built on what Pokémon Red and Green started introducing a whole new set of Pokémon such as Todadile and legendary Pokémon such as Entei, Raikou and Suicune.
The games took players to a completely new region known as the Johto region and had players again take down the criminal team rocket as they tried to steal Pokémon and take over the area.
Gold and Silver had different gym leaders, but a similar Elite Four following directly from the Pokémon Red and Green games.
The games featured familiar characters such as the famous professor Oak and trainers such as Red, the main protagonist of the first games. Thus, the games come after Pokémon Red and Green’s events and after Ruby and Sapphire, which happened simultaneously.
Therefore, Gold and Silver are the fourth Pokémon games in order. Gold and Silver are regarded as one of the best generations of Pokémon games due to their vast Pokémon lore and fantastic music.
Similarly, the generation of Gold and Silver got the third installment, Pokémon Crystal, further expanding the series.
The developers at Game Freak later remade the games for the Nintendo DS, Pokémon Soul Silver, and Heart Gold, widely considered one of the best Pokémon games of all time due to their vast worlds and polished gameplay.
Overall, Pokémon Gold and Silver was reviewed well when it was released in 1999 and is widely considered one of the better generations of Pokémon games by many.
Pokémon Diamond and Pearl
Pokémon Diamond and Pearl were released in the late 2000s as the fifth Pokémon game in order of chronology.
Diamond and Pearl were the fourth generation of Pokémon games and took players to the region of Sinnoh, a mountainous region filled with Pokémon myths and Legends.
The games introduced new Pocket Monsters such as Piplup and Legendary Pokémon such as Dialga. Likewise, the games also included new features such as poffin making and honey to attract Pokémon such as Munchlax.
Similarly, Diamond and Pearl also featured the famous Pokémon Underground, which allowed you to uncover mysterious fossils and gems and build a secret base.
The fourth generation of games was one of the more action-packed Pokémon generations with new features and a new criminal team known as Team Galactic.
Team Galatic’s main goal was to use the legendary Pokémon Dialga and Pialka to create a brand new world, destroying the old one. They were led by the evil villain Cyrus, hellbent on creating a new world based on his desires.
Unfortunately, though, you, the player, ruined his plans. Pokémon Diamond and Pearl are arguably among the hardest games in the franchise due to the notoriously powerful Pokémon champion Cynthia, higher levelled gym leaders and all-around tougher environments.
The games later got the third instalment in the franchise with the release of Pokémon Platinum, which helped improve on Diamond and pearl with the addition of new fire type Pokémon and introduced new characters, stories, and new areas such as the distortion world.
Diamond, Pearl and Platinum are expecting a remake at the end of 2021, in Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl.
Although it is confirmed much of the classic features will remain from the original games, it is not clear whether Game freak will include many elements from Platinum. Nevertheless, the games are likely to be a great remaster of the original games.
Similarly, as highlighted above, the Pokémon Legends: Arceus games are based on the region of Sinnoh and loosely the Pokémon Diamond and Pearl games.
Thus Pokémon Legends: Arceus may include nods to Pokémon Diamond and Pearl with similar places and features.
Overall, when the games were released, they scored strong scores on Metacritic in the high eighties and a Metacritic score of around 8.3
Pokémon Black and White
Pokémon Black and White are one of the most underrated Pokémon games of all time. The games were the fifth generation of Pokémon games and the sixth Pokémon games in order of chronology.
Black and White were released in 2010 and quickly became fan favorites due to the game’s fantastic graphics and gameplay, utilizing the Nintendo DS’s power.
Pokémon Black and White took players to the region of Unova, a completely brand new area based upon the city of New York. The games were the first in the series since the first Pokémon games to introduce around 150 unique Pokémon.
Such Pokémon include the Legendary Pokémon Zekrom and Kyreum alongside other Pocket Monsters such as Larvesta. Black and White introduced brand new features to the series, including triple battles and new wifi features, making battling and trading with fans easy.
Similarly, for the first time, the games also introduced a dynamic story, following the protagonist as they try to stop the criminal team Plasma and its protege N as he tries to change the world.
The games have a fantastic story and one of the deeper narrative journeys in the franchise. Black and White have set the bar high in terms of storytelling. Few games in the series have come close to it.
Hopefully, in 2022, the release of Pokémon Legends: Arceus may finally provide a challenge in storytelling. Unfortunately, despite the abundance of features present in the games and decent reviews with critic scores nearing the low 90’s, Black and White were not received well by fans resulting in poor sales numbers.
Nevertheless, the games are starting to receive the popularity they deserve, with many calling Black and White some of the best Pokémon games ever created.
Pokémon Black and White 2
Pokémon Back and White 2 continued from Black and White, being direct sequels to the games. Black and White introduced new features such as new Pokémon forms, for example, Black and White Kyreum.
The games also continued from the Black and White games in terms of their narrative, followed by excellent storytelling, twists and turns.
Pokémon Black and White 2 made Black and White even better, improving on much we love about them. The games reintroduced characters present in the previous games alongside new ones.
Similarly, the game also added new locations alongside new villains. Thus, Black and White 2 included familiarity and unknown, creating the perfect mix between nostalgia and originality.
The games complete one of the best narrative arcs in Pokémon history and add real emotional depth to the Pokémon games. Unfortunately, as mentioned, the games did not sell that well, with future installments in the series not getting such a narrative makeover.
Nevertheless, in the future, Black and White and Black and White 2 are expected a narrative remake, in line with the Pokémon Company’s release schedule. As a result, this generation of games is likely to get a remaster in the future.
Thus, those who are intrigued by the games should look out for future announcements regarding possible remakes. Due to the fact, Black and White 2 come after Black and White in the timeline of Pokémon events, Black and White 2 are the seventh Pokémon games in order of chronology.
The game reviewed well on Metacritic, with the games scoring an 80 on Metacritic and a strong user score.
Pokémon X and Y
Pokémon X and Y were the sixth generations of Pokémon games and the eighth game in order of chronology. X and Y took players to the Paris-inspired region of Kalos.
Kalos was heavily inspired by France, with classic icon buildings being present in the games, such as the Eiffel Tower. X and Y were the first games to release on the Nintendo 3DS and helped introduce the series to proper 3D.
The games innovated on previous games in series, including previous features but in 3D graphics. X and Y included a new evil organization known as Team Flare and had you take them down to stop a doomsday device from activating.
Although not as good as Pokémon Black and White, the games built on Pokémon lore considerably and included notable story beats to provide a decent narrative.
The games featured legendary Pokémon such a Yvental and other Pocket Monsters. X and Y also featured brand new features such as the highly popular mega evolution, which allowed some Pokémon to evolve further past their previous evolutions.
Such Pokémon included Charizard and even Pokémon such as Absol. The inclusion of mega evolution was a hit amongst fans, with many loving the feature.
The developers Gamefreak later used Mega evolution in other Pokémon games, such as in Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire.
In the future, fans are hoping with the release of Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl that mega evolutions get reintroduced into the series, hopefully giving Pokémon such as Empoleon and Infernape mega evolutions.
Although the Pokémon Company has been quiet about this, it is likely. All in all, X and Y reviewed very well on Metacritic, scoring an 87 from critics and a user score in the mid 7’s.
Pokémon Sun and Moon
If you were to ask Pokémon fans which generation of Pokémon games they enjoyed the least, they would say the seventh generation of Pokémon games.
Not because the games are the same old same old but because Pokémon Sun and Moon and Ultra Sun/ Ultra Moon are considered some of the series worse for numerous reasons.
Pokémon Sun and Moon were released in 2016 as the ninth Pokémon games in order of chronology. Sun and Moon took players to the region of Allah, an area inspired by the tropical region of Hawaii.
Sun and Moon introduced new features such as Z moves and removed classic features such as gym battles to replace island challenges.
Sun and Moon are considered one of the worst games in the series due to its hand-holding nature and heavy tutorial/dialogue sections. The games took a major step back from the storytelling elements of the previous games and gave players a linear story with easy gameplay.
Although the games started to toy with the idea of open-world Pokémon gameplay, Sun and Moon compromised in terms of features. Even though the games introduced new Pokémon such as Ultra beasts alongside new characters and a vibrant world, it didn’t feel much like Pokémon.
Pokémon Sun and Moon later got new entries into the series known as Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, which expanded on the previous games but minorly.
The game introduced new forms of Pokémon alongside post-game content. Overall, both sets of games score high with critics and far less with fans.
Pokémon Sword and Shield
Pokémon Sword and Shield are the latest generations of Pokémon games and the tenth Pokémon games in order of chronology. Sword and Shield were released in 2019 as the first Pokémon game installment on the Nintendo Switch.
The games featured the region of Galar, based in the United Kingdom. They included brand new features such as Pokémon dens and brand new Pocket monsters such as the legendary Zamazenta.
The games also featured Gigantamax Pokémon, a feature never seen before in the franchise. Although not as popular as mega evolution featured in X and Y, gigantamax Pokémon was a well-received addition, with the series trading card game benefiting from the upgraded Pokémon.
Sword and Shield also featured brand new open-world Pokémon areas known as wild areas. The wild areas allowed you to catch, train and often run away from Pokémon and were a fantastic element introduced by the games.
Thus, Sword and Shield helped set the stage for Pokémon: Legends Arceus large open style world. In effect, Sword and Shield helped to test out the idea of open-world areas within Pokémon games.
Thus, although Sword and Shield are considered by many to be lacklustre Pokémon games due to their limited Pokedex, they should not be overlooked and are excellent additions to the franchise.
Similarly, the games were the first to get dedicated DLC packs after release, with Sword and Shield getting two large expansion packs featuring new areas, Pokémon and story.
As a complete package, the Sword and Shield games are some of the Pokémon series best, with the main game reviewed in the ’80s.
Overall, this article has laid out the Pokémon games in order of chronology. As highlighted above, there are numerous Pokémon main series games, and it is often difficult to rank them in terms of their order in a canonical way.
Although this article has listed only the main series of Pokémon games in order of chronology, many other spin-off series games and other Pokémon timelines have not been included as they are not considered the main series of Pokémon games.
Such games include Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire due to their contrasting events with Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire and titles such as Pokémon Lets Go Eevee and Pikachu due to the games being noted by developers Gamefreak as being not main series.
Similarly, other games such as Pokémon Ranger and Pokémon Mystery Dungeon have also not been included on this list due to not fitting in the main series timeline.
Nevertheless, all of these are great games and may be featured in another article soon. This list is also likely to be updated with new games added to this list with the release of new titles and a possible generation 9 reveal in 2022.