It’s been a while, but we used to do gaming challenges here on Double Jump. This usually consisted of us playing something that we had never played before or a game that one of us loves but the other has never played. For example, I had Kris play the original Luigi’s Mansion on the Gamecube while she asked me to play Fire Emblem: Sacred Stones. This is to ensure that we branch out a little more and play games that we wouldn’t normally try.
Often times, we gave ourselves about a month to play through the games. As per Double Jump’s M.O, time would run out while other things got in the way and we’d forget about the challenge. We’d always come back to it, but way later than intended. Because of this, we weren’t able to do challenges as often as we liked. So, we decided to bring the challenges back in a new way this year (and going forward, provided it works out well).
Considering 2021 is Pokemon’s 25th anniversary, we thought to go back to the Pokemon regions. Of course, we don’t need much of an excuse to play through the Pokemon games! Last year, we had gone back to Sword and Shield as a comfort game, if you will, with both of us going through the DLC together and completing the Pokedex, and we decided to dedicate a challenge to Pokemon this time.
At some point last year, I realized that despite Pokemon being one of the driving franchises that turned me into a gamer, there were core games that I never finished. Generation five, located in the Unova region, was the main generation I thought of — Black and White, and Black 2 and White 2, are probably some of my least favorites of the Pokemon main games. Yet, I would love to give them a proper chance, so I decided that I would go through the regions once again throughout the year. With Rachel joining me, we decided to challenge ourselves to beat the main games for each of the eight regions, as well as a couple of spin-off games, during 2021.
When we say complete, we mean to collect all eight gym badges, fight the Elite Four, and become the Champion for each region. Of course, it’s an added bonus if we fill our Pokedex as much as we can and are able to get any extra stuff done. However, the main goal is to simply become the Champion for each region.
It took us a while to figure out which games to play through the year. And yes, we’re aiming to play at least one or two Pokemon games each month of the year so we can play as much Pokemon as possible. When Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Let’s Go, Eevee! released, Kris played through and completed Let’s Go, Pikachu! while I had started Let’s Go, Eevee! but never completed it. So, in January, Kris played through Let’s Go, Eevee! and I played through Let’s Go, Pikachu!
I wouldn’t have minded either one, but it was nice of Rachel to let me play the Let’s Go title that I hadn’t gotten a chance to try out yet. We reached the credits, which to us is a decent endpoint for the games. Plenty of the Pokemon games have post-credit things to do — such as exploring Cerulean Cave in the Let’s Go duo — but in the interest of time, becoming Champion and reaching the credits is the endpoint for us.
Right now, Rachel and I are playing through SoulSilver and HeartGold, with Rachel playing the former and I’m playing the latter. These games are over ten years old and it’s a bit odd going from the more updated mechanics and graphics of the Let’s Go titles to the remakes of generation two. Still, Johto is one of my favorite regions and it’s nice to go back to it.
It’s been such a long time since we’ve played through many of these regions. With remakes and ports, we can say that we’ve played the older regions fairly recently. However, HeartGold and SoulSilver, as we’ve just discovered, came out in 2010, so those games are already 11 years old. Just wait until we get to Diamond and Pearl! I wonder if Nintendo will announce a remake of the fourth generation by the time we get to the game.
Regardless, I’m looking forward to going back to the older generations and play through each other of the games “in order,” if you will. This will be a fun way to honor the Pokemon franchise during its anniversary year, but I’m also just as excited to be able to get the chance to say that I’m going to be the Champion of every single region. We also chose some selected spin-off games to play through as well so we can get a more well-rounded list by the end of the year.
As readers may have noticed, we did choose to play HeartGold and SoulSilver over the original Gold, Silver, and Crystal, and we’ll be playing Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby rather than the original Sapphire, Ruby, and Emerald. While Crystal and Emerald were always a couple of my favorite Pokemon games, our older games and systems may not save or work as well. We’re also a bit spoiled with more recent game mechanics, to be honest. I don’t know if we’d be happy with the lack of running shoes in Gold, Silver, and Crystal!
After we play through each of the regions and the spin-off games, we’re aiming to do a special stream near the end of the year where we’ll rank the games based on personal preference and how well we believe they’ve held up over the years. Perhaps we’ll also do some Pokemon battles between our many teams, too!
If time permits, though, we were planning on giving Yellow, Crystal, and Emerald a try. We’ll see how that goes, though. For now, we decided to stick with the “newer” games.
Yes, we’ll take a look at all the Pokemon main games throughout these past 25 years plus a few spin-offs. I think it’ll be fun to rank them on stream and get some input from you guys, as well. Assuming that doesn’t take long (and we’re able to transfer all of our Pokemon to Sword and Shield), we’re hoping to pit our different teams against each other and have a few Pokemon battles for each region. We’ll see if we can rig it up as such, but we’ll figure something out. Of course, we need to see what Nintendo has in store for us too.
I think it would be great to go back to those and include them. Those games are the ones I grew up with, after all. It’d be great to compare the older games to their remakes as well. We shall see!
We may need to do some transferring magic to see what Pokemon from the original teams we’re using are able to make an appearance in Sword and Shield down the line. Aside from the occasional favorite starters, part of this challenge is to create teams of Pokemon we’ve never used before. To become the Champion with unfamiliar Pokemon, maybe getting some new favorites, and then being able to pit them against each other sounds like a lot of fun to me! We know Nintendo will be releasing Pokemon Snap 2 in April, so we’ll see if anything else comes along with the anniversary.
We’re already getting frustrated with how “old” HeartGold and SoulSilver are though, which I find hilarious.
Oh, right. We forgot to mention that we’re trying to raise new Pokemon. Of course, we wanted to do this challenge so we could play through all the regions and get a refresher for the games so we can rank them. Having a little extra challenge to have new Pokemon on our teams that we’ve never had before is almost as if we’re playing a new Pokemon game. It’s certainly been a challenge so far, but we’re having a lot of fun with it.
Seeing how we’ve already found a few nit-picky things about the older mechanics of HeartGold and SoulSilver makes me wonder how the games have evolved — pun intended — to make them more accessible to beginner players. With Pokemon being around for so long, a good chunk of the fanbase has been playing since the very beginning. It’s interesting to think how Nintendo and Game Freak have switched up the mechanics to make them appeal to both new and old players alike.
It definitely is a challenge considering how many Pokemon we’ve already raised throughout our years playing. For instance, in HeartGold and SoulSilver, I may be skipping the free Eevee from Goldenrod City. Aside from Let’s Go, Eevee! I’ve raised about half of its evolutions before. We shall see, though. Either way, we’re having a great time so far and we’re not worried about being burned out from the Pokemon games at all!
Which Pokemon games have you played through? Are you doing anything special for the 25th anniversary? Let us know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it!