7 – Pokemon Ruby & Sapphire (Game Boy Advance)
The third generation of Pokemon is simultaneously brilliant and bizarre. It’s because of its weird combination of genius and quirky oddment that ORAS received so much acclaim–people remember these titles fondly for their high points but also for the sheer amount of weird humor generated from their flaws. Pokemon Ruby & Sapphire were visually stunning on the Game Boy Advance for their time, filling the world with color in a way the 1st and 2nd generations simply had not been capable of capturing. Updated systems, tons of added movesets and mechanics, and the introduction of Double Battles revamped combat to be smoother and more interesting. And for the first time, the story differed in a meaningful way between versions. And Pokemon Contests! Watering berries! Secret Bases! All positive contributions to the series.
But okay, remember how weird these games were? There wasn’t a lot to do after finishing the main story (a huge disappointment after Gold & Silver), and the game had a huge glitch that stopped the internal clock if you didn’t mail your game into Nintendo or visit a special kiosk. The soundtrack was 90% trumpets, the new Pokemon introduced were laughable at the time (Zigzagoon? Really?), and the plot was just weird. A Pokemon-stealing crime syndicate is believable, but it’s just really hard to convince the player that you truly believe it’s a good idea to cover the world in ocean. No one benefits from having too much water, seriously.
In retrospect, most of the problems just added to the character of the game and most fans remember it very fondly…which is likely why their remakes were so desired, and so successful.
Next: #6 Pokemon Black & White 2