Every mainline Pokémon Game, in release order

The long history of Pokémon.

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The Pokémon series has a rich history. Starting its legacy in 1996, the franchise boomed quickly from its more humble beginnings with a massive swath of merchandise, TV shows, and films. This does not even mention the astronomical number of spin-off video games with the Pokémon name. So as you might expect with a series that has its hand in all of the cookie jars, it can be hard to keep up with the main series of games, especially as Nintendo continues to remake and re-releases Pokémon from bygone eras. We hope this ranking of all the mainline Pokémon games in release order will help understand what order to play the games.

All mainline Pokémon games ranked, by release date

This ranking will only include the mainline titles in the series, or else the list will be too long if we add everything. Popular spin-off titles like Pokémon GO for mobile, Pokémon Stadium, Mystery Dungeon, Pinball, Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness, and more are not ranked. As the franchise’s star continues to rise, so will the amount attached to it.

Here are all of the mainline Pokémon games in order, listed by generation.

Generation I – Gameboy

Pokémon Red & Blue

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Original U.S. Release: September 28, 1998. The original games that started it all, these games began the Pokémon mega-franchise that we all know and love to this day

Pokémon Yellow – Nintendo Gameboy

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Original U.S. Release: October 19, 1999. The first “third” entry of a generation, Pokémon Yellow, takes direct inspiration from the Pokémon anime by having the only starter Pokémon be a Pikachu that walks alongside the player.

Generation II – Gameboy Color

Pokémon Gold & Silver

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Original U.S. Release: October 15, 2000. Generation II introduced players to a new region with new Pokémon, new Gym Leaders, and new trainers to battle.

Pokémon Crystal

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Original U.S. Release: July 29, 2001. Crystal was a huge graphical improvement over Gold and Silver, plus it was the first game in the series to have Pokémon animation during battles.

Generation III – Gameboy Advance

Pokémon Ruby & Sapphire 

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Original U.S. Release: March 18, 2003. While many believe there’s too much water in the Hoen region, Ruby and Sapphire introduced new functionality that became popular among fans.

Pokémon Fire Red & Leaf Green

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Original U.S. Release: September 7, 2004. FireRed and LeafGreen bring players back to the Kanto in this trip down memory lane.

Pokémon Emerald

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Original U.S. Release: April 30, 2005. Emerald perfects the third game formula established with Pokémon Yellow and is arguably the best game in the franchise.

Generation IV – Nintendo DS

Pokémon Diamond & Pearl 

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Original U.S. Release: April 22, 2007. Generation IV is one of the most popular generations outside Gen. I, introducing fan favorite Pokémon and characters, including Sinnoh Champion Cynthia.

Pokémon Platinum

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Original U.S. Release: March 22, 2009. Platinum improves on everything from Diamond and Pearl, making it a rare third game that is better than its direct predecessor.

Pokémon Heart Gold & Soul Silver

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Original U.S. Release: March 14, 2010. HeartGold and SoulSilver are the most up-to-date versions of Johto that players can get their hands on, and are arguably the best remakes in the franchise.

Generation V – Nintendo DS

Pokémon Black & White 

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Original U.S. Release: March 6, 2011. Introducing new mechanics and a whopping 150 new Pokémon, Black and White are favorites among the fandom for their shocking layered story and memorable villains.

Pokémon Black 2 & White 2

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Original U.S. Release: October 7, 2012. The first “third game” in a generation that is split between two titles, Black2 and White2, are the only games in the series that directly continue the story from the previous entry.

Generation VI – Nintendo 3DS

Pokémon X & Y

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Original U.S. Release: October 12, 2013. These games are the first mainline titles to be in 3D, serving as a small reboot to the franchise.

Pokémon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire 

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Original U.S. Release: November 21, 2014. These games streamlined the original Ruby and Sapphire while introducing more modern mechanics and 3D graphics.

Generation VII – Nintendo 3DS

Pokémon Sun & Moon

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Original U.S. Release: November 18, 2016. Sun and Moon featured a fully realized region based on Hawaii and included a more character-focused storyline. Currently, the only mainline generation series to not have Gym Leaders, but the games also got rid of HMs.

Pokémon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon

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Original U.S. Release: November 17, 2017. UltraSun and UltraMoon cut out most of the storyline to streamline the narrative. It also has a lengthy post-game with Team Rainbow Rocket.

Generation VIII – Nintendo Switch

Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! & Let’s Go, Eevee! 

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Original U.S. Release: November 16, 2018. The first Pokémon game on a home console, Let’s Go, was a back-to-basics approach for the Pokémon franchise.

Pokémon Sword & Shield

Pokémon Sword & Shield
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Original U.S. Release: November 15, 2019. A controversial set of games because of the lack of a national dex and poor graphics. These games end up being some of the best-selling titles in the franchise.

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl

Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl
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Original U.S. Release: November 19, 2021. Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl brings players back to the Sinnoh region in a new chibi aesthetic. It keeps everything the same as the original games, both good and bad.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus

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Original U.S. Release: January 28, 2022. The true Sinnoh remakes fans were clamoring for, Legends: Arceus, takes players to a new explorable world where they can catch and battle Pokémon in real-time.

Generation IX – Nintendo Switch

Pokémon Scarlet and Violet

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Slated U.S. Release date: November 18, 2022. Scarlet and Violet have you attend a school, with the game theme focusing on the concept of the past and future.