The world of Pokémon is enormous, and the franchise itself now spans across decades and shows no signs of stopping, with games continuing to make appearances on every major Nintendo handheld console.

I’ve played every single main series Pokémon game and consider myself to be a bit of a Pokémon fanatic, but today I wanted to talk about my personal favorites in the series: Gold and Silver.

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Before I start, I want to make it clear that these are my personal opinions regarding my favorite Pokémon games and they don’t reflect the thoughts and opinions of the other writers here at Nintendo Inquirer. With that said, I love all of the Pokémon games, but Gold and Silver will always have a soft spot in my heart.

It’s hard to talk about Gold and Silver without first mentioning the original trilogy (or should that be quadrilogy?) These original games were responsible for creating the worldwide phenomenon that Pokémon has become today, but the games were far from perfect, with numerous bugs and glitches that both helped and hindered players. Gold and Silver, in comparison, are far more polished and refined.

Ever since I first started my journey into Johto I loved how much detail and color were used to craft the region. The games took advantage of the new Gameboy Color’s capabilities, and as a result they are some of the best looking games on the system. The sprites of the Pokémon are gorgeous, and were a significant improvement on the colorless, fuzzy and occasionally off-model originals.

While this is almost certainly an unpopular opinion, I believe that Gold and Silver had the best selection of brand new Pokémon. From Chikorita all the way to Celebi, the variety of the 100 new critters was top notch. Not only that but many Pokémon from the original 151 expanded their families in different and exciting ways; Scyther, Oynx, Poliwhirl and many others got powerful new evolutions that could only be obtained when traded with a specific held item (which was also a new feature.)

Not to mention the introduction of breeding and pre-evolutions, giving us adorable baby Pokémon like Pichu, Elekid and Magby. This breeding mechanic has been a staple in the franchise ever since, evolving into a deep and complex system in future titles.

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The game struck a perfect balance of new and old; there weren’t an overwhelming amount of new Pokemon and the addition of only six new legendary Pokemon was perfect. Newer iterations of the series tend to get a little crazy with the amount of legendary Pokemon in my opinion, which takes away from the wonder and awe that they had back in the day.

The game’s introduction of a night/day cycle was also a huge step forward for the franchise, giving players not only a more immersive experience but also plenty of new gameplay features. Time of day mattered, with certain Pokémon, such as Houndour and Hoothoot, only coming out of the tall grass at the darkest hours, meanwhile the fan-favorites Umbreon and Espeon were only obtainable by leveling up a happy Eevee at night.

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Trainers could also look forward to facing off against a variety of Gym Leaders and Elite Four members that made for sometimes difficult battles (I’m talking about you, Whitney), but never felt unfair. They were nicely balanced and provided a fun and fair challenge, making you rethink your Pokémon’s moves and strategies.

Of course, one of the more notable aspects of Gold and Silver is how they feature unparalleled post game content; with players being able to explore Kanto just as they thought the game was over. I wish more Pokemon games took advantage of this idea and implemented previous regions into them.

While clearly fan-service, this return to Kanto was an amazing inclusion. Battling Brock and other iconic Gym Leaders at much higher levels was a nice touch. Also, scaling Mt. Silver to take on former protagonist Red after completing the entire game was one of the toughest and most epic battles in RPG history. Red’s team was unforgiving, and seeing his level 81 Pikachu was a great shout out to fans of the anime and manga series.

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Pokemon Gold and Silver did so many things right. The sheer scale and ambition on show made the games feel unique from the originals, but they were also familiar enough for any Pokémon fan to pick up. While I wasn’t able to cover every single detail as to why they are my favorite Pokemon games, this was absolutely a trip down memory lane. Maybe we’ll see them make their way to the 3DS Virtual Console in the near future? We can only hope.

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Written by Frank Costagliola

Frank is a journalism student at the College of Staten Island and knew he wanted to write and talk about video games since high school. If Frank isn't on campus, he's probably gaming, spending time with his friends, at the gym, or trying to hunt down a rare amiibo out in the wild.

Frank Costagliola