What do you miss most about the older games?

Astersol Sorceress
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What do I miss?

  • I think the primary thing is... well, that smaller, sort of "indie" feel of Gens 1 and 2. In Gen 1 in particular, it was before Pokemon got popular, and you can kind of feel more of the team's creativity shine through. Such as the bizarre events involving the ghosts and Marowak, something the likes of which we never really saw later on. (There were some weird creepy hints here and there in later Gens, such as that ghost girl, but it wasn't part of the main story.)

    The dialogue of these games also feels more... to the point and blunt, if that makes sense. Later games just started to get this... I can't really explain it. I guess this overly nice, childish tone in the way the characters spoke that felt sort of stale and unrealistic. I suppose this is best exemplified in the rivals changing from rude to friendly from Gen 3 onwards. It's as if the bigger Pokemon got, the more they wanted to ensure that no one would get offended, and they sanitized it. Perhaps this is all in my head, but that's just the vibe I get from earlier gens.


  • Brokenness and ridiculous glitches also contribute to that janky, unprofessional feel of Gen I. I'm glad the games are more functional nowadays, but at the same time, there is a certain charm to things such as Missingno and Glitch City. I'm extremely fascinated by these glitches and the way the code interacts to create them all.

  • Also, I miss the vibrant colors. I know they're trying to imitate Sugimori artwork, but the Pokemon models and games just look so... washed out. I'd like to see a return to the colors of Gens IV and V. Hopefully, that will happen in Gen 8.

  • Pokemon following you as well, and the fact that you can simply press a single button in HeartGold/SoulSilver and your character will keep running without having to hold B. A huge convenience to someone with deteriorating hands.

  • The art style of Gen III. Why Gen III? Well, I feel it is the best of both worlds. We have the nice colors of later gens (I'm not one for that water color aesthetic myself) with the style of the earlier gens.

    I don't really like how large the eyes have gotten, and how ridiculous the character designs for humans have become. I prefer the more simplistic, realistic human designs for the Gym Leaders/Elite Four members. (Such as Lorelei, for example.) Pokemon's art style for the humans used to look more unique and distinctive, but I feel it has become more homogenized and like modern anime nowadays. (It is still distinctive, mind you, but not as much.)

  • Speaking of this, I do feel that earlier Gens had less cartoony Pokemon designs, and I kind of miss that. I miss the simplicity of some of their designs, and the more realistic proportions the Pokemon have. Don't get me wrong, I'm far from a Gen I diehard, but some designs' proportions got a little too ridiculous for me. Such as Krookodile's absurdly long snout, stout body, and small limbs.. Again, I think Gen III strikes the perfect balance here.

I think those are the primary things, honestly. Other than that, I'm pretty pleased with the improvements they've made in later Gens, and Sun & Moon kind of remedied my earlier complaints about X & Y.
 
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Go listen to The Birdwatcher's Guide to Atrocity
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Such as the bizarre events involving the ghosts and Marowak, something the likes of which we never really saw later on. (There were some weird creepy hints here and there in later Gens, such as that ghost girl, but it wasn't part of the main story.)
This gets at something that I... well, I don’t exactly “miss” it; what there is of it can be all there is and I can be totally fine with that if need be. What I’m talking about is the mysticism of the early games, that waned somewhat in Gen 3 and then pretty much dissipated completely in Gen 4 when they decided to go all-in with the space-age death cults and the sci-fi creation myths.

But in those early games, the supernatural and the beyond-reality still had a sense of being down-to-earth. It mattered on a personal level, rather than a global or universal one. Yeah, there was the Marowak ghost - a supernatural, spiritual phenomenon, but it was caused by local crime and never did more than menace the town. And yet, it still felt important that we resolve the situation and put the ghost to rest. Back then, there was no “God” Pokémon that supposedly shaped everything in existence, and there was no extradimensional light dragon irradiating some tropical archipelago through space wormholes. You just had things like the Winged Mirages, which are just rare migratory birds. Or the Legendary Beasts, which are just elemental embodiments of a tragic local accident. Mew was the potential ancestor of Pokémon in a perfectly believable way; it didn’t need any lofty divine role in the cosmos. And then there’s Celebi, who merely wanders through time for no particular reason - it isn’t a god of time or anything hyperbolic like that. You also have the Unown. Compare how they’re portrayed in Gen 2 versus Gen 4. Gen 4 hitches their wagon to the aforementioned sci-fi creation myth for a mind-screw scene that tries to span the whole world (Or galaxy? Or universe? Gen 4 continues to suck pretty badly at differentiating between these things...) and be about the origin and meaning of life, or something. But in Gen 2 they’re just odd Pokémon that interfere with nearby radio transmissions and live in seclusion until someone comes along and demonstrates the potential to understand them. Here, they simply represent communication. In Crystal, they also have some kind of bond with Suicune, who unlike later Legendary Pokémon doesn’t possess world-ending power, but rather wants to test a Trainer who has the ability to commune with Pokémon on a spiritual level - and when a Trainer passes that test, Ho-Oh is said to return. Bringing Ho-Oh back won’t save the world from destruction or tell us how the universe was made, or anything, but it’s important on a spiritual and symbolic level.

Back then, I feel like Pokémon as beings carried a certain duality. They felt at once mysterious and powerful, and yet in some way, grounded in the world. I’m sure a lot of factors went into that - the nature of Pokémon as creatures wasn’t as clearly defined to begin with, familiarity had yet to set in, the world of the games was generally presented as being more like the real world than it is in the modern games, and the designs of the Pokémon were usually more naturalistic and less cartoonish, as you also mention. But I do love the way that that world felt, and how the Pokémon in it felt more like living creatures rather than gimmicky cartoon characters. (I don’t really mean that as an insult, though - I love the newer Pokémon just as much as the older ones. It’s just that I get distinctly different kinds of feelings from them. It’s the same with the newer storytelling style versus the old one. It’s not that I can’t enjoy the more heavy-handed, grandiose stories of the modern games, but I enjoy them differently from how I do the older, more mystical, more minimalist, more organic narrative.)
 
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I've been playing Yellow on VC lately, and one of the things that I still enjoy about the 1st Generation (and to a lesser extent, the 2nd and 3rd Generations as well) is how quiet things were. Once the early game and tutorials were out of the way, you were left to sort of figure out the game's world for yourself. The greater story and mysteries of the Region were things that you had to pick up on by actively engaging with it. You'd learn more about the workings of Team Rocket, Mewtwo or the Legendary Birds by talking to people, reading loose books, being curious...Something about that just feels like a more organic experience than having the plot and scenario spoon fed to me every time I walk around a corner...
 
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I think @Esserise and @Arylett Charnoa nailed it - I miss the games feeling small-scale and personal and I miss the weirdness. It feels like GF thinks they've got to get more and more epic!!! with each game. You can only threaten world destruction so many times before I stop caring, and I feel like you lose out on the creativity of making legendaries that aren’t just gods. And also, I miss when there were like 4/5 legendaries per gen. Not sure why we need almost double digits
 
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I miss it when the games weren't about temporary power boosts, mainly Mega Evolutions and Z-Moves. There was something great about keeping a Pokemon in what form you wanted to keep them in like keeping Giratina in the Origin form or keeping Kyurem fused. Plus, the powers of legendaries wouldn't be so close to 800 bst stats if they kept that as opposed to what actually happened.
 
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I miss seamless transitions between areas. NOTHING makes a game feel more "open" than being able to travel anywhere with a minimum of scene wipes.
 
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I miss the Mystery Gift function of Gen II.

I also miss the Pikachu expressions from Pokémon Yellow too. I'd like to see that combined with the walking pokémon but it's just too impractical to animate that many expressions for that many pokémon.
 
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-the liveliness of pokemon. The 3D models just don’t have life to them, and look washed out or downright creepy (Mr. Mime). Back when they were sprites, they always had personality and life even when not moving. And the colors looked more vibrant. I miss be able to enjoy what they did, like how snubull looks like it’s flipping a skirt in crystal.

-Following pokemon of course.

-Simpler plots. I’m tired of the same bad guy uses legendary and you must catch legendary to beat him plot. Gen 3 did it first and that’s fine. BW did it well, and made it unique. The rest though are just same old same old. It’s the same plot and same predictability. Why does the bad guy need to be trying to end the world? Why can’t their reign of terror be exclusive to their region and no inude legendaries? Gen 2 has you feel like you earned the right to capture Lugia/Ho-oh and they have nothing to do with team rocket. It was a perfect balance.

- mythology on the legendaries. Other than the box ones, we don’t get any since gen V. We used to have npcs give all kinds of information. And with lack of catch events, we literally just get handed some random Pokémon with no explanation.

-freedom. This was really only bad for me in Alola but omg the handholding and cut scenes. Earlier gens allowed you to do what you want, only occasionally forcing you to do another thing. And that tended to be what you would have done anyways. But now you can’t do anything and it’s all cutscenes.

-Height thing in the Pokédex.

-I’m one of those weird ones: HMs. Not like Gen IV when they were annoying down your throat and useless like Defog. But a balance. It gave a difficulty to the game, and a sense of tactics in a way. It made sense too since, why wouldn’t you use your gyarados to get across the water, or your fearow to visit mom. Pokeride took away that feeling. Why can’t I ride my Taurus? Why does it have to be someone else’s?
 
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I’m one of those weird ones: HMs. Not like Gen IV when they were annoying down your throat and useless like Defog. But a balance. It gave a difficulty to the game, and a sense of tactics in a way. It made sense too since, why wouldn’t you use your gyarados to get across the water, or your fearow to visit mom. Pokeride took away that feeling. Why can’t I ride my Taurus? Why does it have to be someone else’s?
LGPE seems to address this complaint with the following/buddy Onix in the trailer being rideable. Hopefully we can ride our own Pokémon in the next games!
 
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I like the concept of not wasting slots on HMs; but I do like having my own Pokémon Fly or Surf. Maybe the option to teach your ‘mons those moves, but being able to summon them if they aren’t in your party.
 
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I really miss the 2D graphics, believe it or not. 3D is quite nice and has a lot of potential, but in the end I prefer and miss 2D terribly. The world felt so much bigger and so much more mysterious. I also very much miss the way towns looked in SoulSilver/HeartGold, there was just something very simplistic about it that appealed to me.

Strangely enough, I kinda miss the way 3D was awkwardly shoehorned into Black/White, it looked so awful but I can't help but remember it fondly.

Lastly, I really miss the Ranger series. It's a darn shame it hasn't had another installment. The first one was my very first Pokémon game ever, and I'd love to see another game.
 
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I mean... I dont really miss anything from older games, as I have never stopped playing them ;)

In all seriousness though, I have come to the conclusion that pre-3D era games are overall better than the 3D era games (XY onwards). Since 2D graphics and textures are so much less time consuming to create, it really left Game Freak a lot of time to add extra content and postgame content, which they will probably never be able to add in 3D games, especially now the franchise is going HD. Graphics and visuals will inevitably take more and more time to develop, leaving less time for extra content and side content...

Not only was 2D a lot easier to implement, but imo 2D games actually look better as well, and are a lot more charming. 3D looks great, but in a more generic way, so to speak. 2D graphics gave a sense of uniqueness and personality. This goes for the overworld but especially so for the Pokemon themselves. I mean just look at LGPE: some Pokemon look like robots. They dont feel organic, but rather artificial. Sprites looked so much better imo (well, I mean Gen II, III and IV sprites, the Gen V sprites looked weird).
 
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The simplicity. Before natures were introduced I didn't have to soft-reset the game a million times to get an event Pokemon with a decent nature.
 
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- mythology on the legendaries. Other than the box ones, we don’t get any since gen V. We used to have npcs give all kinds of information. And with lack of catch events, we literally just get handed some random Pokémon with no explanation.
I think this relates to the games' main stories being literally centered around the cover legendary.
 
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- mythology on the legendaries. Other than the box ones, we don’t get any since gen V. We used to have npcs give all kinds of information. And with lack of catch events, we literally just get handed some random Pokémon with no explanation.
I don’t know about that... in Gen 6, the only Legendaries were the box mascots, and they got a bit of mythology, albeit a very simple one. And then in Gen 7, the tapu got tons of mythology and focus, and Silvally got a nice Mewtwo/Genesect-esque kind of backstory.

But if you’re referring to Mythical Pokémon rather than Legendary, then yeah, that’s definitely been a dry well.
 
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2D is a big one. Also it might just be nostalgia but the regions feel like they used to be much more dense and explorable in the older games. It feels like Gamefreak used to put a lot more effort in designing them and fleshing them out.

Lastly, I really miss the Ranger series.
Same, the Ranger games were fun and interesting and its sad to see that the series seems pretty dead.
 
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Dieter
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-Simpler plots. I’m tired of the same bad guy uses legendary and you must catch legendary to beat him plot. Gen 3 did it first and that’s fine. BW did it well, and made it unique. The rest though are just same old same old. It’s the same plot and same predictability. Why does the bad guy need to be trying to end the world? Why can’t their reign of terror be exclusive to their region and not include legendaries? Gen 2 has you feel like you earned the right to capture Lugia/Ho-oh and they have nothing to do with team rocket. It was a perfect balance.

- mythology on the legendaries. Other than the box ones, we don’t get any since gen V. We used to have npcs give all kinds of information. And with lack of catch events, we literally just get handed some random Pokémon with no explanation.

-I’m one of those weird ones: HMs. Not like Gen IV when they were annoying down your throat and useless like Defog. But a balance. It gave a difficulty to the game, and a sense of tactics in a way. It made sense too since, why wouldn’t you use your gyarados to get across the water, or your fearow to visit mom. Pokeride took away that feeling. Why can’t I ride my Taurus? Why does it have to be someone else’s?
Gen V still had lore for its other legendaries, like the Musketeer trio. Victini had an event dedicated to it. Then came Gen VI which barely had any legendaries, iirc. I mean besides the main trio there's Hoopo, Volcanion, and Diancie, all whom have little to no lore and no events. Gen VII sorta did it right with the Tapus I think, though I wish their shrines/temples had been a little less generic. Other than that, I definitely agree, they could expand on lore again, and not just text dumps from NPCs. I mean, people talking about it is fine, but with Volcanion you just had some random dude tell you stuff about it only if you had it in your party. There's no fun in that... If we get catch events again in the future, I hope the areas they were found in will remain available

Agreed on the HM part, it made me feel like I got to experience my adventure with my party, not some rentals. The upside to Pokeride though is that you don't have to waste a slot for a HM mon or simply a moveslot anymore. Honestly, if they'd make a set of field moves or abilities you get access to as you progress, it would be great. As an extension of the effects of Pokeride, I miss moves like Teleport and Sweet Scent. Even if they're not super useful in the field after a certain amount of progress, they still made me feel like my party was able to interact with the world around them

And I definitely agree with the plot thing, though Gen VII somewhat remedied that. Lusamine had no interest in conquering, she just wanted her jellyfish. And I might be biased, but I think it worked well for Gen III, as titans shaping continents and oceans are still not all encompassing, unlike space-time dragons? Not to mention Archie/Maxie quickly discovered they couldn't control their box legend at all. But I like the implication of Gen Ik, that you intervened soon enough with Team Rocket that they couldn't even get to Mewtwo. But yeah, the less 'dramatic' plots are something I miss a little
 
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