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Home Lists 5 Ways 2D Pokémon Games Are The Best (& 5 Why 3D Are Better)
5 Ways 2D Pokémon Games Are The Best (& 5 Why 3D Are Better)

Nintendo and Game Freak”s Pokémon franchise has gone through many changes, none bigger than the shift from 2D to 3D. Which era of games was the best?

Anyone who”s ever had any experience with gaming likely has a positive Pokémon memory. With 24 years, 20 main games, many anime seasons, and a ton of sp-off titles under its belt, every gamer likely has a “childhood Pokémon ” game.

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Moreover, no two players will have the same thoughts on the franchise as a whole. This idea makes Pokémon a phenomenon more than a series. Likewise, this is also why every release can cause a divide among the community. For instance, are 2D Pokémon games better than their modern 3D counterparts?

RELATED: Top 10 Starter Pokémon

This hot topic can cause quite an uproar in the Pokémon community, just like how players fight for their “best Generation.” Just what makes 2D Pokémon games shine? And more importantly, what”s 3D Pokémon games got aside from improved graphics?

10 2D Is Best: It”s Like Being In A New World

For kids in 1996, Pokémon Red and Blue brought them to a whole new world. Players who want a change of pace can go to Pokémon and away from the action in Mortal Kombat 2, the sword and sorcery of Final Fantasy, or the quirky fun of Mario Kart. The “monsters and tactics” vibe Pokémon had was a welcome change of pace for gaming at the time. And gamers appreciated the premise of exploring the world with friends in the form of capsule monsters.

This appeal carried itself across Pokémon“s many 2D-based titles. In a world where games have become more realistic, Pokémon“s persistent 2D theme helps players “get away” from the real world and get into a new one.

9 3D Is Better: The Games Felt Modern

Finally playing Pokémon in 3D fulfilled many dreams of franchise fans. After all, seeing Pikachu”s avatar in a game “slam” into a Zigzagoon and call it “Tackle” felt off when Pikachu can dish out combos in the anime and manga. Therefore, fans felt quite excited playing Pokken Tournament, as it finally had the kind of action-packed suspense the Pokémon anime”s fight scenes had.

Moreover, Pokémon Sun & Moon and Pokémon Sword & Shield showed the kind of graphical depth Nintendo”s franchise can offer. It”s one thing to feel cute about the 2D games” sprites, but the 3D games felt like a world that players can be a part of.

8 2D Is Best: There”s A Lot Left To The Imagination

Despite developments in consoles at the time, Nintendo had to make do with the limited powers of the Game Boy and its other flagship systems that housed their Pokémon titles. Regardless, 2D Pokémon games remain stellar in appearance even today. Whereas other older titles felt “aged” when played today, 2D Pokémon kept that consistent animation style and visual theme.

RELATED: The 10 Creepiest Pokémon Ever (That Are More Intense Than You Remember)

Moreover, older Pokémon titles had the advantage of relying on player imagination. Developers at the time had to maximize screen shaking, jumps, and little animations to convey the complexity of the Pokémon universe. And this strategy worked! Players had to imagine the little details as they played the game, which helped a lot of them form attachments to these titles regardless of their age.

7 3D Is Better: Devs Go All Out With Graphics

Let”s admit it: 3D Pokémon games maximized their graphical potential. However, Nintendo didn”t just “make” 3D worlds, they made their 3D Pokémon games as expansive as possible. Little details such as grass, roads, and textures felt they all belong to a world of their own.

For eagle-eyed fans, they”d look at these tiny details and know Nintendo finally had the means to make their original concepts come to life. For hardcore Pokémon fans and enthusiasts, these 3D Pokémon games serve both as eye-candy and a tribute.

6 2D Is Best: Predominantly Single-Player

Many players hold 2D Pokémon games close to their hearts as they”re predominantly single-player experiences. If players wanted to interact, they either had to use a connecting cable or connect to the WiFi separately to trade and challenge others. However, trainers have to play the majority of the Pokémon experience alone. This process makes 2D games extremely personal, as players experience a Trainer”s journey by themselves.

Smaller, more portable devices with Pokémon games helped players spend their lonely days with their best builds. Moreover, the limitations posed by 2D graphics and processors then made each “upgrade” in the next game something to look forward to.

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5 3D Is Better: Multiplayer Is A Natural Component

Players of modern Pokémon games don”t have to worry about the lack of a multiplayer component. Couples, groups of friends, or even families can all enjoy Pokémon thanks to the constant multiplayer feature some games have. In recent games such as Pokémon: Let”s Go and even Pokémon GO, multiplayer transformed the franchise into a community experience.

Thanks to the steady improvement of 3D processors and graphics, fans can expect more multiplayer features to come to Pokémon games in the future.

4 2D Is Best: Classic Pokémon Was Mysterious

Most 2D Pokémon games tap into the allure of the nature of Pokémon to grab players. Aside from the excitement that comes along with each new Pokémon generation, players have to uncover mysteries that ancient Pokémon left behind. As such, players slowly discover that Mewtwo is a clone of Mew, perhaps one of the strongest Pokémon alive.

RELATED: 10 Most Iconic Pokémon In The Franchise, Ranked

They also discover that alongside ancient beasts Groudon, Rayquaza, and Kyogre is Celebi, a Pokémon that can manipulate time. At some point, after Arceus created Pokémon, an alien Pokémon called Deoxys made its presence known to players. Classic Pokémon games tap into the feeling of delight and accomplishment players have while uncovering the mysteries of every game.

3 3D Is Better: Modern Pokémon Taps Into Novelty

Gone are days of players wondering where Pokémon come from or what goes on in a lot of regions in the game. Nowadays, new Pokémon entries simply add more Pokémon into the Regional Pokédex. With Nintendo releasing a Global Pokédex, fans know it”s only a matter of time before future games include all Pokémon for players to catch.

Where”s the fun in that? Unlike classic games that drag players into a region-wide conspiracy, modern games add a lot more novelty for fans to enjoy. Thanks to improved 3D graphics and processing power, current consoles can breathe life into other Pokémon minigames such as Contests (pageants). Players can finally spend hours with their “Pocket Monsters” without having to worry about overall game progression.

2 2D Is Best: Min-Maxing Is A Niche Community

Players of older Pokémon titles know the concept of min-maxing to some extent. There”s a ton of advice and messages in forums out there detailing how to get the best starter (or Pokémon, for that matter) based on starting nature and some specific stats. As it turns out, Pokémon battles extend far beyond Type-versus-Type. And Trainers who take their breeding and collection seriously only look for the best Pokémon in the bunch.

This fact makes trainers capable of min-maxing wear it as a badge of honors. Many players spend hours, days, or even weeks trying to study the best combination of Pokémon. After all, players don”t have reliable sources online as a basis. Even with the popularity of message boards today, it is still a thrill to see those numbers in prized Pokémon in classic titles.

1 3D Is Better: Grow Old With Pokémon

Thanks to more than 600 Pokémon in the Global Pokédex, fans have millions of combinations when putting together their best Pokémon team. Thanks to the transfer feature in recent generations, players can see their old Pokémon “grow” in new titles. Granted, crazier Pokémon ideas will likely arrive in newer titles.

Having a favorite Pokémon accompany a player in Nintendo”s future installments has an incredibly powerful nostalgic appeal. 3D Pokémon games might be the future, but they are still tied to the past.

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NEXT: Pokémon: 5 Reasons We Want To See Ash Ketchum Grow Up (& 5 Why We Don”t)

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About The Author
Rhenn Taguiam (477 Articles Published)

Rhenn is a Manila-based content writer with a love for all things geek and pop culture, and science and technology. He has a BA Journalism degree, and has since then pursued making content about geek culture. Rhenn used to write for a couple of geek and gaming publications, and also served as editor-in-chief for Philippines-based What”s A Geek!. He constantly plays video games but also takes the time to try out older titles. If he”s not playing video games, he”s probably playing TTRPGs.

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