Pokémon Black and White are now 8 years old, having been released in the US on March 6, 2011. The games featured some radical changes from their predecessors and remain as highly memorable entries into the franchise. To celebrate the anniversary, here are eight reasons we are still in love with Generation V.
1. All New Pokémon
Some generations have only introduced the bare minimum of new species (looking at you X & Y), but Black & White not only provided a surplus—it actually surpassed the number introduced in the first generation of the games, 156 versus 151.
2. *All* New Pokémon
Those 156 Pokémon were not something players could skip. We had to learn to love them, because Unova didn’t offer anything else until we became the region’s Champion. No Pikachu, no Zubat and no Eevee. Not since Red and Blue had players needed to reacquaint themselves with a new Pokédex in such a dramatic fashion. Without old standbys, many trainers found new Pokémon to love as they traveled and battled through the games.
3. The Plot
Pokémon was no longer just about battling through eight gyms and defeating an evil team—suddenly there was something about a monarchy, philosophy and world splitting. Fans were used to some crazy things, but the storyline was something much more than what we had seen so far.
4. Great Sprites
Pokémon games before Black & White had featured animated sprites, but generally this was limited to a simple action before the battle. These games introduced fully animated 2D sprites that didn’t stop moving. Our Pokémon finally felt alive and battles were a much less static affair.
5. Better Overworld
The pair of games also featured the best 2D overworld of any Pokémon game and showed the refinement that Game Freak had achieved. Camera angles blended detailed character sprites with 3D objects and created something that had a distinct “Gen V” feel. Now that the games have transitioned to 3D, it’s in doubt whether we’ll ever see anything like this style again.
One of the most beautiful things about Unova is how it could change depending on the in-game season. A new gimmick of the games, seasons were not overly utilized, but they certainly were gorgeous.
7. Dream World
Maybe it was a pain to go online to get Pokémon, maybe it wasn’t, but it was a unique feature that added something for trainers to do, but only once every 20 hours. You even got your own dream home to decorate!
Is this a cop-out?! Sewaddle was truly that mixture of Grass- and Bug-type that was too adorable to ignore. It resonated so strongly with me that I made it the mascot of my Pokémon site, something we had never really had before (Carnivine was close to one I suppose).
Generation V has always been special to me and I know many other trainers feel the same way. Hopefully reading this list has spurred some nostalgia and maybe even reminded you of a few reasons why it was a great time for Pokémon fans!
Leave us your own comments about your favorite parts of the games down in the comments below! Don’t forget you can talk about Let’s Go! or Sword & Shield in our Discord server any time!