Looking Back: Generation Three


It's time for the most fun I have reviewing every generation: the big wrap-up!

Back when Pokemon saw its first expansion in Gold and Silver, people were ecstatic. NEW pokemon were an entirely untested concept, and were pretty much welcomed with open arms - especially with cool new features like the real-time clock and even realistic seasons. We also loved that we could transfer pokemon directly from the first generation to the second, and we were all sure that would prove to be a central pillar of the franchise; that our old pals from previous games could keep coming with us on our new adventures.

So when Ruby and Sapphire came out with no connectivity to the previous games, scrapped most of the clock and calendar features and basically felt more like a "reboot" than a sequel, a lot of people were unhappy.

They were also unhappy with the pokemon themselves, since many of them felt like rehashes of some we had seen before, and they even felt as though they'd been designed by a slightly different artist, which they were, or more accurately a team of artists. Comparing these designs as a whole to the previous 251 pokemon, it's easy to see that pokemon 252-386 lean more towards bright colors, chunky body parts, decorative doo-dads of unclear purpose and a whole lot of seams in their anatomy, almost as if they were conceived as jointed, plastic toys first and foremost.

I can admit that it's a little jarring, and a lot of third-gen designs have an unnecessary degree of tackiness to them.

On the other hand, I feel like this generation's pokemon put forth a pretty strong effort to impress new and old audiences alike with their sheer diversity and ingenuity. There's a lovely mix of the mundane - like Pelipper - and the positively dreamlike - such as Claydol - that I think holds a much brighter candle up to the original 151 in terms of conceptual effort, even if the final design aesthetics could have easily turned out prettier. It's a mixed bag, but it's an interesting mix in there, and I feel like that's what counts the most.

MY PERSONAL GEN III FAVORITES:

Shedinja is really the breakout star, here. Every time I want to pull an example of pokemon's creativity, my mind comes back to "haunted cicada husk."

MY ALL-TIME TOP SIX IN 2002:

Back when I was really playing Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire as brand new games, this was what my "ideal" team looked like. You may notice that new gen III favorites easily bumped any second-gen favorites down the list. Sorry, second gen.

THE COOLEST:

Unrelated to my personal favorites, these are the pokemon I feel have the most mainstream "cool factor" this generation.

THE CUTEST:

THE MOST CREATIVE:

This is honestly a very tough pick. The third gen is almost as imaginative as the first.

MY LEAST FAVORITES:

Not pokemon I "hate," but pokemon I just don't find personally exciting. Sorry guys, you all could have tried just slightly harder.

BEST DISPLAYS OF ZOOLOGY:

THE "BETTER LOOKING THAN THEIR EVOLUTIONS" CLUB:

There were kind of a lot more of these than six. A lot of awkward, disjointed evolutions this round.

THE "DESPERATE FOR AN EVOLUTION" CLUB:

Maybe some day, little guys and Tropius.

SIX SPINDAS:

By far the hardest category to judge

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