The best Pokémon game trend began precisely 20 years ago today

We're all waiting for a new Pokémon game for the Switch 2, but in the meantime we can celebrate the franchise's best trend which began exactly 20 years ago.

Charizard in front of swirling green background

Exactly 20 years ago, on January 29, 2004, history changed forever. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it was the day that Nintendo released Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, so it comes pretty close. Either way, there’s a good chance that one of the two games (or perhaps you owned both if you’re a completionist) helped to define that stage in your life, and that makes the birthday very, very worth celebrating, especially as FireRed and LeafGreen began Pokemon’s best trend.

We are, of course, referring to Nintendo’s occasional habit of remaking older Pokémon games to bring them in line with the latest Gen and hardware capabilities. This began in 2004 when the first Pokémon games in order, Red and Blue (Red and Green in Japan) were remade by Game Freak with the addition of color, smoother graphics and animations, and some limited new content. Crucially, the remakes allowed you to revisit the Kanto region and its Pokémon on the current console: the Gameboy Advance. It was a huge success.

Since then, Nintendo has given more of the best Pokémon games the same special treatment with Gold and Silver, Ruby and Sapphire, and Diamond and Pearl all also getting remakes. For Pokémon fans, it’s a complete win-win, allowing us all to revisit beloved games and relive the adventure with the latest tech. After all, as the years go by, it gets harder and harder to play these games in their original form. Who among us still has a functioning Gameboy Advance, for example, or DS? The remakes make these games from the past accessible once again, breathing new life back into them.

It’s no surprise, then, that fans are constantly speculating about new remakes of previous Pokémon games, and it’s a source of frustration that so few Pokémon games from the franchise’s history are playable on the Switch, in particular Black and White, and X and Y. As Nintendo prepares to unveil the Switch 2, perhaps the company will make all our dreams come true by announcing that it’s remaking all former Pokémon games for compatibility with the new console. To be clear, that’s never going to happen. But it would be total bliss, right?

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For more Poké-fun, check out our full Pokédex, or see our speculation about the new Pokémon game. You can also look at our picks for the best Nintendo Switch games of all time if you want to broaden your horizons.