23 – Pokemon Red and Blue
Developer: Game Freak
Initial Release Date: September 28, 1998
Why it’s one of the best RPGs: As a die-hard Poke-maniac, I could easily stuff this list full of Pokemon games (I promise there’s only one more), but I’ll try to restrain myself. Still, there’s no way I could avoid mentioning the games that started it all. The Pokemon phenomenon has swept the globe in a way that no other fad has been capable of. Pokemon is the reason that just about everyone is aware of an RPG game, even if they don’t know much about games or the genres they fit into. And Pokemon Red and Blue represent the very beginning of that, in a pair of games that are still fun to play to this day.
They’re perhaps even more fun than the newer games in many ways. With only 151 Pokemon, “catching ’em all” is much more feasible, and challenging in a more entertaining way. You’ll have to trek all across Kanto, challenge yourself for rares in the Safari Zone, and trade old-school with your friends for a complete Pokedex. Challenging too is the battle system; with no rematch battles and one of the toughest Elite Four/Champion sets the series has seen, you’re not likely to get past Blue in one try. Simple, fun, and unforgettable, Pokemon Red and Blue are not only a pair of the best RPGs, but they belong in the ranks of the best games of all time.
Next: 22 - The World Ends With You