Connect with us

5 Things Pokemon Ruby & Sapphire Absolutely Nailed That Other Pokemon Games Didn’t

May and Brendan in Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire
Image via Nintendo

5 Things Pokemon Ruby & Sapphire Absolutely Nailed That Other Pokemon Games Didn’t

What other Pokemon game gives you not-NPC parents?

Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire may not be the most popular Pokemon games out there when you look at sales, but they hold a special place in the hearts of many. The game has iconic moments that stayed with people, and it was a huge jump compared to Pokemon Gold and Silver. There are several things that the third generation of Pokemon games got right that other Pokemon games don’t, and they still haven’t been done as well since. 


Skitty in Contests is one of the best things about Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire.
Image via Nintendo and The Pokemon Company

There’s no contest – the Pokemon Contests in Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire are leagues better than any others. The Contests were straightforward: use a combination of moves to win stars and time things correctly to get the crowd boost. It wasn’t necessarily difficult, but the more challenging Contests could change from a single move not being used correctly.

It was rewarding and challenging without being too much. Becoming a Master Pokemon Coordinator wasn’t easy, and it gave your Pokemon a brand new way to be useful. Oh, that Luvdisc you found wasn’t useful in battle but you love it? Easy, use it in a Contest.

Games after the Generation Three trio added too much flair with things like dressing Pokemon up (a feature that’s not touched on outside of some generations’ Contests). The core method of stars and attacks became too intricate, and it took away from the charm that the simplistic Contests had in Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire.


One of the best things about Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire is saving Professor Birch and the story.
Image via Nintendo and The Pokemon Company

Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire have incredible pacing. Whether or not you enjoy the Team Magma/Team Aqua storyline, it always comes in at the right moment to rejuvenate a Hoenn playthrough. 

Additionally, the beginning of the game sets the pace and tone of the game quite well. Helping Professor Birch is both funny and genuine feeling at the beginning, which is a long cry from newer games in the series that feature something drastic happening like meeting Legendary Pokemon. Let’s be honest, sitting in the back of a moving truck is both hilarious and a unique point in the games. 

While the story might not be as captivating as others in the franchise, the pacing alone elevates it because it keeps players involved in the game from start to finish. 

Map Layout and Usage

Water is one of the best things about Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire
Image via Nintendo and The Pokemon Company

When you’re traveling around the Hoenn region, it doesn’t feel like you’re endlessly traversing a map. The map itself is used well, despite some of the more controversial aspects of it (like the amount of water). Going back and forth between cities has reasons, and they’re never too far apart that it feels like a journey meant to force your team to level up.

This map idea makes the game again feel more genuine and realistic – well, as realistic as a Pokemon game can get. This sense of immersion, combined with everything else on this list, makes the game stick with the majority of players. Especially compared to other titles that have large expanses of the map that don’t serve any real purpose except hiding specific Pokemon. 


One of the best things in Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire is your family and the moving truck
Image via Nintendo and The Pokemon Company

Besides your mom, Pokemon generally doesn’t explore the idea of a full family too often. However, Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire do, and your dad is so integrated into things that he’s a Gym Leader and not a random NPC. This is such a small thing but that adds flavor to your Gym Challenge – when you go to compete with your dad, it feels more personal (especially when he uses two Slakings against you at certain points). 

This idea again leads to the third-generation games feeling more involved story-wise. Immersion isn’t something that too many Pokemon games can boast about, and Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire do it the best. 

It’s not just family relationships that feel great, too. Brendan and May are the first true rivals that are your friends in Pokemon games, and later entries continued to expand that idea. 

Underwater Adventures

Pokemon Professors like Birch should focus on the sea
Image via Nintendo and The Pokemon Company

Alright, so the amount of water in Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire is controversial. However, the mechanic itself had so much potential. It was the only game to actually feature underwater areas, but Pokemon games should look at them more. 

These areas make sense – the ocean is a vibrant ecosystem and the ocean floor itself is as mysterious as it is terrifying. Pokemon could work with that and create an intense region full of more ocean travel. In fact, it would make the perfect spin-off game that could creep into a new genre with more mysterious and slightly more scary elements. Considering the spook factor of Pokemon Legends: Arceus, this doesn’t seem unreasonable.

These are five things that Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire got right that other Pokemon games don’t. What’s your favorite part about the Hoenn games? If there’s something you feel deserves to be on this list, let us know in the comments below.

About the author

Brittany Alva

Brittany was a freelance writer for Twinfinite covering all things Genshin Impact, Disney and video games news from February 2023 to April 2023. She's a self-proclaimed video game newsie that's obsessed with deck-building and monster-taming games.
Related Posts
Continue Reading
To Top